PhD in Information Science Courses

PhD in Information Science students are required to complete 1 general course, 2 research methods courses, 2 of 3 foundations courses, 3 specialization courses (such as data science courses, human computer interaction courses, and information science courses), 1 seminar credit for the PhD Process and Practice (PPP) and 2 seminar credits for two selected Special Topics Seminars (each seminar is 1.0 credit). The student should also produce an original piece of research (thesis in information studies) as partial fulfillment for earning the doctorate.

Please visit Drexel's Graduate Catalog for PhD in Information Science course requirements and course descriptions. To find out when courses are offered, please visit Drexel's Term Master Schedule.

The mandatory courses include:

Required General Courses

  • INFO 800 Science of Science

Required Research Methods Courses

  • INFO813 Quantitative Research Methods
  • INFO816 Qualitative Research Methods

Required Foundations Courses

Students must take 2 of the 3 courses:

  • INFO821 Foundations in Information Science (IS)
  • INFO823 Foundations in Human-Centered Computing (HCC)
  • INFO825 Foundations in Data Science (DS)

Note that students who are admitted with demonstrated evidence of a mandatory course can petition to place out of the course and can take an addition elective.

As a specialization, PhD students select any three additional courses from the pre-approved list of graduate courses. Courses can be selected from any of the foundations areas. A student can take other graduate courses or courses outside the department/college with the approval of the PhD Program Director. The current list of pre-approved courses includes the following:

Information Science Courses

  • INFO 517 Principles of Cybersecurity
  • INFO 622 Content Representation
  • INFO 624 Information Retrieval Systems
  • INFO 633 Information Visualization
  • INFO 648 Healthcare Informatics
  • INFO 657 Digital Library Technologies
  • INFO 662 Metadata and Resource Description
  • INFO 679 Information Ethics
  • INFO 732 Planning and Evaluation in Healthcare Informatics.
  • INFO 725 Information Policy
  • INFO 750 Archival Access Systems
  • INFO 752 Introduction to Digital Curation
  • INFO 756 Digital Preservation

Human-Centered Computing Courses

  • INFO 608 Human Computer Interaction
  • INFO 610 Analysis of Interactive System
  • INFO 611 Design of Interactive Systems
  • INFO 616 Social and Collaborative Computing
  • CS 530 Developing User Interfaces
  • CS 630 Cognitive Systems
  • CS 631 HCI: Computing off the Desktop

Data Science Courses

  • CS 521 Data Structures and Algorithm
  • CS 613 Machine Learning
  • INFO 607 Applied Database Technology
  • INFO 612 Knowledge-Based Systems
  • INFO 633 Information Visualization
  • INFO 634 Data Mining
  • INFO 624 Informational Retrieval
  • INFO 629 Concepts in Artificial Intelligence

Comprehensive Exam

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 areas in which the student intends to perform research.

By the time of the comprehensive exam, the student should submit a problem statement and original review of literature relevant to the problem area under investigation. The examination itself consists of two parts, written and oral, and both parts must be passed to enter candidacy.

Dissertation Proposal

The student will present and defend a dissertation proposal to the dissertation committee’s satisfaction.


The dissertation represents original research in partial fulfillment for earning the doctorate, the student must defend the dissertation to the satisfaction of their dissertation committee.