Doctor of Philosophy in Library, Archival and Information Studies (PhD)

Overview

UBC iSchool’s Ph.D. program is a four-year funded program that combines coursework with focused independent study and research. Students have ready access to faculty members and advisors and benefit from unique opportunities at a research-intensive university. The Ph.D. program is designed to provide advanced research education for outstanding students who have already obtained a Master of Archival Studies (MAS) degree or a Master of Library and Information Studies (MLIS) or an equivalent related degree.

We are home to a community of researchers actively engaged in the investigation of questions of vital importance to society in the age of information. At the broadest level, we are concerned with the recorded artifacts of human experience: their creation, collection, organization, preservation, and use. Increasingly, these artifacts - books, documents, images, data, etc.- are created and/or preserved in digital formats that can be widely disseminated and used. Our collective work aims to ensure that this legacy of human experience, housed in both traditional and newer digital forms, is preserved, shared and explored, so that individuals and communities can continue to draw upon it to deepen their understanding of themselves and their communities and make new discoveries about our world. 

Our main areas of study are: human information interaction and design, knowledge organization, digital archives/ media, language processing, data and more

 
 

Program Enquiries

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Admission Information & Requirements

In order to apply to this program, the following components may be required.

Online Application

All applicants must complete an online application form and pay the application fee to be considered for admission to UBC.

Minimum Academic Requirements

The Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies establishes the minimum admission requirements common to all applicants, usually a minimum overall average in the B+ range (76% at UBC). The graduate program that you are applying to may have additional requirements. Please review the specific requirements for applicants with credentials from institutions in:

Each program may set higher academic minimum requirements. Meeting the minimum requirements does not guarantee admission as it is a competitve process.

Transcripts

All applicants have to submit transcripts from all past post-secondary study. Document submission requirements depend on whether your institution of study is within Canada or outside of Canada.

English Language Test

Applicants from a university outside Canada in which English is not the primary language of instruction must provide results of an English language proficiency examination as part of their application. Tests must have been taken within the last 24 months at the time of submission of your application.

Minimum requirements for the two most common English language proficiency tests to apply to this program are listed below:

100
22
21
22
21
7.5
7.0
7.0
7.0
7.0

Other Test Scores

Some programs require additional test scores such as the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or the Graduate Management Test (GMAT). The requirements for this program are:

The GRE is not required.

Letters of Reference

A minimum of three references are required for application to graduate programs at UBC. References should be requested from individuals who are prepared to provide a report on your academic ability and qualifications. 

Statement of Interest

Many programs require a statement of interest, sometimes called a "statement of intent", "description of research interests" or something similar.

Supervision

Students in research-based programs usually require a faculty member to function as their supervisor. Please follow the instructions provided by each program whether applicants should contact faculty members.

This program has not specified whether applicants should reach out to faculty members. Please review the program website for additional details.

Document Requirements

Faculty sponsorship of applications is not required; however applicants are encouraged to identify potential supervisors based on faculty research areas

Citizenship Verification

Permanent Residents of Canada must provide a clear photocopy of both sides of the Permanent Resident card.

Research Information

Research Highlights

- Award-winning faculty, recognized provincially, nationally and internationally for their contributions and leadership in library, archival and information studies research
- Research projects funded in excess of $1M annually
- Partner in the Designing for People research cluster, a multidisciplinary approach in people-centered design for interactive technologies, with several faculty contributing to the development of the program
- Faculty lead major research initiatives: InterPARES project for archival standards and digital records preservation and Blockchain@UBC research cluster

Research Focus

Social Media, Human-computer interaction, information interaction and information design, Cultural heritage, Records and information management

Research Facilities

PhD students are provided a lab space specifically for work and research in the school. The iSchool has an additional computer lab and bookable spaces with high-tech equipment for use in usability studies, conducting user research and analysis and more.

Tuition & Financial Support

Tuition

FeesCanadian Citizen / Permanent Resident / Refugee / DiplomatInternational
Application Fee$106.00$168.25
Tuition *
Installments per year33
Tuition per installment$1,698.56$2,984.09
Tuition per year
(plus annual increase, usually 2%-5%)
$5,095.68$8,952.27
Int. Tuition Award (ITA) per year (if eligible) $3,200.00 (-)
Other Fees and Costs
Student Fees (yearly)$944.51 (approx.)
Costs of living (yearly)starting at $16,954.00 (check cost calculator)
* Regular, full-time tuition. For on-leave, extension, continuing or part time (if applicable) fees see UBC Calendar.
All fees for the year are subject to adjustment and UBC reserves the right to change any fees without notice at any time, including tuition and student fees. Tuition fees are reviewed annually by the UBC Board of Governors. In recent years, tuition increases have been 2% for continuing domestic students and between 2% and 5% for continuing international students. New students may see higher increases in tuition. Admitted students who defer their admission are subject to the potentially higher tuition fees for incoming students effective at the later program start date. In case of a discrepancy between this webpage and the UBC Calendar, the UBC Calendar entry will be held to be correct.

Financial Support

Applicants to UBC have access to a variety of funding options, including merit-based (i.e. based on your academic performance) and need-based (i.e. based on your financial situation) opportunities.

Program Funding Packages

As of September 2018, all full-time students who begin the iSchool Ph.D. program will be provided with a funding package of at least $18,000 for each of the first four years of their Ph.D. The funding package may consist of any combination of internal or external awards, teaching-related work, research assistantships, and graduate academic assistantships.

International students are eligible for the international tuition award of $3,200 per year for four years.

The school strives to support doctoral students in applying for external funding opportunities, which helps fund further years of study.

UBC has launched Canada's first Blockchain training pathway for graduate students. The Graduate Pathway on Blockchain and Decentralized Trust Technologies will be a 12-credit non-degree training program that augments existing Master's and Phd programs. Additional funding may be available for students as part of the Blockchain pathway.

Scholarships & awards (merit-based funding)

All applicants are encouraged to review the awards listing to identify potential opportunities to fund their graduate education. The database lists merit-based scholarships and awards and allows for filtering by various criteria, such as domestic vs. international or degree level.

Teaching and Research Assistantships

Student service appointments are intended to help qualified graduate students meet the cost of their studies at the University. Student appointments may involve part-time duties in teaching, research, or other academic activities.

Financial aid (need-based funding)

Canadian and US applicants may qualify for governmental loans to finance their studies. Please review eligibility and types of loans.

All students may be able to access private sector or bank loans.

Foreign government scholarships

Many foreign governments provide support to their citizens in pursuing education abroad. International applicants should check the various governmental resources in their home country, such as the Department of Education, for available scholarships.

Working while studying

The possibility to pursue work to supplement income may depend on the demands the program has on students. It should be carefully weighed if work leads to prolonged program durations or whether work placements can be meaningfully embedded into a program.

International students enrolled as full-time students with a valid study permit can work on campus for unlimited hours and work off-campus for no more than 20 hours a week.

A good starting point to explore student jobs is the UBC Work Learn program or a Co-Op placement.

Tax credits and RRSP withdrawals

Students with taxable income in Canada may be able to claim federal or provincial tax credits.

Canadian residents with RRSP accounts may be able to use the Lifelong Learning Plan (LLP) which allows students to withdraw amounts from their registered retirement savings plan (RRSPs) to finance full-time training or education for themselves or their partner.

Please review Filing taxes in Canada on the student services website for more information.

Cost Calculator

Applicants have access to the cost calculator to develop a financial plan that takes into account various income sources and expenses.

Career Outcomes

9 students graduated between 2005 and 2013. Of these, career information was obtained for 7 alumni (based on research conducted between Feb-May 2016):


RI (Research-Intensive) Faculty: typically tenure-track faculty positions (equivalent of the North American Assistant Professor, Associate Professor, and Professor positions) in PhD-granting institutions
TI (Teaching-Intensive) Faculty: typically full-time faculty positions in colleges or in institutions not granting PhDs, and teaching faculty at PhD-granting institutions
Term Faculty: faculty in term appointments (e.g. sessional lecturers, visiting assistant professors, etc.)
Sample Employers in Higher Education
University of Ghana
Kwantlen Polytechnic University
Kuwait University
University of Toronto
University of Alberta
Sample Employers Outside Higher Education
National Central Library
Sample Job Titles Outside Higher Education
Attorney, Privacy Consultant
Library Coordinator
PhD Career Outcome Survey
You may view the full report on career outcomes of UBC PhD graduates on outcomes.grad.ubc.ca.
Disclaimer
These data represent historical employment information and do not guarantee future employment prospects for graduates of this program. They are for informational purposes only. Data were collected through either alumni surveys or internet research.

Enrolment, Duration & Other Stats

These statistics show data for the Doctor of Philosophy in Library, Archival and Information Studies (PhD). Data are separated for each degree program combination. You may view data for other degree options in the respective program profile.

Enrolment Data

 20192018201720162015
Applications2712202214
Offers32694
New registrations31583
Total enrolment2224222014

Completion Rates & Times

This program has a graduation rate of 55.56% based on 9 students admitted between 2006 - 2009. Based on 5 graduations between 2015 - 2018 the minimum time to completion is 4.66 years and the maximum time is 6.66 years with an average of 5.86 years of study. All calculations exclude leave times.
Disclaimer
Admissions data refer to all UBC Vancouver applications, offers, new registrants for each year, May to April [data updated: 10 March 2020]. Enrolment data are based on March 1 snapshots. Program completion data are only provided for datasets comprised of more than 4 individuals. Rates and times of completion depend on a number of variables (e.g. curriculum requirements, student funding), some of which may have changed in recent years for some programs [data updated: 27 October 2019].

Research Supervisors

This list shows faculty members with full supervisory privileges who are affiliated with this program. It is not a comprehensive list of all potential supervisors as faculty from other programs or faculty members without full supervisory privileges can request approvals to supervise graduate students in this program.

  • Abdul-Mageed, Muhammad (Artificial Intelligence, Deep Learning, Natural Language Processing, Machine Learning, Computational Linguistics, Social Media Mining, Arabic)
  • Bullard, Julia (Information Systems, Cultural Institutions (Museums, Libraries, etc.), classification systems, metadata, values-in-design)
  • Douglas, Jennifer (Personal archives; Writers’ archives; Archival arrangement and description; History and evolution of archival theory; Online communities and archives; Archival representation)
  • Duranti, Luciana (Personal archives, Writers' archives, Archival arrangement and description, History and evolution of archival theory, Online communities and archives, Archival representation)
  • Freund, Luanne (Information, Information Systems, Cultural Institutions (Museums, Libraries, etc.), New Technology and Social Impacts, information retrieval, human information interaction, open government and open data, research dissemination; knowledge exchange)
  • Kwakkel, Erik (Audiovisual, Visual, Audio and Written Communications, Communication Contexts, Cultural Institutions (Museums, Libraries, etc.), History of the Book, reading, Medieval Manuscripts, Paleography, Codicology, Digital Humanities, Cultural Heritage, History of Libraries)
  • Meyers, Eric (youth online behavior, information seeking, web search, libraries, public libraries, school libraries, academic libraries, learning, virtual worlds, collaboration, social networks, new media, digital literacy, information literacy )
  • Nathan, Lisa (Impacts of New Information Technologies, New Technology and Social Impacts, Individual and Collective Ethics, Climate Changes and Impacts, information ethics, Ethics of Care, sustainability, information policy, Indigenous Information Initiatives, value sensitive design, design, values in design, Generative Justice, Collapse | Adaptive Informatics)
  • O'Brien, Heather (New Technology and Social Impacts, Public Communication, Media Influence on Behavior, Right and Access to Information, Impacts of New Information Technologies, user engagement, user experience, community engagement, information seeking and retrieval, information access, cognitive processes related to information searching and evaluation)
  • Turner, Hannah (Cultural Institutions (Museums, Libraries, etc.), Impacts of New Information Technologies, information practice, cataloguing and classification, Science and technology studies, museum anthropology)

Doctoral Citations

A doctoral citation summarizes the nature of the independent research, provides a high-level overview of the study, states the significance of the work and says who will benefit from the findings in clear, non-specialized language, so that members of a lay audience will understand it.
Year Citation
2019 Dr. Jansen's research analyzed technological features of preservation systems that support the authenticity of digital records. From his findings, he produced a model that can be used by memory institutions to evaluate their digital archives' ability to assess, document and maintain the authenticity of digital records over the long-term.
2019 Dr. Shaffer investigated early social media practices within the Government of Canada. Findings revealed limitations on the ability to hold the government accountable due to increased use of proprietary, for-profit, social media platforms. Her work offers insights into the frictions that develop when certain technologies are adopted into bureaucratic systems.
2019 Dr. Pan's research focused on the management of electronic records as evidence and information in Chinese enterprises in the cloud context. She found that, while there are issues with the methods used for evidence protection and verification, efforts to exploit the informational content of records for business needs are increasing.
2017 Dr. Addison examined the avoidance of health information in people with health concerns. She showed that limiting methods, such as filtering and delegating, were particularly common in cases where people felt fear, disinterest, or distrust. Her work will contribute to our understanding of how we manage and experience health issues.
2016 Dr. Bushey explored how smartphones and social media sites are transforming photography. Her research examined the impact of technologies and social practices on the ownership and privacy of personal photographs and online images as legal evidence and archival sources. This research will inform how we share and store photos in social media sites.
2016 Dr. Goh studied how archival legislation in the United Kingdom, Canada, and Singapore influence the implementation of records management programs. She found that archival legislation lacks clarity and that there are complexities in making changes. Her findings provide insights for a revised legislation to improve the management of public records.
2015 Dr. Black investigated how online students search for information. She found creative strategies were used to manage information searching, evaluate the information retrieved, cope with competing priorities, and resolve difficulties. Her study sheds light on an under-investigated phenomenon and will influence online learning practice and delivery.
2015 Dr. Rogers studied ways in which archivists and records managers protect the authenticity of digital records. She found records professionals place their trust in technological means of proving authenticity, rather than traditional archival means. Her findings have implications for trusting records over time and for organizational accountability.
2014 Dr. Force assessed a group of recordkeeping standards in relation to the admissibility of evidence in Canadian courts. He discovered inadequacies among these standards with regard to the legal obligations of organizations to create and manage their records. His research presents a model for using standards for compliant recordkeeping.
2013 Dr. McKendry investigated ways in which homeless men use Vancouver public libraries. She found that, in addition to information needs, public libraries are inclusive places that also serve the social needs of homeless men. These findings may be of interest to librarians planning library programs and to architects designing future library buildings.

Pages

Further Program Information

Library, Archival and Information Studies provides an interdisciplinary, high-demand educational experience in which students gain rich expertise suited to hybrid library/archives environments and cultural institutions. Area of study includes First Nations Curriculum Concentrations; Data services; Librarianship; Community and culture; Information interaction and design; Information sources and services; Digital resource management; Information analysis and management; Archives and preservation; Records management; information policy.

Faculty Overview

Academic Unit

Program Identifier

VGDPHD-OL
 
 
 

Supervisor Search

 

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