Department of History College of Arts and Sciences
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Guide for Graduate Students

Doctor of Philosophy in History

The program
Admission requirements
Nature of course offerings
Fields of study
Requirements and restrictions
Previously earned credits
Time limitation
Foreign language requirement
Comprehensive examination
Reading lists for Ph.D. comprehensive examination fields
Timetable for doctoral program
Forms and applications

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Ph.D. Program Admissions Requirements

In making our decisions on admission we consider multiple factors, including transcripts and GPA, the nature of your coursework, recommendations, your writing sample and statement, your GRE scores (particularly the GRE Verbal and Analytical Writing sections), and the compatibility of our program and faculty with your interests. We base admission decisions upon an evaluation of all the information we have about applicants. Thus, you are not guaranteed admission if you meet all the quantitative requirements below, and in some cases we may decide to admit someone who does not meet all the quantitative requirements based upon your credentials as a whole.

Items 1, 2, and 4 below must be send directly to Graduate Admissions, The University of Memphis, 100 Wilder Tower, Memphis, TN 38152. All college or university transcripts must come directly from the institutions and the GRE scores directly from the testing services.

1. A completed application form with a non-refundable $35.00 application fee [$60.00 for international students]. Since this may change, you should check with the Graduate School before applying.

2. Official transcripts from all the graduate and undergraduate institutions you have attended. It is not necessary to send transcripts from The University of Memphis, since these are already on file.

3. A minimum of 24 graduate hours in history with at least a 3.25 GPA (on a 4.0 scale) from an accredited institution. An M.A. in history is strongly recommended. We will also consider applicants who have an M.A. in a field other than history that is similar in content or methodology to history.

4. Graduate Record Examination (GRE) Verbal and Analytical Writing sections. You may contact the Testing Center, 112 John W. Brister Building, 901.678.2428, to obtain a registration packet for the GRE. To take the GRE on campus by computer, call the E.T.S. Computer-based Testing Center, 901.678.1457. The GRE is administered by the Educational Testing Service; the Institution Code for The University of Memphis is 1459. See http://www.memp for more information. Test scores older than five years are not acceptable to the Graduate School, although we may be able to request a waiver of this time-limit if you ask for it and we think it is unnecessary for you to retake the exam.

You should send items 5, 6, and 7 below to the Department of History, preferably by email attachment in docx, doc, rtf, or pdf format to our graduate secretary, Karen Jackett, at You should send paper documents to her at 219 Mitchell Hall, Memphis, TN 38152-3450.

5. A 750-1000 word “Statement of Purpose,” in which you should state your educational goals, anticipated fields of study, and general research interests. In this statement, we expect you to demonstrate familiarity with the Department of History’s program and faculty and to discuss explicitly how particular faculty might be helpful to you academically and especially the faculty member or members who would likely be the best choice as your primary advisor.

6. Three letters of recommendation evaluating your academic abilities and accomplishments. You are free to send additional recommendations if you wish, but we are primarily interested in recommendations from former or current professors of graduate level history courses you have taken, who can address your potential as a scholar. Letters of recommendation are acceptable in electronic form only if they come confidential, so they are acceptable only if they come directly from the professor, either signed and on department letterhead or from the professor’s college e-mail account.

7. A writing sample, preferably a M.A. thesis, or, if this is not available, a major seminar paper, that demonstrates your ability to write and think about history. If your M.A. is in a field other than history, you may send us a paper or thesis in that field. Please write your name and e-mail address at the top of the first page of your writing sample. This is the only way we will be able to get in touch with you if we want to follow up on any aspect of your application.

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Last Updated: 3/12/14