Apply to our PhD in Information Sciences

What are the requirements for admission?

  1. Applicants must hold a bachelor's from an accredited college or university.
  2. Applicants with GPAs of at least 3.0, or those with an earned JD, MD, or PhD, are exempt from the GRE requirement. Applicants with a grade-point average (GPA) below 3.0 on a 4.0 scale must submit GRE scores. See the Graduate College's minimum requirements for full details.
  3. All international degree-seeking applicants are required to submit the results of the TOEFL or IELTS as evidence of English proficiency unless they qualify for an exemption, as defined by the Graduate College.  International applicants who are not exempt must submit evidence of having passed the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) with a score of 620 or higher (or 260 or higher for the computer-administered version; 103 or higher [at least a 24 in each section] for the IBT). The test can be administered in the student's home country but should be arranged at least one year before the applicant expects to begin the program. The IELTS test is also accepted with a minimum score of 7.5 in each section. Our School's Institution code is 1836.
  4. Language proficiency is also to be demonstrated through an interview with the Doctoral Studies Committee. We require evidence of proficiency in oral English sufficient to obtain exemption from the university test for graduate teaching assistants:  In exceptional circumstances, an applicant who does not meet these requirements can only be admitted on limited status and will be required to take the English Placement Test (EPT) upon arrival to determine whether additional ESL coursework is necessary.

When are applications due?

The Application portal opens for admission on August 1, 2021. For full consideration for nomination for a Graduate College fellowship, all materials (i.e., CV, statement of purpose, letters of reference, and transcripts) must be submitted no later than November 1, 2021. Final application deadline for Fall 2022 PhD admissions: December 1, 2021 (application closes at 11:00 p.m. CST) All materials, including reference letters, to be submitted by this deadline.

How do I apply?

To apply, visit the Graduate College's application page, review the information, and select the "Apply Now" button. In the case of minor discrepancies regarding the scope and character of the statements to be submitted, please follow the instructions below. Applicants must submit the following:

  1. CV
  2. Academic Statement of Purpose (1-2 pages): Please say why you want to pursue doctoral studies, your career goals, and what led you to your decision. This should be complementary to your CV and different from your research statement. Discuss your personal motivation, your strengths, the opportunities you've had and how you've taken advantage of them, and why this is the right time, and why the iSchool is the right place, for you to pursue doctoral studies.
  3. Research Statement (2-3 pages): Please present a research problem or question of interest, propose how it might be investigated at the iSchool, and discuss your preparedness to do so (i.e. languages or technical skills, as appropriate). This statement addresses the "what and how" of your research. We pay great attention to the research statement in assessing an applicant’s ability to thrive in a research centric environment, and be successful in our program. We look for evidence of a creative, questioning approach of someone who wants to find out more than what is already in the scholarly literature. We are also looking to see if we have the people to help you in that exploration. A research statement is just your ideas at the time of application - we do not hold you to undertake exactly the project you propose. We know you may refine your ideas, interests and approaches to doing research as you work with us. We are looking for the kind of person who shows promise in doing research.
  4. Letters of reference. Letters must come from people who can speak to your potential for teaching, research, and productive scholarship. The minimum number of letters we require is 2, but we strongly recommend obtaining 3. We recommend at least one reference from a former professor or research mentor. Please ensure that your letter writers are able and willing to write a letter for you by our deadline.
  5. Transcripts. See online application for instructions..
  6. Writing Sample (OPTIONAL): You have the option to upload a writing sample that illustrates your ability to explore pertinent questions within your chosen discipline. Examples of a writing sample include a senior or master's thesis, revised term paper, capstone assignment, technical report, journal or conference paper (whether published or under review).
  7. Personal Statement for applicant to be considered for the Graduate College fellowship competition (OPTIONAL). Only relevant if you are nominated for a fellowship consideration. Please use the Personal Statement to describe (within 500 words) how your personal background and experiences influenced your decision to pursue a graduate degree. Provide insight on your potential to contribute to a community of inclusion, belonging, and respect in which scholars with diverse backgrounds, perspectives, abilities, and experiences can learn and collaborate productivity and positively together.

Information about resources to assist certain domestic underrepresented applicants is available from the Graduate College.

Information about application fees and application fee waivers is available from the Graduate College. If you have further questions, contact ischool-phd@illinois.edu

How will my application be evaluated?

All applications are assessed by the Doctoral Studies Committee, and also by faculty based on the relevance of the applicant's interests to each individual faculty member’s research. Please note that a doctoral degree is a personalized experience and an admission decision is based on the match of research interests with potential faculty advisors, not just your excellence.

The committee invites the most promising candidates for an online interview, which enables the applicant and faculty members to explore research connections in more depth. The interview is both evaluative (i.e., the committee assesses a candidate's ability to think analytically and communicate ideas effectively) and informational (i.e., candidates explore their fit with the faculty, the iSchool and campus environment, and the local community).

Applicants will be notified by the end of February if they will be invited to interview for the program.

What if I have questions?

For more information, contact us! You can e-mail ischool-apply@illinois.edu or call Dimitria Johnson (217-333-4634) for answers to your questions.