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Our PhD in Communication and Information with an Information Sciences (IS) Concentration provides a flexible interdisciplinary curriculum, empowering students to approach research and learning from a holistic perspective and preparing them for research, teaching, service, and administration. Students not only enjoy the benefits of a world-renown program in library and information sciences, but also a community that values diversity, inclusion and equal opportunity for all.

Director Kelly with Smokey

 

The University of Tennessee’s Volunteer spirit figures prominently in how we approach doctoral education. Not only do we help our PhD students develop into outstanding scholars and teachers, we also encourage them to make a difference in the world through service and engagement.

DIANE KELLY, Director of the School of Information Sciences

➡️ REQUEST More Information or Schedule a Call with the Director

 

One Concentration, Four Schools:
Flexible Academic and Research Opportunities

One unique aspect of our PhD program is that it allows students to integrate scholarship from the information sciences and communication sciences to address information-related problems. The School of Information Sciences faculty have expertise in a number of areas including data management; human-computer interaction and user-centered design; information behavior and information literacy; evaluation of libraries, information services, and systems; and the use of information technologies to improve people’s social and economic conditions. When combined with the expertise of our College colleagues, who work in areas such as interpersonal, organizational, and international communications; media policy and ethics; and advertising and public relations, our students have a unique opportunity to build an integrative and interdisciplinary approach to research, teaching and service, which distinguishes our program from peer programs.

 

Cassandra Huang

“It’s great to be in this inclusive and open-minded IS program, we have lots of opportunity to collaborate and seek support from different disciplines.”
PhD Student Cassandra Huang

Undergraduate Programs

“Overall, being in this college has been a really great experience, and I’ve especially enjoyed working with different faculty members.”
– PhD Student Iman Tahamtan

Doctoral Program

“Even doing the online master’s program, I felt so connected to this school and so connected to my classmates. That’s another reason why doing the PhD program here was so important to me – I already felt like I was a part of the community,”
– PhD Student Scott Sikes

Certificate and Licensure

“When I first started, [SIS director] Dr. Kelly encouraged me to tap into the expertise in the various schools to understand the complexities of what I’m researching, and to build relationships with members of the college.”
– PhD Student Kevin Mallary


Diverse Career Opportunities

Our PhD students pursue a variety of research-intensive careers in and outside of industry, including academic, business, government, and research settings. Our graduates work at prestigious institutions like Oak Ridge National Lab and the U.S. Department of Energy, and others have moved into faculty positions at institutions like the University of South Carolina, Kent State University, Syracuse University, and Simmons University. Meet some of our PhD alumni. >>

 

CURRICULUM

Our curriculum is designed to help students develop a unified view of the information and communication fields, as well as the specialized knowledge they need to become an expert in whatever aspect of information science that interests them. Students take a core set of courses about the theory and practice of research, and multiple methods courses that introduce them to diverse approaches to data collection and analysis, including both qualitative and quantitative. Our curriculum is both flexible, providing students with the space to customize their program of study, and exacting, providing them with the foundation needed to be scholars of information science.


Rigorous, Thoughtful and Responsible Scholars

Our brand of information science embraces pluralistic approaches and perspectives that combine social scientific, humanistic and computational thinking, and often focuses on real-world problems and solutions. When it comes to methods and approaches used in information science research, faculty have varied and deep knowledge and expertise. Our goal is to help students develop into rigorous, thoughtful and responsible scholars and teachers through side-by-side collaborations and interactions, and through supportive and encouraging mentorship and dialogue.





 

Financial Support for Your Studies

We offer competitive financial assistance to students in the form of graduate teaching associateships, typically for a period of three years, although many students enjoy one to two additional years of funding. These associateships include tuition waivers and a competitive stipend, along with other benefits such as health insurance. As part of the associateship, students are typically asked to teach a course and/or are assigned to work on research projects with faculty.

In addition to graduate teaching associateships, there are also opportunities to work as a graduate research assistant, typically on grant-funded projects, and as a graduate teaching assistant. The availability of these types of assistantships varies.

If you are interested in being considered for funding from the School of Information Sciences for the PhD program, you can indicate so during the application process before the January 15 application deadline. Please see the College of Communication and Information website for more information about funding opportunities, including information about assistantships that are available in other units across campus, as well as fellowships that are available from the University of Tennessee. You can also visit the University of Tennessee’s Graduate School for more information about funding opportunities.

Conference Travel
The School of Information Sciences and the College of Communication and Information provide generous financial support to assist doctoral students with conference participation.

 

Admission Requirements

CCI admits students of exceptionally high competence and promise to the doctoral program. A master’s degree is required for entry.

Application Requirements

  • A 3.0 (4.0 system) grade point average in undergraduate studies, and 3.5 for graduate work.
  • At or above the fiftieth percentile in verbal, quantitative, and analytical aptitude on the Graduate Record Examination.
  • Recommendation letters from at least three former teachers or professional colleagues.
  • A statement of the applicant’s goals and reasons for pursuing the doctorate.
  • Personal interviews with members of the PhD Admissions Committee may be required.
  • Professional experience in some field of communication and/or information is a desirable criterion for admission.

For students whose native language is not English and who have not earned an earlier degree at an American college or university in the past two years, the Test of English as a Foreign Language is required. The test must have been taken within the past two years.

How to Apply

The required application materials and detailed instructions on how to apply can be found on the CCI PhD Admissions webpage.