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Gwendolyn Prellwitz (staff)'s picture

Webinar: Is a PhD in LIS Right for You?

Tuesday, April 17, 2012
12:00 pm to 1:00 pm, US/Central

This webinar will feature current doctoral students and candidates addressing Frequently Asked Questions that will help you assess whether or not a PhD in LIS is right for you, right now. This webinar is free but space is limited to the first 80 individuals that request login instructions from ALA's Office for Diversity, please email diversity@ala.org if you are interested in attending this webinar.  The webinar will be recorded and a copy of the recording will be made available shortly after the live session.

Reina Williams28 (non-member)'s picture


Some of the presenters or panelists discussed how pursuing the PhD changed their lives. I would like to know how individuals with families and full-time jobs were able to find a balance. Also, how long did it take them to complete the program?

Also, did you pursue the PhD with the expectations you would be teaching future librarians or become an administrator at an academic institution?

Thank you,


Reina Williams, Library Faculty

Wilbur Wright College Library

Sarah P. Dahlen's picture

Hi Reina,

When I  began my PhD program, I was not married and had no children, so I can't speak to that aspect of your question from my own experience. However, some of my classmates moved their entire families to Illinois so they could pursue this PhD program. It's a conversation you need to have with your partner and kids. Also, speak to the admissions counselors and check to see what kinds of opportunities might be available to your partner in terms of jobs, etc., and also educational opportunities for your children. 

It took me 5 years to complete my program. I was scheduled for 4, but my mother became very ill my 4th year so I did not finish my dissertation that year as planned. 

I completed my PhD with the expectation that I would be teaching future librarians. I did not (and still do not!) intend to become an administrator. 

Hope that helps!

Sarah Park Dahlen, PhD Assistant Professor of LIS St. Catherine University http://sarahpark.com spark@stkate.edu