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All applicants for admission to the doctoral program must hold a master's degree from an ALA-accredited program in library and information science or a master's degree from a recognized institution in a related area.
Applicants are expected to submit a completed application file that includes the following:
- Completed online application
- Non-refundable application fee of $65
- Comprehensive and updated curriculum vitae
- Statement of purpose (1,500-2,000 words)
- Writing sample of prior research work is strongly recommended (not to exceed 20 pages)
- Official transcript(s) of all academic work
- Three professional and/or academic references
- Current results of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) - The Simmons GRE code is 3761, and the Area of Interest code for Library Science is 4701
- Current (within the past 2 years) results of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), if English is not the native language of the applicant
Detailed guidelines for preparing and submitting these materials are included in the online application form.
After all admissions material has been received, exceptional candidates will be selected for interviews with the Committee on Doctoral Studies and/or program faculty and staff. Committee reflections on the interview will be added to the application file. Expenses related to the interview are the responsibility of the candidate. It is preferred that the interview be conducted at Simmons University, but SLIS is prepared to be flexible. For further information on the interview process please see the application form. Admissions decisions are based on a composite of all documentation in the application file.
Completed applications must be received no later than February 1.
Simmons welcomes applications from international students. Faculty, alumni, and students exemplify global involvement in our profession, and are active participants in associations such as IFLA, the International Federation of Library Associations.
Our alumni populate all continents; our students hail from many countries: Armenia, Romania, and Sri Lanka, to name a few. Of special note is our Vietnamese initiative: students from this program have become the first professional librarians in Vietnam. In the summer of 2004, we offered an institute to train professionals from various U.S. embassies around the world.
English Language Proficiency
The faculty requires that all prospective students for whom English is not the first language achieve a satisfactory score on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). A minimum of 6.5 in each section is required for the IELTS test. The minimum TOEFL score is 220 (computer-based), 557-560 (paper-based), or 83 (internet-based). No exemptions will be considered. The SLIS institutional code is 3761; the departmental code is 90.
Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)
Contact your nearest English language testing center or:
TOEFL(R) Educational Testing Service
P.O. Box 6151
Princeton, NJ 08541-6151 USA
Applicants living in the Boston area should contact:
TOEFL(R) Test Center
27-43 Wormwood Street
Boston, MA 02210 USA
International English Language Testing System (IELTS)
Contact your nearest English language testing center or:
Find your nearest testing center and upcoming test dates on the IELTS website. Applicants living in the Boston area should contact:
Visa Requirements and Full-Time Academic Status
Due to immigration stipulations, international students requiring a student visa to study in the U.S. must be enrolled full-time in an academic program. Additionally, if you are currently in the U.S. and have any visa other than an F-1, you must check with the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services regarding procedures for changing your visa status.
An interview with a SLIS representative is required for international applicants whose cumulative GPA is less than the equivalent of a US 3.0, for all dual degree applicants, as well as students applying to the doctoral program.
International applicants to the master's degree program are requested to apply for the term commencing in September only (exceptions can be made in special cases, please contact the Admission Office for more information); the application deadline is March 1, or February 1 for those wanting priority consideration for merit aid awards. The deadline for doctoral applications is January 15. All materials must be received by the posted deadline. An I-20 will be issued if admitted and the Declaration of Finances (see below) has been submitted. Please allow ample time for the pace of international postal services, obtaining visa documents, arrival in the U.S., and transitioning to a new environment.
Application materials may be submitted to the following address. The Simmons mailing address is the same for the entire University. Please specify in the first line of the address whether you are applying for the master's or doctoral program.
SLIS Office of Admission
300 The Fenway
Boston, MA 02115-5898
Required Academic Records
In the U.S., academic records or mark sheets are called "transcripts" (this is the term used throughout this Web site). All applicants who have studied abroad must submit official (signed in original ink and stamped with a seal) academic records for study completed at all universities (including schools where no degree or certificate was earned by the student). English translations and U.S. equivalencies of all transcripts are required. Please submit your transcript(s) to an organization that is a member of the National Association of Credential Evaluation Services (NACES) such as WES or SpanTran. Notarized translations are not acceptable. Photocopies or facsimiles are not acceptable.
A "college" abroad usually means a secondary institution whereas in the U.S., a college is an institution providing higher education. A college can be part of a larger university or represent a singular institution such as Simmons University. Academic records from overseas colleges, which are actually secondary schools (high schools in the U.S.), are not required as part of the application process. Courses taken at the secondary level do not fulfill the prerequisite requirements for application and admission to a graduate program. A baccalaureate in the U.S. is a first university degree. Many overseas systems award baccalaureates which represent the completion of secondary education or a year beyond.
Required Standardized Test Results
All applicants must submit official GRE (Graduate Record Exam) scores, taken within the past five years. All doctoral students regardless of GPA must submit official GRE scores. There is no required minimum score. Copies of student score reports are not acceptable. The Simmons GRE code is 3761 (you must also choose either Library Science 4701 or Archival Science 4702). Further information about this exam can be obtained by contacting:
GRE, Educational Testing Service
P.O. Box 6000
Princeton, New Jersey 08541-6000
Applications from international students will be considered only after Simmons University has been notified directly by the appropriate testing service that the candidates have been certified as fully-proficient in English. The achievement of a satisfactory score on an English language proficiency test is not, in itself, a guarantee of admission, as the credential file is considered as a whole. The School does accept testimonials as a means of establishing English proficiency.
Applications cannot be reviewed without the receipt of these test scores. It is very important that applicants register for these exams well in advance of applying for admission.
Required Financial Documentation
You are not required to submit financial documentation before you are considered for admission to the program. Once you are admitted to the program, we will send you a Declaration of Finances form. We cannot send registration information to you, nor issue the I-20 student visa application, until you have sent us the Declaration of Finances form indicating the source of funds you will use to meet your living and tuition expenses.
Please arrange with your bank, sponsor, and/or government to send an official statement indicating that you have sufficient funds in a bank for these educational expenses and/or that your tuition and expenses will be paid by your sponsor(s) or government. Please email or mail the documents, with signatures, to the address below. We ask that you apply to the program only if you are reasonably sure you will be able to meet the financial obligations.
Office of Admission
300 The Fenway
Boston, MA 02115-5898
All documents must be signed in original ink, written in English, and funds must be shown in U.S. dollars ($). Certain countries limit the amount of money which may be sent abroad. Thus, it is very important for the applicant to inquire about the regulations in the home country concerning transfer of funds. This information is required in order to process an I-20 to obtain an F-1 student visa.
International students are eligible for merit based scholarships which are awarded to the top 20-25% of new students entering in the fall (September) and spring (January) semesters. International students may also apply for the Dean's Fellowships which are our most prestigious awards. International students are not eligible for need-based grants or federal loans.
There is minimal funding available for doctoral students.
International students with student visas may be able to work in the libraries of Simmons University, but may not count these earnings as income to pay for tuition and expenses. Students with a student visa may not work off campus.
For each academic semester, students receive grades for each subject (course) taken. The first (fall) semester generally begins in early September and ends in mid December. The second (spring) semester generally begins at the end of January and ends in mid May. A third term (summer) is generally held from June to August.
*Only Master's students are eligible for Scholarships, and U.S. citizens or permanent residents are eligible for federal loans and most private loans. Students who are not U.S. citizens or permanent residents may qualify for some private loans (contact Student Financial Services for more information).
Tuition and fees at Simmons are updated annually each spring. They are assessed each semester based on the number of credits enrolled, the level of degree, and the particular program of study.
We believe that your exceptional academic preparation and hard work should be rewarded.
All students taking 9 or more credits are required by Massachusetts State law to enroll in the Student Health Insurance Plan or be covered by a health insurance plan with comparable coverage.
Questions? Contact us via email or at 617-521-2868. We're happy to schedule visits and campus tours.