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Approved by the Information Studies Faculty, 8 November 2002. As amended 5/8/06, 4/15/11, 4/13/2012, 3/24/17, 1/19/18

Table of Contents


Welcome to the School of Information Studies (iSchool) at Syracuse University.


The iSchool PhD is a research degree and about two-thirds of the 140+ graduates enter academia. The rest work in research labs, policy-oriented organizations in governments and the non-profit sector, and some become entrepreneurs. Given the focus on preparing future faculty peers, the PhD program also provides for advancing its graduates skills for teaching excellence.

Learning Outcomes

  • Conduct original information science and technology research
  • Summarize and synthesize a topically focused body of relevant literature

  • Explain foundational knowledge of information systems, services and policies

  • Formulate and analyze information technology problems using appropriate analytical tools

  • Analyze and synthesize data

  • Develop skill in scholarly writing

  • Develop and deliver instruction


There are several faculty and staff resources supporting the Ph.D. program.

Program Director

Each degree program in the School has a Program Director. The Program Director acts as a central resource for questions regarding program requirements, curriculum decisions, funding, and has oversight of the program. The Program Director also acts as a liaison between individual programs and the School as a whole. In this role, he or she is your advocate for matters concerning policy and procedures, and for special problems that might arise. He or she approves milestones, petitions, transfer credits, and leaves. Currently, Steve Sawyer is the Doctoral Programs Director.

Program Manager

The Program Manager works in conjunction with the Program Director to execute all aspects of the program. The Program Manager provides program oversight, runs Ph.D. admissions, manages doctoral records and paperwork flow, oversees milestones, plans all program events and activities, and works with the faculty advisors and the Graduate School. In this role, he or she is your advocate for matters concerning process, administrative questions, and milestones. Currently, Jennifer Barclay is the Doctoral Programs Manager.

Faculty Advisors

Before the start of the first semester, each student is assigned a faculty advisor. The faculty advisor serves as a mentor for academic and professional development. Students may see their faculty advisor for questions about specific course content, questions regarding which electives to take to fulfill a specific career goal, etc. Students may seek advice from any faculty member, not only the advisor.

Graduate Academic Advisor

The Graduate Academic Advisor assists Ph.D. students and faculty with registration, add/drop forms, leave paperwork, and missing grades. He or she may also review and provide input on graduate petitions. Jose Tavarez ( is the Graduate Academic Advisor.

Graduate School

The Graduate School, located in Lyman Hall, provides a variety of professional development, research, and support programs for the nearly 4,000 masters and 1,400 doctoral students on our campus. Individual graduate programs are administered by departments or interdisciplinary committees and are subject to approval by the appropriate schools and colleges and by the University Senate. These policies and standards are administered by the Graduate School. All post-baccalaureate degrees are awarded through the Graduate School, so all milestone paperwork will need to go through the Grad School to be certified. Kristina Ashley is the Graduate Program Coordinator.

Information Technology Services: The iSchool houses its own Information Technology Services (ITS) team, located in 002M Hinds Hall. The team's primary role is to assist faculty and staff with their technology needs, but can help students with iSchool-related computing issues, such as questions regarding the lab computing environments, issues accessing the remote lab, and issues downloading software. For assistance, visit the online help desk form and submit a ticket by emailing . Enterprise level issues (e.g, web, email, learning technologies) are handled by the University’s ITS team at .

Center for International Services (CIS)

For international students, CIS is the first and possibly most important place you will visit on campus. CIS works closely with the Graduate School and all academic departments to assure that international graduate students enrolled at SU can achieve their academic objectives and become an integral part of the SU academic community.


CIS provides you with an orientation program designed and conducted especially for new international students. This orientation program is held the weekend prior to the opening weekend of the University. Check the website for the exact time, date, and location of orientation. To ensure you do not miss any important information, be sure to check your email account on a regular basis. Visit for more information.

Academic Rules

The official academic rules of Syracuse University are here:


Any reference to Academic rules can be found in these links.

Nominal Doctoral Program Sequence of Events (Progress of a Student through the Program)

Starting the program

  • A student applies and is admitted (see section 2).
  • A temporary advisor is assigned (see section 4). This advisor is not expected to have overlapping research interests, but to serve as guide and advocate for the new student and to help them make the transition to the iSchool and Ph.D. program. There is every expectation that in the first 6-18 months of the program this advisor will give way to one that is more closely aligned with your research interests and goals.

Year 1

  • Coursework and other activities are planned with the faculty advisor (see section 5). A typical semester workload is two courses plus the Practicum in Research (IST 810) and Practicum in Teaching (IST 840) (see section 6), for a total of nine (9) credits of graduate study. Students working as teaching or graduate assistants normally take three courses, or 9 credits.]
  • A regular advisor is chosen, usually no later than the end of the first year in the program. The regular advisor may, but need not, be the same person as the temporary advisor (see section 4).
  • The student starts a portfolio. In the Spring of the first year, the first evaluation meeting is held (see section 8).

Year 2

  • Continue planning the program of study with advisor. A committee may be formed to provide additional advice.

  • Annual evaluations will be held each Fall semester (see section 8) until the student reaches candidacy.

Year 3+

  • During the third year, but no later than the fifth year, the student forms a committee, and schedules a committee meeting to obtain certification of completion of program of study (End of Coursework, section 10 and Credit Hours, section 11).

Candidacy to Completion

  • When the student obtains certification of completion of program of study, the School will certify the student as having completed the comprehensive exam (see section 13). At this point, the student becomes a doctoral candidate.

  • As soon thereafter as possible, but within two years of end-of-coursework, a dissertation proposal is presented to the committee for approval (see section 15).

  • Within five years of becoming a candidate, the dissertation research is completed, the thesis is written, and a defense is scheduled with an examination committee (see section 16).