Program Details

The Doctor of Philosophy in Information Studies prepares graduates for academic and professional careers where an in-depth knowledge of research processes and evaluation is needed. The program emphasizes the study of the representation, storage, retrieval, use, and impact of information resources on society. Graduates will contribute to the knowledge base of the discipline and will take on leadership roles as scholars and administrators in the discipline and the profession.

Degree Requirements

Doctoral Program Coursework

Students will need to complete a minimum of 30 credits of approved coursework at the 700-level or higher.

  • Foundation Courses in Information Studies (12 credits)
  • Research Methods and Design (9 credits)
  • Specialized area (9 credits)
  • Elective courses (3 credits)

Preliminary Examinations / Preparatory Essays
Dissertation Proposal
Dissertation Defense

PhD Program Details

icon-transferPlease visit the UW-Milwaukee, Graduate School website for complete program details:

For additional information on policies and procedures for doctoral students, please see the Graduate School Doctoral Toolbox.

Funding & Support

Full-time doctoral students are eligible for research assistantships and reaching assistantships. typical appointments are 33% (13 hours per week) and 12-month appointments, and can include a combination of research and teaching assistantships. Assistants receive monthly pay, tuition remission, and health insurance coverage based on the Graduate School Schedule.

Financial Aid, Scholarships, Assistantships & Awards

SOIS offers several funding opportunities for its PhD students based on the availability of funding.  Funding opportunities can include: travel funding for conference presentations, the Doctoral Research Award Grand (DRAGO) to assist in research costs, and adjunct teaching opportunities to support their studies. PhD students are also eligible for SOIS Publication Awards and Teaching Rewards.

UWM Graduate School Financial Support Resources

The UWM Graduate School provides competitive scholarships such as Graduate School Fellowships, Doctoral Dissertation Fellowships, Advanced Opportunity Fellowships, Graduate Student Travel Awards, and Golda Meir Library Scholar Awards. For more information on the types of funding available, please visit the UWM Graduate School website:

Cost of Attendance

UWM Onsite Tuition and Fee Information
(Including dissertator fees)
Tuition is determined by the UW-System Board of Regents, in the summer preceding each academic year. More information is available at the UW-System web site.

SOIS Online Fees
The 2014-2015 academic year tuition fee for one on-line 3-credit graduate course in the School of Information Studies will cost $2,280.00 ($760.00/per credit). This fee is assessed for all on-line courses regardless of your geographic location. This fee is assessed in lieu of standard UW-System tuition and campus segregated fees.

How is this fee determined?
The University of Wisconsin System online course regulations determine how this fee is structured. This amount is calculated by adding the off-campus tuition for one credit to SOIS’ online fee. Over the past five years, SOIS has held the increase of this fee to under the percent applied to general tuition by the Board of Regents.

PhD Handbook

Our Students


Our students are creative, energetic, hard-working intellectually curious individuals. They practice advanced research methods, produce meaningful scholarship that contributes to the knowledge base of the field, teach, serve as advocates and become experts in their field.

program-brochureProgram Brochure

Download our program brochures for more information.


Students begin the Information Studies doctoral program in the fall. Application materials for traditional on-site students must be received by January 15. An applicant whose file is incomplete will be asked to contact the Graduate School. Application requirements are the same for traditional and distance students.

An applicant must meet Graduate School requirements plus the departmental requirements to be considered for admission to the program in regular status.

Graduate School Application Checklist

The Graduate School requires the following material for all graduate programs:

  1. UWM Graduate School Online Application
    Upon submitting your application you will receive an e-mail from the university, explaining how to check the status of your application on our PAWS online student information system.
  2. One copy of Transcripts (directly from each institution you attended)
  3. Reason(s) for Graduate Study Statement
  4. Submit verbal and quantitative scores for the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) taken within the past five years.
  5. Submit three letters of recommendation from qualified persons who can attest to the applicant’s aptitude for doctoral study. At least one letter must be from an academic who holds faculty status at a university or college and possesses an earned doctorate.
  6. Submit a writing sample that demonstrates the applicant’s analytical and critical thinking skills. This may take the form of a published research paper, term paper from a previous graduate program, or earlier completed thesis.
  7. Proof of English Language Proficiency
    (Receipt of a baccalaureate or higher degree from UWM or another approved institution where English is the sole language of instruction; minimum TOEFL score of 550; minimum IELTS score of 6.5 or higher) Please see UWM Graduate School or CIE website for more details.
  8. Application fee

For complete details on Graduate School Admission Requirements, please visit:

School of Information Studies Application Checklist

An applicant must meet Graduate School requirements plus these School requirements to be considered for admission to the program in regular status:

  1. Have a cumulative GPA in course work for the Master’s degree of at least 3.5 and an undergraduate GPA of 3.0. Applicants possessing a Master of Library and Information Science (or an equivalent degree) are preferred. Applicants with a master’s degree in an allied discipline are encouraged to apply, but must complete the four required courses of the MLIS program in addition to the regular course requirements.
  2. Applicants are encouraged to bring at least two years of relevant professional experience prior to entering the PhD program

Applicants lacking the requisite GPA or academic area may be considered for admission, and may be required to complete preparatory coursework.

Program Forms


Distance Option

Distance Students

Distance students (not located near Milwaukee, Wisconsin) are encouraged to apply. Such students will be required to attend a week-long orientation on campus at the beginning of the program, and be physically present for all major program milestones, including preliminary exam defense, dissertation proposal defense, and formal defense of the dissertation. SOIS doctoral seminars will be streamed live online for distance students to participate synchronously with local students and faculty, and students will be responsible for meeting all other program requirements via online courses or other approved means.

Students begin the Information Studies doctoral program in the fall. An applicant whose file is incomplete will be asked to contact the Graduate School. Application requirements are the same for traditional and distance students. Distance students must also meet the UWM Graduate School residency requirements; physical residency in Milwaukee is not necessary.

Distance PhD Technology Requirements

Internet Connection:

Required: Broadband Internet Connection with 5Mbps download and 5Mbps upload and a home network to reliably support these speeds

Highly Suggested: 15Mbps download and 5Mbps upload


Required: Intel i5 CPU 8GB RAM 160GB HDD

Highly Suggested: Intel i5 CPU 16GB RAM 250GB SSD

Computer Accessories Requirements:

Monitor capable of displaying 1920×1080 or higher Webcam capable of 1080p resolution (Suggestion: Logitech C920) Microphone (Suggestions: Rode Procaster, Blue Yeti, Shure SM58) Quality Headphones (Suggestions: Shure SRH440, Sennheiser HD 280 PRO)

Operating System:

Windows 10 (preferred) MacOS Sierra

Physical Environment:

A comfortable and quite environment which is free from environmental noises (kids, traffic, etc.) and provides good lighting so that the class can see the distance student and hear them without interference.