Why Get a Ph.D. in Library Science

A Ph.D. in library science opens the door to a multitude of opportunities within the library and information science field. The good news is that library science professionals can pursue an online Ph.D. education while continuing to work in their full-time jobs.

Education Requirements

Applicants to a doctorate in library science program must have undergraduate and graduate coursework demonstrating a mastery of topics such as how to organize and retrieve information and communicate it to others. Candidates for admission must also know how to design, evaluate and manage information systems, and they must be skilled in computer technology and research methods. Competition for admission into such a Ph.D. program is fierce, so those who have experience working in library science will have an advantage.

It may be possible to be admitted into a Ph.D. in library science program even if all the undergraduate course work has not been completed, as long as the candidate agrees to take these classes and understands that this will add to the 36 required hours for the Ph.D.

Standardized tests results will be reviewed as well as all previous academic work and related work experience. A personal interview is required and some schools will require an essay outlining the candidate’s research skills and experience.

There are a number of online Ph.D. education programs for those who want to pursue an advanced degree in library science. Such programs are not as competitive since there are more student positions available. Doctoral candidates have the flexibility of attending online classes while maintaining full-time employment. Online programs help students develop a research portfolio that will aid them in advancing in the library science field.

What You Can Do with a Ph.D. in Library Science

Those who have a Ph.D. in library science are in demand in the research-and-development departments of major companies. For example, Microsoft hires people with doctorates to work in its information management department. Major libraries, like the Library of Congress, or museums like the Smithsonian Institution are all looking for those with doctorates. Universities generally require their librarians and information specialists to have a Ph.D.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), those with degrees in library science will also find jobs in other fields such as computer systems and information managers or researchers for various companies.

Some job titles to search for that are looking for those with advanced degrees in library science include:

  • Curators
  • Digital reference librarians
  • Learning coordinators
  • Archivists
  • Documentation specialists

What to Consider if You Pursue a Ph.D. in Library Science

The BLS projects job growth for those with a master or doctorate in library science to be about 7 percent between 2010 and 2020, which is slower than average. Growth in the field is expected to be faster in a few years as the population grows, which will create a greater need. Many librarians are expected to retire, which will also increase the job market. Librarians earn a median salary of $54,500 per year, though the pay could be much higher for those with a doctorate.

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