General Information

Request Information
Information (PHD) 
Program Description
The School of Information is accepting applications for the Ph.D. program. We are seeking students particularly with research interest in machine learning, natural language processing, data mining, text retrieval, data science, computational art, mobile computing, mediated interaction, social networks, or computational social science. For more information, please see the file attachment at the end of the page. 

A Ph.D. in Information prepares researchers for careers in which they conduct original research in academia, government, and industry.

Department/Academic Unit(s)

School of Information -

The ever-increasing pace of technological innovation requires a more information-savvy workforce that understands not only the how, what, where, when, and why of technology and data but how to apply that knowledge.  At the University of Arizona’s School of Information, we have faculty and students engaged in research and education around all aspects of the information sciences without regard for disciplinary boundaries. We do research in: artificial intelligence; data management and curation; computer vision; computer-mediated communication and learning; natural language processing; social networking; human computer interfaces; dark networks; computational art creation; eCommerce, eGovernment, and eHealth; computational music; library sciences; educational and entertainment technologies; and much more.

We are preparing our graduates to be the doers, thinkers, solvers, and game-changers, not only of the problems and opportunities we see now, but also of the myriad scenarios we can’t yet imagine but are sure to arise during our students’ lifetimes.

College of Social & Behavioral Sciences  
Campus where offered
Main Campus - Tucson  
Admissions Contact
Barb Vandervelde
Graduate Program Coordinator
Kathryn Chavez
Director of Graduate Studies
Martin H Fricke
Graduate College Degree Counselor
Kristi R Davenport
Tuition and Fees
Please refer to the UA Bursar's Office Tuition and Fees Calculator for up-to-date information about tuition and fees. 
Please refer to the UA Registrar's's Office Special Course Fees for up-to-date information about special course fees. 

Admissions Information

Admissions Requirements



Applicants must meet Graduate College admission requirements and apply to the Graduate College.

Admission to the doctoral program is competitive and based on both the applicant's abilities and faculty interest and expertise in the student's proposed area of study. School of Information may deny entry to an otherwise qualified applicant if there is insufficient faculty intellectual overlap for working with that applicant.

  • Admission to the doctoral program is possible with or without a master's degree.
  • All applicants must possess an undergraduate degree that is comparable to an undergraduate degree offered by the University of Arizona.

Admission to any graduate program at the University of Arizona is the responsibility of the Graduate College. The School of Information and other schools and departments with graduate programs make recommendations to the Graduate College. Please note that most schools and departments, including School of Information, prefer to set a standard for admission that is higher than the absolute minimum levels for admission to the Graduate College.

The following are guidelines. The faculty consider the overall package when making candidate evaluations:

  • An undergraduate or graduate academic record that is indicative of significant achievement. This is normally a GPA of a minimum of 3.5 on a 4.0 scale.
  • GRE scores that are indicative of significant promise. This is normally a minimum of the 80th percentile or higher on the verbal, quantitative, and analytical portions of the test. There is no need to take or submit a specialized test other than noted above.
  • A minimum of three letters of recommendation that clearly speak to the applicant's promise as a graduate student and as a doctoral student.
  • A résumé indicating both employment and educational experience to date.
  • A statement of intent from the applicant clearly outlining why he or she is applying to this particular program and what he or she considers the outcome of doctoral study will be. Applicants need not, at this point, indicate potential dissertation topics, but an indication of the area(s) in which they propose to study would be very helpful to the faculty.
  • A completed set of application forms for the Graduate College and for the School.
  • An interview, on campus or by phone, with selected members of the faculty.

Admissions Procedures

Admission to the doctoral program normally occurs in the fall semester, with a deadline of January 15.

The Graduate Committee makes recommendations to the faculty, who then vote for admission or rejection with a simple majority prevailing.  Faculty expertise and interest in the student’s area of study are major factors in the admission decision.

Please complete this online application for admission to the Graduate College with a $85 application fee.  As part of the online application, you are required to submit the following materials.  Please do not email or mail these materials to the School of Information or Graduate College.  These materials are inputted into your online application:

  • Upload unofficial transcripts from ALL higher education institutions attended in ‘Supplemental Questions’ section.  Undergraduate preparatory courses should include basic principles of mathematics, probability and statistics, and programming methodology;
  • Upload unofficial GRE scores in ‘Supplemental Questions’ section;
  • Upload unofficial TOEFL scores in ‘Supplemental Questions’ section (international students only);
  • Upload a current resumé or curriculum vitae (CV) in the ‘Supplemental Questions’ section;
  • Write a 750-1000 word written statement of introduction and interest in the program in the ‘Supplemental Questions’ section;
  • Provide email addresses and contact information for three (3) recommenders in the ‘Letters of Recommendation’ section.

Please email official e-Transcripts to directly from the institution or mail one (1) official transcript to the following address (do not send to the Graduate College).  Official transcripts from ALL higher education institutions attended are required.

School of Information
The University of Arizona
Harvill 409
1103 E 2nd Street
Tucson, AZ 85721

Standardized Tests

Required test(s):  GRE
Minimum GRE Verbal: 80th percentile
Minimum GRE Quantitative: 80th percentile
Minumum GRE Written: 80th percentile

If an international applicant, please see minimum language test requirements for Graduate College admissions.  Please note: **International Applicants: Per immigration regulations, students admitted to a graduate program must enroll in a total of 9 units, of which 6 of those units must be courses taught in-person and only 3 online units may be used toward full-time enrollment. For questions regarding enrollment, please contact the School of Information ( for assistance.

Financial Aid

The School of Information views as a priority funding PhD students in their first three years of study.  Opportunities exist within the School and on campus for graduate assistantships, scholarships and other forms of support.

Ph.D. Student Travel Grants

To quality, the student need to have had an active role in a grant proposal development or have applied for support money from other internal/external sources (e.g., SBSRI, Confluence, NSF Dissertation Improvement, see Anthropology for examples: this year before applying for this SI travel fund. Only doctoral students with annual reports files in year two or beyond and in good standing qualify.The travel grant may be spent only on university allowable travel and conference expenses. You must demonstrate that you are a presenter at the event. No funds are provided to simply attend conferences as a spectator. In your application, a description of the qualifying funding proposal and your proposed research presentation clarifying your role on the project should be included. Description of your participation in the event and outcomes must be included in your annual review materials. 

Funding Rates for this policy period FY 2015-2016: $500.
Your application for these funds will be reviewed by the graduate committee. To apply, please send your CV, a 500 word abstract on the research you are doing and a short description and predicted costs for what you need.  The business office: Hong Cui, Director of Graduate Studies,

Dissertation Improvement Grants

To qualify, the student must have filed annual reports in year two and beyond and be in good standing. In addition, the student must have completed comprehensive exams or have them scheduled for the very near future. The activities and expenditures for this support must be after comprehensive examinations are successfully completed. The work must have been approved by your committee as being related to your dissertation or preparation of the dissertation proposal. This small fund for research support can be used for such purchase as equipment needed for gathering pilot data, subject/participant remuneration, fees associated with processing data gathered for the dissertation-related project. All IRB and other requirements for ethical research must be met. Funds may not be used to report findings but could be used to travel to conferences or meetings if that travel is to gather dissertation related data. In principle, one SI dissertation improvement grant is made per dissertation this year. Students must have applied for but not necessarily received a grant in the past year including for example university dissertation improvement grants. Students may resubmit dissertation improvement proposals for this SI funding if it is for the same activity for which you are requesting funding.  You may only legally receive funding for the same expense once.  There should be acknowledgement of the SI Dissertation improvement grant funds in the dissertation and any publication resulted from the dissertation funding. 

Some purchases may be made by the business office to avoid the need for reimbursement. All other expenses may need to be reimbursements based on receipts and on University regulations. All equipment and software remains the property of the School of Information and the University.

Funding Rates for this policy period FY 2015-2016: $500 Maximum

Your application for the funds will be reviewed by the graduate committee. To apply, please send your CV, a 500 word abstract on your research, including statements that you meet each of the qualication requirement, and a short description and predicted costs for what you need.  The business office: Hong Cui, Director of Graduate Studies,

Admissions Deadlines


Admission Deadline

Fall Semester: January 15

International Conditional Admission
International applicants may be considered for conditional admission to this program at the department's discretion.
Other Information
The GRE Institution Code for The University of Arizona is 4832

Completion Requirements

Degree Requirements
The Ph.D. in Information will consist in 36 credits of major coursework, 9 to 12 credits of minor coursework, and 18 dissertation credits. For a complete checklist, please see the file attachement below. 
All Ph.D. students will begin by taking a two-course sequence during their first year in the program.  In addition to exposing students to current research topics and current research methods within Information Science, the hope is that this sequence will create a cohort among entering Ph.D. students each year.
  •  505 - Foundations of Information Science (3 credits) 

This course will survey the active areas of research within information science (information theory, information retrieval, information visualization, information policy, etc.) 

  • 507 - Research Methods in Information Science (3 credits)

This course will survey the various methodologies utilized by information science researchers.  Also, in line with the Vision and Mission of the School of Information, it will look at how interdisciplinary research is carried out. 

Both of these courses will utilize guest speakers from the School of Information faculty as much as possible.  The goal is to have topics introduced to entering Ph.D. students by experts on those topics.  In addition, this will provide students with an immediate introduction to the faculty of the School of Information and their research. These classes may be co-convened with Master of Science in Information students but the class requirments may differ.
All Ph.D. students are required to take an additional research methods course that focuses on the methodology that they are likely to use in their own research.  This requirement may be waived if a student has acquired sufficient methodological grounding prior to entering the Ph.D. program.  (In that case, the student will be required to take one additional elective to complete the 36 credits of major coursework.)
All Ph.D. students are required to take two research seminars in the School of Information in addition of the Foundations of Information Science and Information Science Research.  The research seminars will focus on various specific topics in Information Science.  Standardly, students will be required to read and discuss research articles on that topic.  Also, students will be required to write a research paper or carry out a research project on the topic of the seminar.
All Ph.D. students are required to take a total of 9 credits of directed research.  Students will apprentice on a School of Information faculty member's research project.  Under normal circumstances, this requirement would be satisfied by working on three separate projects under the supervision of three separate faculty members in order to provide a breadth of knowledge of research methods.  But the number of credits awarded for working on a particular project may vary depending on the size of the student's contribution to that project.  Directed research credits will be selected in consultation with the student's major advisor ideally, in a way that prepares the student for his or her anticipated dissertation research.
Finally, all Ph.D. students are required to take four elective courses.  These electives will be selected in consultation with a student's major advisor.  Since the minor coursework requirement gives students the opportcredity to take courses from another department on campus, we expect that, in the absence of special circumstances, the electives for the major coursework will be taken from faculty teaching in the School of Information.
Students can transfer in up to 12 credits of previous graduate-level coursework from Information Science or a related field.  Such coursework should provide important foundational insight into information studies. The GradPath Plan of study form is used to document these transfers.
Overall, per the Graduate College requirements, a minimum of 30 credits of graduate credit in residence at The University of Arizona. "In residence" is defined as credits offered by The University of Arizona, whether or not they are offered on campus. And at least 36 credits of coursework, exclusive of the dissertation, must be in the major area. 
Major coursework requirements for the Ph.D. (36 credits total)
  • Foundations of Information Science -- 3 credits
  • Information Science Research -- 3 credits
  • A methodology-specific research methods course -- 3 credits
  • Research seminars -- 6 credits
  • Directed research -- 9 credits
  • Electives -- 12 credits

Besides course works, all students entering the program after Fall 2012 need to meet the following esearch seminar and presentation requirements: 

  • to attend and participate live in 6 or more research presentations per year,
  • to give a public research-related presentation yearly after the comprehensive exam
  • to make two primary-authored submissions, including poster, paper,  computer system demonstration, or research proposals, during the time at the ph.d program

Steps to your Degree on Graduate College site:

Annual Review

Each year, toward the end of the spring semester in April, the Graduate Committee will seek an annual review of each individual Ph.D. student from his or her respective major advisors. This will be conducted in accordance with the School's Satisfactory Academic Progress guidelines. An annual review form is connected to this web page.

Most processes are handeled though the Graduate online system called GredPath. The Graduate College link to GradPath and forms to progressing through the program can be found at

Comprehensive Examination
The format and process of comprehensive exams are documented in the file attached at the end of this page. SI guideline in general follows the Graduate College Guidelines at, but has more pecific requirements to maintain the high quality of the exams. Exams will involve the minor department to the degree required by that department. The minor can not be the same as the major.
Dissertation Proposal/Perspectus
Formation of a dissertation committee is described on the Graduate college website: Prospectus defense and dissertation defense administered by at least four faculty, up to two of these may come from outside of the School of Information and all of whom should be tenure, tenure-track, other approved equivalent. Follow Graduate college guidelines for special provision members.
Minor Requirements

The Ph.D. Minor in Information

A Ph.D. minor in Information consists of an approved 9 credits of SI courses (passed with grade B or better) and a written and oral examination (which forms part of the Ph.D. Comprehensive Exam). The form of the Ph.D. minor written exam would typically be a 2 hour paper with questions requiring 30 minutes to answer or that is consistant with the major exam of the student's home department. If the student is now a Ph.D. student in another department and a previous graduate of an SI Master's program, 9 credits are not always required. In some cases no additional courses will be required; but the SI Minor Committee may require that the student take no more than 9 credits of additional courses in SI to meet the current new field of study of the student. 

Applications for admission to the Minor should be made to the Graduate Committee. Successful admission will be contingent, in part, on there being a core/primary graduate faculty member of SI faculty willing to serve as a member of the candidate's Ph.D. minor committee. A second faculty member is optional and may be an SI affiliated faculty member. There may be one or two SI faculty members on the minor committee. Students intending to apply for admission should consult with the Director of Graduate Studies. 

Request for course approval for the three courses that make up the Minor, or for variations in the form of the written exam, should be addressed to the Graduate Committee.

Ph.D. Minor students are not required to take normally required core classes unless selested by the Minor committee; but if they do not, they will have to obtain waivers from the pre-requisite, from the instructors of the courses that constitute their Minor.

Student Handbook  

Program StatisticsInformation about these numbers

Program-level Information
Application Acceptance Rate 32%
Med. Time-to-degree (years) n/a
Department-level Information
Enrollment Percent Male 26%
Enrollment Percent Female 74%
Enrollment Percent International 8%
Enrollment Percent URM 25%

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Last revised 09 Jan 2020