Ph.D. in Information Science

Ph.D. Community

Ph.D. students are knowledge architects and respected contributors to our information society, with a vision of expanding access to quality information, an appreciation for diverse perspectives, and the spirit of collaboration.

You Belong at Berkeley

The I School is a welcoming community of students, faculty, and staff from a wide variety of backgrounds, nations, cultures, and experiences.

The doctoral program is a research-oriented program in which the student chooses specific fields of specialization, prepares sufficiently in the literature and the research of those fields to pass a qualifying examination, and completes original research culminating in the written dissertation. The degree of Doctor of Philosophy is conferred in recognition of a candidate's grasp of a broad field of learning and distinguished accomplishment in that field through contribution of an original piece of research revealing high critical ability and powers of imagination and synthesis.

Rigorous academics instill the theoretical and research capabilities required to advance diverse interests — from information design, architecture, and assurance, to human-computer interaction and the social, economic, and public policy implications of information. Ph.D. students work closely with faculty recognized as information pioneers.

Interdisciplinary thinking and partnership are central to the I School approach, so doctoral research often engages exceptional UC Berkeley schools and departments beyond the I School, from journalism, business, and law to computing, engineering, humanities, and social sciences.


On average, I School students complete the Ph.D. degree in 6 years.

  • Semester 1–4: Breadth, major, & minor coursework
  • Semester 4–5: Prelim research paper & exam
  • Semester 6–8: Qualifying exam
  • Semester 10–12: Complete & present dissertation

Detailed degree requirements & timeline

Areas of Study

Major and minor areas include:

  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Information Economics and Policy
  • Information Law and Policy
  • Information Organization and Retrieval
  • Information Systems Design
  • Social Aspects of Information
  • Information and Communication Technologies and Development

Your Career

I School Ph.D. graduates go on to careers in academia, industry, or the public sector.

Recent Ph.D. graduates hold tenure-track faculty positions at the world’s leading universities, as well as leading research positions in industry, academia, and public-interest organizations.

More about Ph.D. career outcomes

Last updated: May 3, 2024