How Do I Get a PhD in Library Science?

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  • Written By: Susan Abe
  • Edited By: Jessica Seminara
  • Last Modified Date: 10 August 2019
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A typical student can earn a PhD in library science and information studies during five to six years of college and postgraduate work. For a student in high school, the steps necessary to eventually earn a PhD in library science depend upon completing the SATĀ® exam, successfully graduating high school and garnering acceptance into a college of her choice. While graduate programs in library science report that they admit students of every undergraduate degree preparation, admission to the best library science graduate programs may require that an undergraduate tailor his or her studies to best impress the graduate program's admission committee. Thus, undergraduate majors and degrees in literature or archival research combined with information technology studies may be necessary. The satisfactory completion of the Graduate Record Examination (GREĀ®) will also be required for application to graduate school in the preliminary work toward a PhD in library science.


Library science programs have been one of the fields of academic study drastically changed by the Internet and the dissemination of texts and research available online. In fact, the scholarship in this field has even modified the program name from library science to library science and information studies. The same degree program now includes both traditional archival management courses as well as computer science classes that explain the intricacies of web search engine results. Library science adapted quickly and thoroughly to this new means of research. Depending upon the school, bachelor's degrees can range in focus from literature, to information science, to library and archives assisting.

In most library science programs, a master's degree can be earned in a year. Graduate courses may include literature and children, information science, library and book history and information policy and technology regulation. In the US, depending on the state, students who plan on working in elementary, middle school or high school libraries will need to take just as many undergraduate teaching classes as needed to qualify to work in the school system. Collaborating with her advisor, the graduate student will also choose her area of concentrated study and the subject of her master's degree thesis.

Although the decision to pursue a master's degree or both graduate degrees is usually made at the beginning of graduate school, beginning to pursue a PhD in library science remains a milestone. PhD students may teach introductory courses in the undergraduate program or supervise areas of the campus library system. Again, in conjunction with her academic advisor, the student chooses which courses to study and the topic of her dissertation. After writing and successfully defending her dissertation she is awarded a PhD in library science.


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