Admission to a graduate program at UCLA requires that applicants hold a bachelor’s degree from a university-level institution, and, in addition, have at the minimum achieved a “B” (3.0 grade point average) or its equivalent in the last 60 semester-units or last 90 quarter-units of undergraduate work. See the UCLA Graduate Division’s Criteria for Admission for full details. Applicants not meeting the required grade point average of 3.0 (“B”) may be recommended to the Graduate Division for provisional admission in exceptional cases, if GRE scores, letters of recommendation, work experience, or other factors indicate unusual promise.

Applicants to the Ph.D. program in Information Studies may enter with the M.L.S. or M.L.I.S. degree, other advanced degree, or directly out of a bachelor’s degree program. If the prior graduate degree does not include coursework equivalent to the core identified for the M.L.I.S. program, the applicant must complete the M.L.I.S. core after admission to the Ph.D. program.


Application for admission to the Ph.D. program in Information Studies must be made in compliance with procedures established by the UCLA Graduate Division. Applicants can review the application procedures and prepare an online application by accessing Admissions – Steps for Applying. Statement of purpose, letters of recommendation résumés/CVs, and writing samples must be submitted online. If necessary, forms for ordering official transcripts are available from the Supplementary Materials page on the same site. The name of the Ph.D. program is Information Studies, and the degree code for the doctoral program is 045A.

Application Materials: Checklist

The UCLA Graduate Division accepts only online applications.

  • All of the following items must be uploaded to the appropriate area of the online application:
    • Statement of purpose
    • Résumé or CV
    • Evidence of research and writing. This could be published work, a master’s thesis, or two research papers written in English.
    • Three letters of recommendation. You must enter the names and other information about your recommenders in the online application.
    • Fellowship application. Review the criteria for each fellowship, and if you are qualified, complete the appropriate section(s).
  • One copy of official transcript from all academic institutions you have attended beyond secondary school. Transcripts must be sent to the Department directly from the institutions or collected in sealed envelopes. Transcripts must be sent to Student Affairs Office, Information Studies, 207 GSE&IS Bldg., Box 951520, UCLA, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1520.
  • Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores. You are responsible for arranging to take this examination and having official scores sent to the Department. Scores from tests taken more than five years ago are not acceptable [University code: 4837, Department code: 4701].
  • In addition, International applicants must submit the following:
    • Test Of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or International English Language Testing System (IELTS) scores. These tests are required of all applicants whose native language is not English. You are responsible for arranging to take these examinations and having official scores sent to the Department.
  • Evidence of completion of Departmental entrance requirement (when complete). It is your responsibility to make sure this entrance requirement is met.

Application Materials: Details


Applicants must submit one copy of official transcripts from all academic institutions attended beyond secondary school.

Statement of Purpose

Write the statement of purpose carefully. The statement should describe one or more proposed areas of specialization, reasons for interest in those areas, and qualifications for pursuing them. Suggesting topics for your own future research is a welcome sign; identification of specific courses is usually not helpful, unless such courses relate to research goals. The statement of purpose is also used to determine whether the specializations provided by the doctoral program are appropriate to the applicant’s needs. The applicant is encouraged to identify Information Studies faculty whose areas of research are of special interest.

Letters of Recommendation

Three letters of recommendation are required. Of the three letters, submit at least one, and preferably two, from individuals who hold the Ph.D., have conducted research, and have published in library and information science or a related field. In most cases, letters from faculty, rather than supervisors or co-workers, provide the most useful assessment of your intellectual abilities and potential for research and writing.

GRE Scores

Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores from within the last five years are required of all applicants. There is no minimum score for the GRE, but high scores are regarded favorably. Admitted students typically score above the 75th percentile in all areas: Verbal, Quantitative, and Analytical. Be sure to schedule the examination and to have the scores forwarded to the Department by the application deadline. Computerized testing, now available at numerous locations throughout the U.S., is offered year-round, three days a week—see GRE: Graduate Record Examinations Information [University code: 4837; Department code: 4701].


Applicants whose native language is not English must certify their proficiency in English by submitting scores from the Test Of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) [University code: 4837; Department code: 90, or from the International English Language Testing System (IELTS).

See UCLA Graduate Division’s information on English Requirements.

Only those applicants who hold a bachelor’s or higher degree from a university in a country where the official language is English and in which English is the spoken tongue and the medium of instruction, or who have completed at least two years of full-time study at such an institution, will be exempted from submitting TOEFL/IELTS scores.


A standard résumé or vita should also be included.

Evidence of Research and Writing

Evidence of research and writing is also required, in the form of published work, a master’s thesis, or two other research papers such as conference presentations or course papers written solely by the applicant. Submission must be in English.

Departmental Entrance Requirements

The Department has identified one entrance requirement, which should be completed by the time the student begins the Ph.D. program: a college-level course in statistics (3 semester-units or 4 quarter-units) taken within the last five years, with a minimum grade of “C.” There is no specific programming requirement for doctoral students. Applicants should have general knowledge of and basic experience in the use of computers (e.g., for word processing, statistics, online searches, spreadsheets, graphics, and web browsing). However, the Department requires that admitted students attend a MIT Lab Orientation Session to familiarize themselves with Department-, School-, and University-wide platforms and applications.

Professional Contributions

Favorable consideration may be given to applicants who have made distinguished contributions to the profession while working as a practicing professional, for instance in publications and/or work with professional societies.


Applicants will be contacted if the admissions committee wishes to arrange an interview. The committee seeks evidence of an appreciation of research and knowledge of potential research topics. The committee will be particularly interested in the applicant’s commitment to a career in information studies education and research, signs of originality and inquisitiveness, and good communication skills.


The Department enrolls approximately eight Ph.D. students each fall quarter.