Information Studies

Major: Information Studies
Degree Awarded: Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Calendar Type: Quarter
Total Credit Hours: 90.0
Classification of Instructional Programs (CIP) code: 11.0401
Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) code:

About the Program

The College of Computing & Informatics' on-campus PhD in Information Studies program prepares students to become creative, interdisciplinary researchers with foundations in information science, data science, and human-centered computing. The main focus of the program is on research with applications that benefit all sectors of society.

Purpose and Scope

The program is designed to support all students in attaining a high level of scholarly achievement in both supervised and independent study and research. There are few fixed program requirements, and the master’s degree is not a prerequisite for the PhD. The doctoral program has two major goals: acquisition of in-depth knowledge in a specialized research area and the kind of interdisciplinary breadth that is required to support creative scholarship. The degree prepares students for leadership research careers in academia, industry, administration, and policy-setting.


Most graduates move into academic or research and development (R&D) careers.

Additional Information

For more information about this program, visit the College of Computing & Informatics' Doctoral Program in Information Studies web page.

Degree Requirements


A PhD student is required to complete an approve plan of study consisting of a total of 45.0 credits beyond the master's degree including at least 24.0 credit hours of courses (8 courses), 5.0 credit hours of seminars, and 16.0 credit hours of research. Students entering without a master's degree need to complete the course credits associated with the master's degree in addition to the 45.0 credits discussed here, which is a total of 90.0 credits.

PhD students are required to earn 24 post-master's course credits, broken down as follows:

  • 3 research methods courses
  • 3 foundations courses
  • 2 specialization courses
  • 3 seminar credits for the PhD Process and Practice (PPP)
  • 2 seminar credits for two selected Special Topics Seminars (each seminar is 1.0 credit)

Admission to Candidacy

It is expected that a PhD student should complete the comprehensive exam at the end of the second year. The exam assesses expertise in the major area in which the student intends to perform research. The examination itself consists of two parts, written and oral, and both parts must be passed to enter candidacy.


The student should produce an original piece of research as partial fulfillment for earning the doctorate. The dissertation, committee activity, and protocol must comply with Drexel University's policy on "Doctoral Candidacy and Dissertation Committees."

Required Research Methods Courses
INFO 812Research Statistics I3.0
INFO 813Quantitative Methods3.0
INFO 816Qualitative Research Methods3.0
Required Foundations Courses
INFO 821Foundations in Information Science3.0
INFO 823Foundations in Human-Centered Computing3.0
INFO 825Foundations in Data Science3.0
Specialization Courses
Students should select two specialization courses from any of those listed below; other IS courses and courses from other academic units can also be taken with approval from the PhD program director.6.0
IS courses
Principles of Cybersecurity
Content Representation
Information Retrieval Systems
Information Visualization
Healthcare Informatics
Digital Libraries
Metadata and Resource Description
Information Ethics
Information Policy
Healthcare Informatics: Planning & Evaluation
Archival Access Systems
Introduction to Digital Curation
Digital Preservation
HCC Courses
Developing User Interfaces
Cognitive Systems
Human-Computer Interaction
Analysis of Interactive Systems
Design of Interactive Systems
Social and Collaborative Computing
DS Courses
Data Structures and Algorithms I
Machine Learning
Applied Database Technologies
Knowledge Base Systems
Information Retrieval Systems
Concepts in Artificial Intelligence
Information Visualization
Data Mining
INFO 871PhD Process and Practice (One credit course taken 3 times.)3.0
INFO 873Special Topics Seminar1.0
INFO 873Special Topics Seminar1.0
16 credit hours research16.0
Total Credits45.0

Sample Plan of Study

First Year
INFO 812Research Statistics I3.0
INFO 821Foundations in Information Science3.0
INFO 871PhD Process and Practice1.0
INFO 998*Ph.D. Dissertation2.0
 Term Credits9.0
INFO 813Quantitative Methods3.0
INFO 823Foundations in Human-Centered Computing3.0
INFO 871PhD Process and Practice1.0
INFO 998*Ph.D. Dissertation2.0
 Term Credits9.0
INFO 816Qualitative Research Methods3.0
INFO 825Foundations in Data Science3.0
INFO 871PhD Process and Practice1.0
INFO 998*Ph.D. Dissertation2.0
 Term Credits9.0
Second Year
INFO 873Special Topics Seminar1.0
INFO 998*Ph.D. Dissertation5.0
INFO specialization course3.0
 Term Credits9.0
INFO 873Special Topics Seminar1.0
INFO 998*Ph.D. Dissertation5.0
INFO Specialization Course3.0
 Term Credits9.0
Total Credit: 45.0

Number of credits taken each quarter is variable depending on stage of the project and other credit load. May be taken for additional credits if necessary.


Drexel University Libraries

Drexel University Libraries is a learning enterprise, advancing the University’s academic mission through serving as educators, supporting education and research, collaborating with researchers, and fostering intentional learning outside of the classroom. Drexel University Libraries engages with Drexel communities through four physical locations, including W. W. Hagerty Library, Hahnemann Library, Queen Lane Library and the Library Learning Terrace, as well as a vibrant online presence which sees, on average, over 8,000 visits per day. In the W.W. Hagerty Library location, College of Computing & Informatics students have access to private study rooms and nearly half a million books, periodicals, DVDs, videos and University Archives. All fields of inquiry are covered, including: library and information science, computer science, software engineering, health informatics, information systems, and computing technology. Resources are available online at or in-person at W. W. Hagerty Library.

The Libraries also make available laptop and desktop PC and Mac computers, printers and scanners, spaces for quiet work or group projects and designated 24/7 spaces. Librarians and library staff—including a liaison librarian for computing and informatics—are available for individual research consultations and to answer questions about materials or services.


Located in Room 106 of the Rush Building, the College’s iCommons is an open lab and collaborative work environment for students. It features desktop computers, a wireless/laptop area, free black and white printing, more collaborative space for its students and a furnished common area. There is a fully equipped conference room for student use with a 42” display and videoconferencing capabilities. The iCommons provides technical support to students, faculty, and administrative staff. In addition, the staff provides audio-visual support for all presentation classrooms within the Rush Building. Use of the iCommons is reserved for all students taking CCI courses.

The computers for general use are Microsoft Windows and Macintosh OSX machines with appropriate applications which include the Microsoft Office suite, various database management systems, modeling tools, and statistical analysis software. Library related resources may be accessed at the iCommons and through the W.W. Hagerty Library. The College is a member of the Rational SEED Program which provides cutting-edge software development and project management software for usage in the iCommons and CCI classrooms. The College is also a member of the Microsoft Academic Alliance known also as “DreamSpark” that allows students free access to a wide array of Microsoft software titles and operating systems.

The iCommons, student labs, and classrooms have access to networked databases, print and file resources within the College, and the Internet via the University’s network. Email accounts, Internet and BannerWeb access are available through the Office of Information Resources and Technology.

Rush Building

The Rush Building houses classrooms, CCI administrative offices (academic advising, graduate admissions, faculty, etc.) and the iCommons computer lab (open to all CCI students). The building holds 6 classrooms equipped for audio-visual presentation. These rooms typically contain a networked PC, HD video player, ceiling mounted projectors, and other equipment for presentations and demonstrations. Four of these classrooms are fully equipped to function as laptop computing labs for networking, programming and database-related projects.

The Information Technology Laboratory, located in the Rush Building, consists of enterprise class information technology hardware that students would encounter in industry positions. The hardware includes 20 high powered workstations that are available to students and specialized networking lab simulation software. The hardware is networked and reconfigurable utilizing multiple virtual technologies as needed for the various classes the laboratory supports. In addition, a special system has been built into to the classroom to allow for conversion into a standard laptop computing lab utilizing motorized monitor lifts that allow the monitors and keyboards to recess into the desk.

University Crossings - Cyber Learning Center and Computer Lab

CCI also has classrooms, administrative office and faculty offices located in University Crossings, located at the corner of JFK Blvd. and Market Street. The building houses the Cyber Learning Center, a student computer lab, as well as several classrooms with video-conference enabled technology and media projection capabilities.

The Cyber Learning Center (CLC) provides consulting and other learning resources for students taking computer science classes. The CLC is staffed by graduate and undergraduate computer science students from the College of Computing & Informatics.

Both the CLC and UC Lab now serve as a central hub for small group work, student meetings, and TA assistance. The UC Lab is organized with desk space around the perimeter of the lab for individual or partner/pair-programmed student work, as well as with clusters of tables which can be connected as needed into pods to create workspaces for larger groups.

Research Laboratories

The College houses multiple research labs, led by CCI faculty, across Drexel’s main campus including: the Auerbach and Berger Families Cybersecurity Laboratory, Drexel Health and Risk Communication Lab, Socio-Technical Studies Group, Intelligent Information & Knowledge Computing Research Lab, Evidence-based Decision Making Lab, Applied Symbolic Computation Laboratory (ASYM), Geometric and Intelligent Computing Laboratory (GICL), High Performance Computing Laboratory (SPIRAL), Privacy, Security and Automation Laboratory (PSAL), Drexel Research on Play (RePlay) Laboratory, Software Engineering Research Group (SERG), Vision and Cognition Laboratory (VisCog) and the Vision and Graphics Laboratory. For more information on these laboratories, please visit the College’s research web page.

Alumni Garden

The Rush Building’s Alumni Garden provides additional collaborative space for students, faculty, professional staff and alumni. The Garden features wireless networking, tables with built-in power outlets, accessible covered patio and balconies and a bicycle rack. The Alumni Garden may be reserved for Drexel events.

3401 Market Street

3401 Market Street houses faculty offices and doctoral student workspaces. It also is home to College research groups such and University initiatives such as the Isaac L. Auerbach Cybersecurity Institute. The Institute’s Auerbach and Berger Families Cybersecurity Laboratory serves as University’s first training facility dedicated to identifying challenges and discovering solutions in the areas of cyber infrastructure protection and incident response.

Information Science Faculty

Denise E. Agosto, PhD (Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey). Professor. Information behavior, public libraries, gender, children, young adults, multicultural materials.
Larry Alexander, PhD (University of Pennsylvania) Executive in Residence. Research Professor. Large scale modeling and simulation, pattern recognition, the future of information technology.
Yuan An, PhD (University of Toronto, Canada). Associate Professor. Conceptual modeling, schema and ontology mapping, information integration, knowledge representation, requirements engineering, healthcare information systems, semantic web.
Ellen Bass, PhD (Georgia Institute of Technology) Head of Department of Information Science; Joint Appointment with the College of Nursing and Health Professions. Professor. Characterizing human judgement and decision making, modeling human judgement when supported by information automation, computational models of human-human and human-automation coordination.
Jennifer Booker, PhD (Drexel University). Associate Teaching Professor. Software engineering, systems analysis and design, networking, statistics and measurement, process improvement, object-oriented analysis and design, bioinformatics, and modeling of biological systems.
Christopher Carroll, MS (Drexel University). Assistant Teaching Professor. Information technology within healthcare companies, computer networking and design, IT infrastructure, server technology, information security, virtualization and cloud computing.
Chaomei Chen, PhD (University of Liverpool). Professor. Information visualization, visual analytics, knowledge domain visualization, network analysis and modeling, scientific discovery, science mapping, scientometrics, citation analysis, human-computer interaction.
Catherine D. Collins, MLIS (Indiana University). Associate Teaching Professor. Knowledge management, collection development, management of information organizations, information sources and services, international development.
John D'Ignazio, MS (Carnegie Mellon University). Assistant Teaching Professor. Human information interaction, digital curation, design of information infrastructures, methods development to elicit and evaluate impact on information environments, metadata schemes.
Prudence W. Dalrymple, PhD (University of Wisconsin-Madison) Director, Institute for Healthcare Informatics. Research and Teaching Professor. User-centered information behaviors, particularly in the health arena, health informatics, evidence based practice, education for the information professions and evaluation, and translation of research into practice.
M. Carl Drott, PhD (University of Michigan). Associate Professor. Systems analysis techniques, web usage, competitive intelligence.
Andrea Forte, PhD (Georgia Institute of Technology). Associate Professor. Social computing, human-computer interaction, computer-supported cooperative work, computer-supported collaborative learning, information literacy.
Susan Gasson, PhD (University of Warwick). Associate Professor. The co-design of business and IT-systems, distributed cognition & knowledge management in boundary-spanning groups, human-centered design, social informatics, online learning communities, grounded theory.
Jane Greenberg, PhD (University of Pittsburgh) Alice B. Kroeger Professor. Metadata, ontological engineering, data science, knowledge organization, information retrieval
Peter Grillo, PhD (Temple University) Associate Department Head for Undergraduate Affairs, Information Science. Teaching Professor. Strategic applications of technology within organizations.
Gregory W. Hislop, PhD (Drexel University) Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs. Professor. Information technology for teaching and learning, online education, structure and organization of the information disciplines, computing education research, software evaluation and characterization.
Xiaohua Tony Hu, PhD (University of Regina, Canada). Professor. Data mining, text mining, Web searching and mining, information retrieval, bioinformatics and healthcare informatics.
Weimao Ke, PhD (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill). Associate Professor. Information retrieval (IR), distributed systems, intelligent filtering/recommendation, information visualization, network science, complex systems, machine learning, text/data mining, multi-agent systems, the notion of information.
Xia Lin, PhD (University of Maryland). Professor. Digital libraries, information visualization, visual interface design, knowledge mapping, human-computer interaction, object-oriented programming, information retrieval, information architecture, information-seeking behaviors in digital environments.
Linda S. Marion, PhD (Drexel University). Teaching Professor. Formal and informal communication, bibliometric studies of scholarly communication, diffusion of information, information use in the social sciences, academic and public libraries, information science education.
Delia Neuman, PhD (The Ohio State University). Professor Emeritus. Learning in information-rich environments, instructional systems design, the use of media for learning, and school library media.
Danuta A. Nitecki, PhD (University of Maryland at College Park) Dean of Libraries. Professor. Library metrics and use in management, library as place, and academic library service models.
Jung-ran Park, PhD (University of Hawaii at Manoa). Associate Professor. Knowledge organization and representation, metadata, computer-mediated communication, cross-cultural communication, multilingual information access.
Alex Poole, PhD (University of North Carolina). Assistant Professor. Archives and records, digital humanities, digital curation, pedagogy, diversity and inclusivity in the LIS profession
Lori Richards, PhD (University of North Carolina). Assistant Professor. Archives, digital curation, electronic records management, information technology and digital collections, cloud computing and record keeping, management of information organizations.
Michelle L. Rogers, PhD (University of Wisconsin-Madison). Associate Professor. Human-computer interaction, healthcare informatics, human factors engineering, socio-technical systems, health services research, patient safety.
Aleksandra Sarcevic, PhD (Rutgers University). Assistant Professor. Computer-supported cooperative work, human-computer interaction, healthcare informatics, crisis informatics, social analysis of information and communications technology (ICT).
Il-Yeol Song, PhD (Louisiana State University) PhD in Information Studies Program Director. Professor. Conceptual modeling, ontology and patterns, data warehouse and OLAP, object-oriented analysis and design with UML, medical and bioinformatics data modeling & integration,.
Deborah Turner, PhD (University of Washington). Assistant Professor. Information behavior/interaction, management of information institutions, orality and information.
Kristene Unsworth, PhD (University of Washington). Assistant Professor. Information policy, ethics, government information.
Rosina Weber, PhD (Federal University of Santa Catarina). Associate Professor. Knowledge-based systems; case-based reasoning; textual case-based reasoning; computational intelligence; knowledge discovery; uncertainty, mainly targeting knowledge management goals in different domains, e.g., software engineering, military, finance, law, bioninformatics, and health sciences.
Christopher C. Yang, PhD ( University of Arizona, Tucson). Associate Professor. Web search and mining, security informatics, knowledge management, social media analytics, cross-lingual information retrieval, text summarization, multimedia retrieval, information visualization, information sharing and privacy, artificial intelligence, digital library, and electronic commerce.
Valerie Ann Yonker, PhD (Drexel University). Associate Teaching Professor. Human service information systems, systems analysis and design, measurement in software evaluation, knowledge engineering.

Emeritus Faculty

Michael E. Atwood, PhD (University of Colorado) Associate Dean for Research and for Undergraduate Education. Professor Emeritus. Human-computer interaction, computer-supported cooperative work, organizational memory.
Thomas A. Childers, PhD (Rutgers University). Professor Emeritus. Measurement, evaluation, and planning of information and library services, the effectiveness of information organizations.
David E. Fenske, PhD (University of Wisconsin-Madison). Dean Emeritus and Professor. Digital libraries, informatics, knowledge management and information technologies.
Katherine W. McCain, PhD (Drexel University). Professor Emeritus. Scholarly communication, information production and use in the research process, development and structure of scientific specialties, diffusion of innovation, bibliometrics, evaluation of information retrieval systems.
Carol Hansen Montgomery, PhD (Drexel University) Dean of Libraries Emeritus. Research Professor. Selection and use of electronic collections, evaluation of library and information systems, digital libraries, economics of libraries and digital collections.
Howard D. White, PhD (University of California at Berkeley). Professor Emeritus. Literature information systems, bibliometrics, research methods, collection development, online searching.
Susan Wiedenbeck, PhD (University of Pittsburgh). Professor Emeritus. Human-computer interaction, end-user programming/end-user development, empirical studies of programmers, interface design and evaluation.
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