Information science considers the relationships between people, places and technology—as well as the information or data those interactions yield. It unites a number of interdisciplinary approaches for understanding and shaping a future characterized by pervasively available digital technology. Drawing on knowledge from social science, computer science, data science and the humanities, information scientists support the study and innovation of "socio-technical systems." 

Information science takes as a core idea that data are a common denominator for both social and technical systems. By focusing on the transformation of data across systems of people, places, and technology in ways that then make data truly useful and meaningful, students will be in the best possible position to invent what society can do with technology, and what technology can do for society. 

The PhD program offers an education that combines training in the liberal arts, empirical investigation and computing knowledge, and incorporates the collaborative "lab model" research that characterizes the natural and engineering sciences.



Application Guidelines

PhD applicants must:

  • Hold at least a bachelor's degree or its equivalent.
  • Provide the following documents:
    • A CV or resume
    • An unofficial transcript from each college or university attended
    • Scores from the general GRE are optional; international students must also have a TOEFL score of at least 600 (IBT 100)
    • Three letters of recommendation from people qualified to judge the student's potential for success in graduate school (Note: The most compelling recommendation letters will provide specific observations about the candidate's promise in analytical thinking, oral and written scientific communication, and research and teaching, as well as demonstration of teamwork and collegiality)
    • A statement of purpose (two pages maximum) that describes a question, problem or topic in information science the student has a passion to address; explains how the student's previous academic training, professional experience and/or personal passions led them to this question, problem or topic and drew them to this degree program; and identifies the faculty members with whom the student is interested in working and why
    • Optional: A writing sample in addition to the statement of purpose

We encourage applications from individuals representing the broad range of disciplines. We welcome students that bring diverse skills and perspectives on the range of issues related to understanding and shaping the future of information science. All students admitted to the program will be expected to develop a breadth of competencies that are essential to being a researcher in this diverse, interdisciplinary field. One's ability and willingness to expand skill sets should be demonstrated in the statement of purpose.

Students are required to upload an unofficial copy of their transcript(s) in the online application. We require one copy of the scanned transcript from each undergraduate and graduate institution attended. This includes community colleges, summer sessions and extension programs. While credits from one institution may appear on the transcript of a second institution, unofficial transcripts must be submitted from each institution, regardless of the length of attendance and whether courses were completed. Failure to list and submit transcripts from all institutions previously attended is considered a violation of academic ethics and may result in the cancellation of admission or dismissal from the university.

Only after a student is recommended for admission will they need to provide official transcripts. Assistance with graduate programs is available by phone (303-492-7977) or email (

Required Courses and Credits

Required Courses
INFO 7000Introduction to Doctoral Studies in Information Science3
INFO 6101Theories and Concepts in Information Science3
INFO 6201Interdisciplinary Ways of Knowing3
INFO 6500Information Science Seminar (six 1-credit sessions)6
Twenty-one credit hours of graduate-level elective coursework must be taken. Elective specialization courses can be within or outside of INFO, under the guidance of the student’s advisor and committee. Students will also take an additional 30 dissertation hours, typically after finishing their initial coursework.21
Total Credit Hours36

PhD Milestones 

In addition to coursework, program requirements include the successful completion of the following PhD milestones: preliminary exam, comprehensive exam/dissertation proposal and dissertation.