Q. Do I have to take the GRE before applying?
Q. Do I have to submit the results of my TOEFL if English isn't my first language?
Q. Is a Master's degree required to apply?
A. Yes, with background in LIS or closely related field associated with your PhD topic. A research masters is preferred. If you do not have a research masters you need to be able to demonstrate equivalent research capability through, for example peer reviewed publications or other research experience.
Q. What is the first step?
A. Review the research areas of potential faculty supervisors. Select an individual with whom you might wish to work. Contact that person about the possibility of working together. Submit a brief proposal (500 words) for his or her consideration. Once you have been endorsed by a SJSU faculty member, the San José Gateway PhD program coordinator will determine whether to recommend that you continue with your application to QUT and will notify you about this decision.
Q. How do I apply to the PhD program?
A. See How to Apply.
Q. What are the PhD application due dates?
A. See How to Apply. For the 2014 cohort, the application due dates are as follows:
- March 21, 2014: Deadline for San José State University endorsement
- April 4, 2014: Deadline for application to Queensland University of Technology following San José State University endorsement
Q. What are your PhD admission requirements?
A. See Entry Requirements. These requirements are not strict. For example, your GPA can be just under 3.5, and GPA is different from country to country. If you can demonstrate potential you may still get in, so do apply. We look at the complete package; are you a dedicated student, have you done research in the past? Also, you do not have to have professional library experience prior to applying for the program; we have a variety of Master’s degree backgrounds that we have admitted.
Q: I'm Canadian and living in Canada. Do I need a visa to attend an Australian program?
A: No. Visas are only required if you travel to Australia. Students in the Gateway PhD program are not required to travel to Australia.
Q: As a Canadian living in Canada, would I be able to claim tuition and education credits on my income tax return?
A: Yes. For Canadian tax information for students studying at institutions outside Canada, see the Canada Revenue Agency's Student and Income Tax pamphlet. The allowable amounts vary from person to person depending on your province of residence, your full- or part-time status as student and any other individual circumstances falling under Canada Revenue Agency's guidelines. For more information, see the CRA's Students and Income Tax sheet. Canadian students in the Gateway PhD program may be able to qualify for full-time education credits. See the CRA's definitions for full- and part-time study as well as the interpretation bulletin for research students. Please note any official tax documentation must be signed by a QUT representative.
Q. What is the tuition cost for the PhD program? What is and is not included in the stated fee?
A. See Gateway Ph.D. Fees (check for current exchange rates). Fees can be paid on a semester-by-semester basis. The annual fee includes instruction and infrastructure. It does not include books, materials or travel/accommodation for the two short residencies each year. There is a separate application fee of AUS $55.
Q. Is PhD financial aid available?
A. No. There is no USA federal financial aid because this is an international program. Students self-fund or are sponsored by their employer. Students are eligible to receive a small amount of Queensland University of Technology research support funds. These funds are managed by your QUT supervisor, the amounts are set up in your Years 1 & 2, and the funds are aimed at PhD presentation of research at high-profile conferences, to cover costs of producing a survey.
Q. What is the actual class start date for the PhD program?
A. The start date for the 2013 cohort is August 5, 2013.
Q. Can any classes be transferred in?
A. No. Officially all of the credits count toward the successful completion and defense of the dissertation. There are no specific courses although San José State University has added expectations for seminars, colloquia, and collaborative research and publishing.
Q. Can the student take classes at other universities concurrently with the San José State University PhD program and have them count as part of their PhD work?
A. Students are able and occasionally encouraged to take courses elsewhere. However, course credit cannot be transferred into the program.
Q. Is the entire program online? Is there a residency requirement?
A. The program is mostly done online, with two weeks of required residency each year. There's no need to move or quit your job, you can do this on a part-time basis.
Q. How long will it take to earn my PhD degree?
A. You can complete the degree on your own timeline; anywhere from 4 - 8 years maximum (minimum 48 months, expected 72 months, maximum 96 months). Part-time students usually can expect 6 years to complete their work.
Q. How does your online PhD program work? Is the program very self-directed?
A. This PhD is research focused, with independent study under faculty supervision. Most of your work will be done in virtual learning environments, with lots of interaction with faculty supervisors and your peer PhD current students. You will have individual meetings with your SJSU/QUT Supervising team – their frequency and contact mode depend on you and your supervisors. There are monthly 2-hour meetings with SLIS faculty, QUT faculty and all doctoral students. In these meetings you share work, ask questions, do joint reading discussions, give feedback, engage and learn together on a regular basis. You will also have ad hoc exchanges via Blackboard IM (online instant messaging), email, etc. See a Gateway PhD functional overview for more information about the program structure on a yearly basis.
Q. What is the number of classes/credits for the PhD degree?
A. No classes are required. QUT assigns credits for work completed toward each of the program milestones. At present, the PhD degree has 288 total credits. (One year full-time is typically 96 credit points, 48 credit points per semester, 24 for part-time students.) No classes/class credits can be transferred in, although students can take classes elsewhere.
Q. How many students do you have in your PhD program?
A. Queensland University of technology has about 30 PhD students, with between 10-12 of them San José Gateway PhD students in various stages of progress. The San José Gateway PhD program adds a small cohort of about four students every year.
Q. What about potential PhD students whose 2nd language is English, any services offered to them?
A. This program is primarily set up for English-proficient students. QUT has some international student facilities for those who want to participate in this program such as help with language, grammar, etc. It will be a challenge to do online, but possible.
Q. What about evaluations and the final dissertation for the PhD?
A. The PhD program has the following review structure:
- At the end of four months (December) - formal review of student performance
- Each year - an annual review
- At the end of two years (in August) - a formal review. An independent panel will review a written report and observe a confirmation seminar in which the candidate will defend work to date and the plan for the dissertation. The proposal is typically 30–40 pages in length.
- The final dissertation - will be a maximum of 400 pages (100,000 words). The final seminar panel consists of four people: the Principal Supervisor as Chair; a QUT Information Systems School Representative; a Discipline Expert; and an External Representative (external from the QUT ISS School). Examination of the dissertation takes place after the final seminar once the student makes any changes requested by the panel. The external examination panel consists of two examiners, at least one must be international (not Australian).
Q. What PhD specialties do you have?
A. See PhD Faculty Specialties. Most students refine their focus for the first two years of the program. Some research areas of current students:
- Information sharing with virtual teams
- Information use and behaviors in social media, content creation
- Information practices in education
- Archival research and practice
Q. Why are you partnering with an Australian university for this PhD? Is this PhD recognized in the United States?
A. The California State University system does not offer PhD programs unless they partner with other programs that do. Therefore, we have partnered with Queensland University of Technology (QUT) in Australia to offer this PhD program. The PhD degree from Queensland University of Technology is internationally recognized and accepted. QUT was recently ranked as one of Australia's top 10 research institutions, and its program in Library and Information Studies received an impressive rating of 4 (out of 5) by the Australian Research Council, indicating that the program is "above world standard."
Q. How long have you been running this PhD program?
A. SLIS launched this innovative program in 2008. Our first student completed the PhD program in 2012 (see Diana Wakimoto).
Q. Where can I go for more information about the PhD program?
A. There are several places:
- Fill out the Information Request Form to contact Dr. Sandra Hirsh, the coordinator of the San José Gateway PhD program
- Listen to a recording of the San José Gateway PhD program open house held November 8, 2011.
Earning a PhD
Q. Is there ALA accreditation available for a PhD?
A. The American Library Association does not accredit PhD programs. There are no accreditation processes for PhD programs.
Q. What is a PhD good for?
A. It prepares individuals for research, faculty, and leadership positions in Library and Information Science (LIS). The importance of the PhD depends a lot on the environment you’re in. A PhD isn’t really a professional degree; it’s a research degree. It’s a sign of your overall intellectual ability and accomplishments, and thus it indicates your ability to do the kind of strategic thinking and planning that are required for management. Our current San José Gateway PhD students have a variety of goals for their use of a PhD:
- Career advancement – to broaden opportunities for career advancement. It is a door opener, giving you credibility and an opportunity to do a wide range of activities.
- Personal interest – as a passionate personal interest
- Instructor/faculty member – to enter an academic or university system
Q. Any advice for earning a doctorate?
A. It might be the biggest commitment you’ll ever make except for getting married and having children. Timing is key. It will take a big chunk out of your life, so you have to think of what else is going on in your life (e.g., family responsibilities, work commitments, etc.) Is now the right time to do your PhD? Talk to your partners / spouse, make contact with SLIS faculty, Sandra Hirsh (the program coordinator), and Queensland University of Technology supervisors, and ask them about their timing for earning their own PhDs. Don’t do it for the end result – the PhD. Only do it if you can love the process. Working on a PhD pushes you out of your comfort zone, but it can be fun! You need to enjoy creative thinking and writing, and you need to be able to do both independently, without weekly deadlines to keep you on target. Designing a research plan is a creative activity; it’s not like looking things up in a library. Writing a dissertation is writing a book-length, scientific document. If you don’t have a passion for research and for writing, you’ll hate the biggest and most interesting part of your doctoral study.
Q. Is there a place I can learn more about PhD programs in general?
A. The LISdocstudents list is an unmoderated email discussion list for doctoral students in Library and Information Studies, working at any institution. The purpose is to communicate with other doctoral students about shared issues, be they intellectual questions in the field, problems facing emerging academics on the path through graduate school and into academic careers, issues having to do with trends in higher ed and LIS as a discipline, or other topics that seem appropriate. Announcements are good too. Doctoral students in LIS are the main constituency of the list, but masters students, graduate students in other fields, and professors are invited to participate. To subscribe, go to http://libr.org/mailman/listinfo/lisdocstudents_libr.org