Doctor of Philosophy in Library, Archival and Information Studies (PhD)
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
Meet a UBC representative
iSchool Online information session for prospective PhD studentswebinar
Date: Tuesday, 26 November 2019
Time: 15:00 to 16:00
During the webinar, Kevin Day, our Educational Services Coordinator, will give an overview of the PhD program and requirements. Heather O’Brien, our PhD chair, will talk about the admissions process, and Erik Kwakkel, one of our new professors, will discuss the PhD student experience at UBC iSchool. One of our current PhD students will also join us to share her experience as a PhD student at the UBC iSchool. There will also be some time for questions.
- 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
Social Media, Human-computer interaction, information interaction and information design, Cultural heritage, Records and information management
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.
Faculty sponsorship of applications is not required; however applicants are encouraged to identify potential supervisors based on faculty research areas
TOEFL (ibT) Overall Score Requirement
IELTS Overall Score Requirement
Deadline to submit online application. No changes can be made to the application after submission.Transcript Deadline
Deadline to upload scans of official transcripts through the applicant portal in support of a submitted application. Information for accessing the applicant portal will be provided after submitting an online application for admission.Referee Deadline
Deadline for the referees identified in the application for admission to submit references. See Letters of Reference for more information.
September 2020 Intake
Application Open Date01 September 2019
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.
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 EducationUniversity of Ghana
Kwantlen Polytechnic University
University of Toronto
University of Alberta
Sample Employers Outside Higher EducationNational Central Library
Sample Job Titles Outside Higher EducationAttorney, Privacy Consultant
PhD Career Outcome SurveyYou may view the full report on career outcomes of UBC PhD graduates on outcomes.grad.ubc.ca.
DisclaimerThese 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.
Tuition / Program Costs
|Fees||Canadian Citizen / Permanent Resident / Refugee / Diplomat||International|
|Installments per year||3||3|
|Tuition per installment||$1,665.26||$2,925.58|
|Tuition per year|
(plus annual increase, usually 2%-5%)
|Int. Tuition Award (ITA) per year (if eligible)||$3,200.00 (-)|
|Other Fees and Costs|
|Student Fees (yearly)||$930.14 (approx.)|
|Costs of living (yearly)||starting at $16,884.10 (check cost calculator)|
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.
Completion Rates & Times
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 data)
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)
Recent Doctoral Citations
- Dr. Weimei Pan
"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." (May 2019)
- Dr. Colleen Victoria Addison
"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." (November 2017)
- Dr. Elaine Mei Yee Goh
"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." (May 2016)
- Dr. Jessica Elaine Bushey
"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." (May 2016)
- Dr. Nancy Elizabeth Black
"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." (May 2015)