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
Admission Information & Requirements
In order to apply to this program, the following components may be required.
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.
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.
Faculty sponsorship of applications is not required; however applicants are encouraged to identify potential supervisors based on faculty research areas
English Language Proficiency
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:
Students in research-based programs usually require a faculty member to function as their supervisor. Depending on program, applicants either reach out to faculty members directly or the program supports this process in different ways.
This program has not specified whether applicants should reach out to faculty members. Please review the program website for additional details.
Test Scores (GRE / GMAT or similar)
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:
Permanent Residents of Canada must provide a clear photocopy of both sides of the Permanent Resident card.
- 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.
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.
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.
We encourage all applicants to review the awards listing to identify potential opportunities to fund your 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.
In addition to scholarships and awards, applicants may be eligible to apply for financial aid or other benefits in the form of loans, bursaries, tax credits, or similar.
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||$1,698.56||$2,984.09|
|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)||$944.51 (approx.)|
|Costs of living (yearly)||starting at $16,954.00 (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 (Deep Learning, Natural Language Processing, Machine Learning, Computational Linguistics, Social Media Mining, Arabic)
Bullard, Julia (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 retrieval, human information interaction, open government and open data, research dissemination; knowledge exchange)
Kwakkel, Erik (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 (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 (user engagement, user experience, community engagement, information seeking and retrieval, information access, cognitive processes related to information searching and evaluation)
Turner, Hannah (information practice, cataloguing and classification, Science and technology studies, museum anthropology)
Recent Doctoral Citations
- Dr. Adam Jansen
"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." (November 2019)
- Dr. Elizabeth Shaffer
"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." (November 2019)
- 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)