Part-Time PhD in LIS Program

Stack of books

Admissions criteria

Applicants must meet all of the current admission requirements for the full-time program, including meeting minimum TOEFL scores if necessary, an ALA-accredited MLIS degree already completed, and a previous four-year Honors level academic degree in the B range or higher. 


Part-time students are not eligible for School of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies funding, such as Teaching Assistantships and Western Graduate Research Scholarships (WGRS). They also are not eligible to hold external scholarships such as SSHRC or OGS awards (which require full-time status).

Part-time fees are half of the rate of full-time fees, including both residency and non-residency terms.

Intake and Residencey

The LIS part-time doctoral program admits 1-2 students per year.

Students enter in the fall term, with the incoming full-time students. Usually part-time students take one course per term, although two would be permissible.

Expectations and Requirements
  • Students usually take one course per term, though two is permissible
  • Students are required to be physically present and active on campus for at least 2 full terms (can be consecutive or non-consecutive terms)
  • During the residency period, students are expected to participate fully in the life of the Faculty and doctoral program, including activities such as attending class, seminars, conferences and talks, conducting research, being involved with doctoral student events, interacting with faculty, consulting with advisors, and participating in committee work

Courses and Comprehensive Exam

  • Fall Term: LIS 9809 Research Methods
  • Winter Term: LIS 9806 Statistical Methods
  • Subsequent 4 Terms: student takes courses in her/his area of specialization and electives, completing a minimum of 6 doctoral courses in total
  • Seventh Term: Comprehensive examination

Proposal & Thesis

Upon successful completion of the comprehensive exam, the student commences work on the thesis proposal. It is anticipated that most students would have a completed proposal by the end of term 8 (and no later than the end of the 3rd year).

Following approval of the proposal by the student's advisory committee, the student then proceeds to carry out the research and writing required for the thesis. Years 4, 5 and 6 thus are spent conducting the research and completing the thesis, and ultimately defending the work.

Conversion to Full-Time Status

If a part-time student wishes to do so, s/he may convert to full-time status. In this case, the student is eligible for Teaching Assistantship and Western Graduate Research Scholarship funding from the School of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies (SGPS), but only if there is funding readily available that is not already allocated to other students. There is no guarantee that funding automatically would be provided through conversion to full-time status.

Once a student has converted to full-time status, all SGPS regulations governing full-time students apply. The student would not be able to change status again to part-time, except as allowed by SGPS regulations governing full-time students.