The following contains specific admissions requirements for the PhD in Library and Information Science program. For information regarding admissions requirements for the School of Computing and Information, please click here.

  • A master's degree from a program accredited by the American Library Association, a recognized international program, or the equivalent in a closely related field of study. Students must submit official transcripts as evidence. Only official transcripts will be accepted.
  • Attainment in graduate work of a minimum quality point average of 3.50 (on a scale with A having a value of four points per credit). An international student's quality point average will be calculated on the basis of equivalency from universities that use a different scale.
  • Submission of scores from a predictor test such as the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) taken within the last three years. The institution number for the University of Pittsburgh is 2927.
  • At least three references are required. Two references should be able to address your academic abilities, while the remaining references may discuss your professional experience and accomplishments. The Committee on Doctoral Studies may, on occasion, require additional references.
  • Submission of an application fee of $50.
As evidence of the ability to undertake doctoral work, the student's application must be accompanied by:
  • An essay (not exceeding 1,000 words) indicating, as specifically as possible, the student's academic and professional goals in relation to the Library and Information Science doctoral program and identifying potential areas and/or topics in which the student expects to pursue dissertation research.
  • A complete curriculum vitae that provides an overview of education, work, publication, and other professional activities.
  • At least one example of scholarly research or professional writing in any format (print or electronic) which should be authored solely by the applicant. The student should describe fully any published or unpublished research, thesis, contributions to the professional or scholarly literature, and other professional or academic experience relevant to an assessment of his or her capacity to pursue research successfully. If the writing sample submitted is a co-authored publication, the applicant must explain the nature and extent of his or her contribution to the work, and should attach additional evidence as verification (for example, a statement by the primary author or co-author of the work, confirming the parts of the work contributed by the applicant).
  • If the candidate has had appropriate professional work experience in libraries, information centers, publishing, the information industry, education, or similarly related areas of professional activity, a brief description should be provided.

Credentials of prospective students are reviewed by the Admissions and Review Committee and voted upon by the LIS Committee on Doctoral Studies throughout the year. However, students who are applying for financial aid should be aware that they must be admitted and meet financial aid deadlines to ensure consideration for funding. PhD students may begin their studies only in the fall term in order to ensure a coherent program of study.


Submission of scores from a standardized predictor test is required. To send us your test scores, please use the following designations: Graduate Record Examination (GRE): The GRE institution number for the University of Pittsburgh is 2927. Applicants proposing to submit scores from tests other than those listed above should contact the admissions team for advice on how to proceed.


In order for your student visa document (Form I-20 or DS-2019) to be issued in time for your studies, you will need to provide additional financial information directly to the Office of International Services (OIS) at the University of Pittsburgh. Please access and read the International Graduate Student Financial Information form to determine what you need to prepare.

Please note: you will not be able to submit your financial information unless you have been admitted to our School and you accept that offer of admission. At that point, OIS will contact you directly via the email address you have provided to us in your application, and they will share a link to use to submit your financial information. You must accept any offer of admission you receive by the deadlines stated below in order for your visa to be processed in time. OIS will then give you a deadline by which to submit your financial information as well.


Graduate students must possess sufficient knowledge of English to study without being hindered by language problems, to understand lectures, and to participate successfully in class discussion. International applicants must submit either the TOEFL or the IELTS (taken within two years of the date of application). Contact Educational Testing Services directly to request that an official score report be sent to the School of Information Sciences. The institution code for the University of Pittsburgh is 2927and the department code for all applicants is 90. A minimum score of 550 (paper-based) or 80 (Internet-based) on the TOEFL is required for admission to the MSIS, MST, MLIS, PhD IS & TELE programs. Students may choose to take the International English Language Testing System exam (IELTS) in place of the TOEFL. Students should receive a minimum result of Band 6.5 on the IELTS. A minimum score of 600 (paper-based), 250 (computer-based) or 100 (Internet-based) on the TOEFL is required for admission to the PhD in Library and Information Science program. Students may choose to take the International English Language Testing System exam (IELTS) in place of the TOEFL. Students should receive a minimum result of Band 7.5 on the IELTS.

Exceptions: International students who completed a degree at a regionally accredited college or university in the United States are not required to submit a TOEFL/IELTS score. Students from certain English-speaking countries are also exempt. Permanent residents are exempt. However, the School reserves the right to ask for TOEFL scores if deemed necessary for the evaluation of the application. Please note: degrees where anything less than the entire degree was completed in-residence within the English-speaking country will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis. Students in these circumstances may be required to complete the TOEFL or IELTS with the required minimum score upon review. Prior to registration, students with TOEFL scores of less than 100 (Internet-based), 600 (Paper-based) or less than Band 7.5 on the IELTS must take this additional test of English language proficiency: English Language Proficiency Test. If remedial courses in English as a foreign language are recommended, the student must complete the remedial course during the first two terms of study.


All degrees obtained outside of the U.S. will be evaluated for equivalency to U.S. educational standards by the School of Computing and Information/University of Pittsburgh. Therefore, all international applicants must provide an official English-language translations of all pertinent transcripts. All transcripts from non-U.S. institutions, for undergraduate and graduate study, will be reviewed by the School/University of Pittsburgh in terms of: the U.S. degree to which your degree is equivalent - Bachelor's, Master's, etc., the overall grade point average for your studies (converted to a U.S 4.0 scale), and a course-by-course grade equivalency evaluation for every class taken. If you completed your degree in the U.S. but also took coursework outside of the U.S., you do not need to have an evaluation by an external agency. However you need to provide a certified English translation of the coursework taken outside of the U.S. if the record was issued in a language other than English.

Please note: the Admissions Committee may request an external review of your transcript, the cost of which is the responsibility of the applicant.

The application fee is $50 for all applicants and must be paid when you submit your application. The fee will not be waived, deferred, or refunded. Applications will not be considered until the fee has been received. Receipt of payment will be acknowledged by email from Apply Yourself.
All application materials for PhD applicants should be received at the school by January 15 for admission the following Fall Term. Students whose complete credentials are not available for full admission may register as special students until the completed credentials are received, provided all other requirements have been satisfied.

The School of Computing and Information makes every effort to issue a determination about applications within 6-8 weeks of the application deadline. This is, of course, dependent upon the timely receipt of all required application materials. You will be notified via e-mail when an admissions decision has been posted to your Apply Yourself account.

Please note that, during the December–January timeframe, numerous applications are received. Due to the volume of submissions, there may be a delay in notification of receipt of materials.

You may always check your Apply Yourself account to ascertain if documentation has been received or if an admissions decision has been made. The status of your application, related documents and admission decision cannot be verified until you have submitted the application fee (which is the final step in submitting your application).