US News Best Online Programs Grad Education 2023This PhD can be completed either in-person or entirely online. This degree is housed in the School of Information Science & Learning Technologies (SISLT).


As a doctoral student in the School of Information Science & Learning Technologies, you can follow interdisciplinary paths. Approaches to inquiry include technical, cognitive, epistemological, cultural, political, and economic aspects of informing and learning. Interest areas include:

  • Engineering education
  • Educational gaming and simulation
  • Information organization, access, and dissemination
  • Information seeking and use
  • Interactive learning environments including VR, embodied and augmented learning
  • Learner-centered design, interface design, instructional design
  • Libraries, archives, museums, and other cultural heritage institutions
  • Reading, gaming, and other immersive experiences
  • User eXperience (UX) and Human computer interaction (HCI)

The completion of the program will prepare you for career tracks in higher education, public policy, public and private research in various fields including but not limited to interaction design, instructional design, library and information science.

Doctoral students are required to complete a minimum of 9 credits of ISLT Doctoral seminars where they will become fluent in current research in our field and develop writing skills. These seminars are face to face and online offerings of 3 credits each. Click here for the rotation of doctoral seminar topics.

Reference the PhD Handbook for complete requirements for doctoral program.

Brief description of SISLT courses.

Forms & Downloads

See all SISLT PhD forms

Fast Facts



Admission Application Deadlines for Fall Semester

  • December 1st – Priority Admission
  • February 15th – Regular Admission

Note: Prior to Program action on your application, you are free to enroll as a non-degree-seeking (i.e., post-baccalaureate) graduate student. Please note that only nine credit hours of course work taken as a non-degree-seeking student will be considered as meeting program requirements upon admission.

Admission Requirements

Applications are evaluated holistically. If you do not meet these requirements, you should provide evidence of exceptionality in one or more other categories. Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) scores (use school code 6875) are the primary recommended way to provide additional evidence of exceptionality.

International Applicants

Our PhD requires a TOEFL score of 100 or a Duolingo score of 130 for all international applicants from countries not listed under Exemptions and Waivers, regardless of prior study in Anglophone institutions or countries (including in the U.S.).

GPA Minimum Requirement

  • Graduate GPA: at least 3.5

How to Apply

  1. Apply to the PhD Program in ISLT through the MU Graduate School.

    If you are an international student, please read the international student admission requirements.

  2. Submit the following supplemental materials by uploading them to your online application:
    • Statement of purpose
      Prospective students are required to submit four written essays of 500 words each: a Research Statement, a Personal Statement, a Statement of Interdisciplinary Philosophy, and a Statement of Collegiality and Engagement. These essays will be a major source of information for the faculty as they consider your application.

      • Research Statement
        Describe your research interests. Tell us your specific research goals and questions and how they might be achieved in SISLT. In addition, tell us how you have prepared (or plan to prepare) yourself to investigate your research questions, such as building skill sets or research experiences that are helpful for your research. In discussing these, give us one or two examples of a research project you want to conduct, as well as the names of faculty members with whom you want to work. Describe the reasons you want to work with those faculty members based on their research areas. Finally, what are your professional intentions and career goals?
      • Personal Statement
        Describe your previous academic and/or professional experiences and how these experiences have prepared you for doctoral studies. What are your intellectual beliefs? What are your personal values and ethical principles, and will they serve you as a doctoral student? Describe what drew you to the field of information science or learning technologies. What are your passions, values, and personal experiences that will support you to become a researcher and/or educator in this field?
      • Interdisciplinary Philosophy
        Reflect on the interdisciplinary nature of Information Science & Learning Technologies and their intersection with other fields such as computer science, sociology, psychology, and library science. How do you envision integrating diverse perspectives into your research?
      • Collegiality and Engagement
        Learning to become a researcher requires more than taking a few classes and writing a dissertation. You will be expected to engage with other students outside of the classroom, and future colleagues through work with scholarly associations. Explain your commitment to becoming a collegial and engaged member of our community of learners.
    • Curriculum vitae or resume
    • Three letters of reference sent on the references’ letterhead
    • Optional: Any other materials you wish to include to support your application (e.g., papers you have published, technical reports you have written or any other supportive materials).
  3. Review the application checklist to ensure you submit a complete application.
  4. Check your application status.

Important! Your application is not considered complete and subject to review until both the Graduate School has received ALL of your application materials.


Applicants that meet the minimum requirements will have an interview with SISLT faculty. The SISLT Student Services Office will set up the interview.

Admission Decisions

Decisions on admission will be based on due consideration of all information presented.

Timeline of review and admissions decisions following the application deadline:

  • Within one week, the SISLT Student Services Office will make complete files available to SISLT iSchool doctoral faculty for review.
  • Within three weeks, the doctoral faculty will schedule and complete an interview with each qualified candidate.
  • Within five weeks, the doctoral faculty will meet to present and discuss their recommendations. The doctoral faculty will then vote on each candidate. At this meeting, applicants who are accepted will be assigned an initial adviser based on compatible interests and current advising responsibilities of doctoral faculty. Decisions regarding financial assistance, with the exception of some named assistantships, will not be made at this meeting.
  • Within seven weeks, applicants will find out via letter whether they are accepted.


Contact the SISLT Student Services Office, we’re happy to assist you with any questions.

Amy Adam

Program Manager IStudent Support Services

Breanne Meyer

Student Support Specialist II

303 Townsend Hall
Columbia, MO 65211
Office: (573) 882-4546
Toll-free: (877) 747-5868
Fax: (573) 884-0122

Or the Director of Graduate Studies at the SISLT iSchool – Heather Moulaison Sandy (