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.
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
One Concentration, Four Schools:
Flexible Academic and Research Opportunities
“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
“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
“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
“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. >>
|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.
Disinformation Message Effects
Geographic Information Systems (GIS)
Geographic Information Science
Information Values & Ethics
Technical Services Librarianship
Reference and User Services
LIS Concepts and Foundations
Sociology of Information
Digital Collections: Libraries, Archives and Repositories
Data Curation and Data Management
Interactive information retrieval
Information search behavior
Evaluation methods and measures
Technology (adoption, use)
Information (access, use, behavior, literacy)
Academic Libraries (students)
Public Libraries (innovations)
Communities (health, small businesses)
Open Source Software
Gender & Information Technology; Social Justice
Human Computer Interaction, CSCW
Online Education and Online Communities
Usability and User Experience
Technologies for Libraries
Research Data Management
Research Methodologies and Methods
Information Seeking Behaviors
Open Peer Review in Open Science
Digital Rights Management
Open Access/Open Data
Financial Support for Your Studies
SIS offers competitive financial assistance to to students through graduate teaching associateships, graduate research assistantships, conference travel support, and more.
- 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.