Ph.D. Program

 

PDF iconAcademic PHD Information Science Plan of Study

Please check the Manual of Rules and Regulations of the University of Iowa Graduate College for a complete description of the Ph.D. guidelines and requirements of the Graduate College. The requirements described here are in addition to the university-wide requirements for the Ph.D. degree described in the Graduate College Manual of Rules and Regulations, Section XII.

The Information Science subprogram Ph.D. requires a total of 72 semester hours beyond the bachelor’s degree, with 18 semester hours satisfying the Certificate in Informatics (Information Science).

The remaining 48 semester hours should be selected, in consultation with the student’s advisory, from disciplinary courses relevant to the student’s particular Information Science focus.

The Ph.D. also requires satisfactory performance on the comprehensive exam, and the production and formal defense of a dissertation that describes original research results. Students not already holding a University of Iowa M.S. degree may request that one be granted at the comprehensive exam. The M.S. degree is normally awarded upon successful completion of the comprehensive exam, but may also be awarded even if the student does not pass the exam, at the examination committee's discretion and dependent on the student having met the requirements for the M.S.

Every Ph.D. student must have a faculty advisor with an appointment in the Information Science program. Upon admission, each student is assigned a temporary academic advisor. During their first year in the program, it is expected that the student will choose a faculty member whose research interests align with their own to serve as academic and research advisor, and chair of the student’s thesis committee. The advisor / advisee relationship requires the consent of both parties and can be terminated by either. It is required that a student will complete a Plan of Study form (see appendix) in consultation with his/her advisor every semester, and submit the completed form to the IGPI office for approval. The Plan of Study form can also be downloaded from our website at: http://informatics.grad.uiowa.edu/information-science/curriculum.

Ph.D. Guidelines and Milestones

Qualifier

  • Complete, at latest, by fall of YR 2
  • Minimum committee of 3 to 5 professors, including the advisor
  • Format: Research or project paper with a presentation, turn in the written portion of the exam to your committee at least 2 weeks prior to oral exam– pass or fail

The student will conduct a small-scale research project and present this to the committee. As an example the research project could replicate work done in a paper of interest optionally with a few extensions. This milestone is designed to ensure that the student starts early in gaining research experience. It is also to ensure that the student has the potential to conduct doctoral level research. The student may retake the qualifier but needs to do so successfully by the next semester.

Comprehensive Exam

  • Complete, at latest, by fall of YR 3 (approximately), allowing flexibility to accommodate scheduling of specific course(s)
  • Format: A comprehensive review paper and a presentation
  • Committee: Minimum of 5 professors, of which at least two are affiliated with IGPI
  • Note: This examination is equivalent to the University’s requirement of a comprehensive exam.

The student will conduct a comprehensive review of the literature in the sub-area of interest. The review must convey sufficient knowledge of the sub-area’s breadth and depth. It must also include an outline of a few open research problems in the sub-area. The intent is to have this review document and the associated sub-area form the basis of the student’s continued doctoral research. The review document must be circulated to the committee at least 1 week (preferably 2 weeks) before the comprehensive exam date. On the exam date, the student is expected to make a presentation of the review to the committee.

Grading will be either pass or fail. The student may retake the exam, but needs to do so successfully by the following semester.

Students not already holding a University of Iowa M.S. degree may request that one be granted at the comprehensive exam. The M.S. degree is normally awarded upon successful completion of the comprehensive exam, but may also, at the examination committee's discretion, be awarded even if the student does not pass the exam.

Proposal Defense

  • Summer/Fall YR 4
  • Format: Written proposal and presentation
  • Committee: Minimum of five professors, of which at least two are affiliated with IGPI

The student will present a proposal to the committee a minimum of two weeks prior to the date of the proposal defense. Generally this will be in the form of two chapters: first a literature review, and second an outline of proposed research. The proposal presentation will emphasize an overview of the background research with most of the presentation time used to outline the planned research. This opportunity is designed so

that the committee and the student agree on the research required for completion of Ph.D.

Final Oral Defense

  • Format: Written thesis and presentation
  • Committee: Minimum of five professors, of which at least two are affiliated with IGPI

The student will present a complete thesis to the committee a minimum of two weeks prior to the date of the thesis defense. The student will motivate the research, present key findings and conclusions, and offer a critical inquiry of different facets of the research.

In addition to the formal examination process, students in the Ph.D. program are evaluated on a yearly basis to ensure satisfactory academic progress is being made. By September 15th, each student and his/her advisor are required to submit an evaluation assessment of the student’s progress, outlining past year accomplishments and plans for the current year, including Ph.D. milestones. The Advisory Board reviews these summaries and sends each student a letter summarizing his/her status in the program. Students failing to make satisfactory progress are expected to correct any deficiencies and move to the next milestone within one year; failure to do so will result in dismissal from the program.