PhD in Information Science and Technology

The PhD in Information Science and Technology (founded in 1969, formerly known as PhD in Information Transfer) at Syracuse University's School of Information Studies is one of the finest interdiscipinary PhD programs in the information field in the nation. It addresses information-related phenomena in all settings: individual, organizational, societal, political, and technical. The Information Science and Technology PhD program is interdisciplinary, bringing together relevant knowledge and methods from information science, behavioral and social sciences,  management science, computer science, law, and public policy.

The PhD in Information Science and Technology is a full-time, residency-based, research-oriented degree awarded for excellence in the advancement and dissemination of new knowledge, both basic and applied, about the design, use, and evaluation of information systems, services, and policies for individuals, groups, private-sector firms, nonprofit, and governmental organizations. PhD students in our program study in a wide range of areas, including:

  • Information and Society: public policy, societal impacts and information technology (IT), e-government, the digital divide, media convergence, community networks, libraries
  • Information and Organizations: IT management, e-commerce, technology-driven innovation and change, IT-enabled organizations
  • Information and Education: digital literacy, e-learning, school library media, asynchronous learning networks
  • Information and Individuals: human-computer interaction, information-seeking behavior, medical informatics
  • Information Systems: design, survivability, security
  • Information Organization and Access: metadata, representation, knowledge discovery, information retrieval, image retrieval
  • Networked Information: digital libraries, distribution of public information, digital reference
  • Information Technology: emerging technologies, wireless networks, natural language processing, middleware

Distinctive Features


Students engage in research every semester through individual, faculty-supervised, hands-on research practica.


The faculty members are highly accessible and work closely with students in both formal and informal settings.

Individualized Program of Study

There are only a handful of required or suggested courses. Students, in consultation with their advisors, can select the majority of courses in their program.


To supplement the diversity of research approaches in the school, students are encouraged to take relevant courses in other departments of the University.

Personalized Supervision

Doctoral students have annual individual evaluations with their faculty to identify significant intellectual gains over the past year and to suggest courses and priority activities for the remainder of the program.

High Involvement

Students share responsibilities in research, teaching, and school administration.

Professional Development

The Graduate School's professional development programs are nationally recognized. The school participates in the Future Professoriate Program, through which students can earn a Certificate in University Teaching.

Internationally Diverse

Our program attracts students from across the United States and around the world. Our internationally renowned faculty members lead numerous research and educational activities, also worldwide. We have current or recent students from many nations, including Australia, China, Japan, Thailand, India, Korea, Malaysia, Morocco, Jordan, France, Canada, Ecuador, and Venezuela, to name a few.

Scholarship in action

The Syracuse University School of Information Studies is a leader in advancing both the theory and practice of the information professions, based on an interdisciplinary view of information phenomena. The school is committed to conducting research that expands human capabilities through information and offers solutions for the future.

The school's 40+ full-time faculty members have formal training in a wide range of areas, including information systems, telecommunications, computer science, communications, library science, school media, digital literacy, gaming, information science, instructional technology, engineering, industrial psychology, cognitive psychology, law, economics, and political science. More information about individual faculty members and their research can be found in the  Faculty Directory.

The school receives millions of dollars annually in sponsored research funding, among the highest per capita level of funding at Syracuse University and near the top among peer information schools. Recent sponsors include the National Science Foundation, DARPA, Department of Education, JPMorgan Chase, US Agency for International Development, the Ford Foundation, the Robin Hood Foundation, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Unilever, AT&T, Raytheon, Alcatel, Cisco, Intel, Kodak, and Nokia.

The school houses or participates in several research centers, including the Center for Convergence and Emerging Network Technologies, the Center for Computational and Data Science, the Information Institute of Syracuse, the Center for Digital Literacy, the Collaboratory on Technology Enhanced Learning Communities (COTELCO), and the Systems Assurance Institute. Information about these centers can be found on their web sites, accessible from the school's Research Centers website

The school enjoys strong support within the University. It is featured in the University's development and academic plans and is being positioned as the next Syracuse signature school. In May 2008, the school celebrated the completion of renovations to its high-tech home in Hinds Hall.

Who should apply?

Since the degree program's inception in 1969 as the first broad, interdisciplinary doctorate in the field, the PhD program at Syracuse University has been training researchers, educators, consultants, and others who share the view that information is a manageable resource.

New institutions and systems are emerging in society around the use and management of information.

  • How are these systems to be designed and evaluated?
  • How should information systems and services be responsible to their clientele?
  • What kinds of media and channels for information transfer are most effective?
  • How can our current theories be modified to better account for the transfer and use of recorded information?

The PhD program at Syracuse leads the effort to establish the new interdisciplinary field of information studies and contributes significantly to knowledge in this area.

You are welcomed and encouraged to apply if:

  • You want to have a career in academia or research institutions or anywhere that focus on research
  • You have curious observations or concerns, or burning questions that fall under the research streams or areas listed on the PhD program overview page
  • You are enthusiastic about learning AND producing new knowledge
  • You have working knowledge of and skills with English
  • You can commit four or five years of full-time study to concentrate on your PhD program
  • You are open-minded and respect and appreciate interdisciplinary views and approaches
  • You have a CAN-DO and WILL-DO attitude toward the PhD study


The most up-to-date curriculum information may be found in the Syracuse University Course Catalog.

View Curriculum in Course Catalog


For information about the substantive components of the program, please contact the IST PhD Program:

Steve Sawyer
Professor; Director, PhD Program
Jennifer Barclay
Program Manager, Doctoral Programs


The PhD application for fall 2017 term will open on Saturday, October 1.

The deadline to apply for fall 2017 admission is January 3. We only offer admissions for fall term.

Application Requirements

Admissions requirements can be found on our application checklist.

Prospective applicants will use the regular Syracuse University online application to apply for the PhD Program.

Internal applicants (current students) may apply via the internal application form and include the other required materials.

For information on the application process, please contact:

Bridget Crary
Graduate Recruitment Coordinator
Phone: +1 315-443-1713

For an information packet with complete admissions and curriculum information, please use our online information request form.