Department of History College of Arts and Sciences
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Frequently Asked Questions for Future Graduate Students


What graduate degree can I get in History?

How do I become a graduate History major?
What GPA must I have to enter your program?
What entrance examination requirement do you have?
What kind of writing sample do you require for admission?
Are there additional requirements for the admission of foreign students?
What foreign-language requirements will I have to meet?
How will I get advised as a History major?
Will I have to meet with my advisor every semester?
How many graduate History classes will I have to take to get a degree?
How many graduate History classes may I take?
I don’t seek a graduate degree in History. May I take History courses anyway?
I don’t qualify for admission to your graduate program at the moment. May I take History courses anyway?
If I have earned graduate credits elsewhere, will I get credit for them if I transfer to your school?
I can’t take classes on your campus. Do you offer any alternatives?
May I take Regents Online Degree Programs (RODP) courses?
What are your faculty members like?
What student organizations do you have?
What financial aid is available to me?
If I do not choose to live elsewhere, does the university have housing for me and my family?
I have lots of questions that aren’t in this FAQ. Where can I find answers?

What graduate degree can I get in History?

At the graduate level we offer both the Master of Arts and the Doctor of Philosophy degrees.

How do I become a graduate History major?

If you are admitted to our graduate program, you are by definition majoring in History. If you want to concentrate in Egyptology, be aware, however, that acceptance into the department does not necessarily mean acceptance into the Egyptology program. Egyptology faculty must approve any new student wanting to take Egyptology as a concentration.

What GPA must I have to enter your program?

For M.A. admission, we require a minimum GPA of 3.0 on a 4-point scale in all undergraduate history courses, with a minimum of 18 semester hours in undergraduate history.

For Ph.D. admission, we require a minimum GPA of 3.25 on a 4-point scale, with a minimum of 24 graduate hours of history from an accredited institution.

What entrance examination requirement do you have?

For M.A. admission, you must submit scores from the Graduate Record Examination or the Miller Analogies Test. We urge you to take the Graduate Record Examination, especially if you plan to work toward the Ph.D. degree.

For Ph.D. admission, you must submit scores from the Graduate Record Examination.

All test scores must be sent directly from the testing agency to Graduate Admissions, The University of Memphis, 100 Wilder Tower, Memphis, TN 38152. Test scores older than five years are generally not acceptable. We do not accept scores on MAT exams taken in less than 2-month intervals.

What kind of writing sample do you require for admission?

For M.A. admission, you must submit a writing sample, such as a paper from a course, that demonstrates your ability to write and think about history. In addition, you must submit a statement of purpose of at least 500 words, in which you should discuss your reasons for wanting to be in the history M.A. program, your major field(s) of interest, and anything else you can tell us about your interests in history.

For Ph.D. admission, you must submit 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. In addition, you must submit 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.

Are there additional requirements for the admission of foreign students?

Yes. The Graduate School has several additional requirements for the admission of foreign students. They involve evaluation of courses taken at foreign institutions, the Test of English as a Foreign Language, and, for those who are applying for an assistantship, the Test of Spoken English. These requirements are difficult to explain in a few words, so please refer to the section on Special Procedures for Admission of Foreign Students in the Guide for Graduate Students.

What foreign-language requirements will I have to meet?

Requirements differ considerably for a concentration in Egyptology and other fields. For most fields, no foreign language is required for the M.A., but the M.A. in Egyptology requires either German or French.

For the Ph.D. in most fields, you must demonstrate a reading proficiency in at least one non-English language as directly related to your dissertation field as possible, as determined by the dissertation director. This requirement is a minimum for all Ph.D. candidates — you must pass an examination in all languages (however many) that your Advisory Committee considers necessary for expertise in your primary area(s) of research. In most cases, students in U.S. history will need only one language, and usually it can be a language already studied. The Ph.D. in Egyptology requires both German and French, and students must take six credits of Middle Egyptian in the Art History Department or show they have successfully completed first-year Middle Egyptian elsewhere.

How will I get advised as a graduate History major?

The Graduate Coordinator advises both M.A. and Ph.D. students. The Graduate Coordinator is Dr James M. Blythe, 141 Mitchell Hall, 901.678.3381. Telephone or e-mail to make an appointment.

Will I have to meet with my advisor every semester?

Not every semester. But you must do so before you register for the first time, and at least once a year afterwards. This is necessary for you to obtain advising clearance from the Graduate Coordinator in order to register.

How many graduate History classes will I have to take to get a degree?

For the M.A. it depends on whether or not you write a thesis. You must have a total of 33 credits if you decide not to write a thesis, and 30 credits if you write a thesis (24 credits of coursework, and 6 credits of thesis).

For the Ph.D. you must have a minimum of 60 credits of regular graduate course work beyond the bachelor’s degree, excluding dissertation credit (more than 60 hours may be required in some fields). You must have a minimum of 12 credits for the dissertation. You must distribute your credits over three fields. The minimums for these fields are difficult to explain in a few words, so please go to the section onPh.D. fields in the Guide for Graduate Students.

How many graduate History classes may I take?

You may take as many History classes as you wish, but to receive a degree you must have some variety in the courses you take.

For the M.A. program, you may not count more than 21 credits in a particular field toward the total of 30 or 33 hours required for the degree.

For the Ph.D. program, at least one of your minor fields (minimum of 12 credits) must be in a geographical area different from that of your major field.

I don’t seek a graduate degree in History. May I take History courses anyway?

Yes, if you have been admitted to the Graduate School you may take any graduate course for which you meet the pre-requisites. We often have students from other fields taking our courses.

I don’t qualify for admission to your graduate program at the moment. May I take History courses anyway?

Students who do not meet all requirements of the program or applicants who apply too late for admission for a given semester are eligible to take courses as non-degree students. Up to 12 credits of this work may later be counted toward a graduate degree upon admission to a degree program.

If I have earned graduate credits elsewhere, will I get credit for them if I transfer to your school?

Yes, under certain conditions.

For the M.A. degree, you may transfer a maximum of 12 semester hours of credit from another college or university, provided these credits are no more than 6 years old when you receive the M.A. degree and there can be no transfer of credit for grades less than B.

For the Ph.D. degree, with the approval of your Advisory Committee you may count a maximum of 30 hours from your M.A. degree. (There are certain conditions for these credits for the Ph.D. that are difficult to state in a few words. Please refer to thesection on transferring credits in the Guide for Graduate Students for a complete answer.)

I can’t take classes on your campus. Do you offer any alternatives?

Yes, but the choices are somewhat limited. The online Master of Arts degree in history will enable students to complete all requirements for the degree online, but not all courses and not all fields of study listed in our graduate catalog are available online. Some of our courses that enroll both undergraduate and graduate students are taught at satellite campuses, usually during evening and weekend hours. But M.A. students are allowed only 6 credits (2 courses) of such courses (online M.A. students may take 9 credits at present) and Ph.D. students may take only 6 credits more.

You may take a course through Study Abroad. For many years, Dr Dennis Laumann has taken a group of students to Ghana in the Ghana Study Abroad Program, which gives academic credit as well as cultural experience. From time to time, other courses are arranged, such as the one that Dr Laumann and Dr Daniel Unowsky conducted during the summer of 2009 in Germany, Poland, and the Czech Republic in connection with astudy of genocide, Dr Laumann’s study/tour of Brazil and Dr Peter Brand and Dr Suzanne Onstine’s study/tour of Egypt in the summer of 2010.

May I take Regents Online Degree Programs (RODP) courses?

No. Regents courses are designed primarily for undergraduate students. There are a few graduate-level programs but there is not one in History.

What are your faculty members like?

The Department of History at The University of Memphis can give you good training. We have more than two dozen well-trained scholars with expertise in most time periods, regions of the world, and subject matter. All our full-time faculty members hold a doctorate degree. If you take courses that enroll both undergraduate and graduate students, they may be taught by teaching assistants or part-time instructors. All of our teaching assistants and part-time instructors are required to hold a master’s degree; many of our part-time instructors hold a doctorate degree. Read about our faculty.

What student organizations do you have?

You will be associated with fine students. Both undergraduates and graduate students may join the Epsilon Nu chapter of Phi Alpha Theta, the national honorary organization for history. Graduate students must have a GPA of at least 3.5 on all courses completed for graduate credit and no failing grade on any course. Anyone is welcome to attend its pizza lunches, which are held several times a semester to hear presentations on historical subjects. All graduate students in history may become members of the Graduate History Association, the Transcending Boundaries reading group, and the Graduate Association for African-American History. Graduate students in Egyptology may become members of the interdisciplinary Egyptology Graduate Student Association.

What financial aid is available to me?

The department has a limited number of assistantships, divided into grading and teaching assistantships. M.A. students normally apply for grading assistantships and Ph.D. students for teaching assistantships. Normally, grading assistants assist a professor in a large lecture section, attend the professor’s lectures, grade examinations and papers, lead discussion sections, and consult with students. Teaching assistants normally grade for the first year that they have an assistantship and then teach one class the first semester of the second year. After that the normal assignment is to teach two sections of World Civilizations (History 1110 or 1120) or U.S. History (History 2010 or 2020) per semester. However, we are increasingly asking teaching assistants to grade after the first year, because we believe that doing so will leave much more time for their work.

At present grading assistantships pay $7300 per academic year, plus all tuition and fees; teaching assistantships pay $8600, plus tuition and fees. In addition, in the recent past we have able to offer an additional stipend which came out on average to approximately $1000 per assistant because some assistants are eligible for government financial aid (not a loan, but pay for work as a graduate assistant), and we can spread out our savings to other assistants.

In addition to assistantships, the department has several fellowships for Ph.D. students: the Ruth and Harry Woodbury Fellowship in Southern History, the Dr. William R. and Helen Lucille Gillaspie Scholarship in Latin American History, the Dr. Peggy Jemison Bodine Dissertation Fellowship, and the Belle McWilliams Dissertation Fellowship. The stipends vary from year to year because of changes in endowment earnings.

Students who are ABD may apply to the department’s Graduate Awards Committee for a Dissertation Research Grant for funding for research and travel that is specifically related to completing the dissertation.

Annually, the department gives the Best Teaching Assistant Award and the Major L. Wilson Graduate Paper Prize for the best paper written in a departmental graduate course. Every two years, the department gives the Best Thesis and Best Dissertation Awards. The Graduate Awards Committee periodically gives the Best Prospectus Award. All of these carry small monetary awards.

Beyond the department, graduate students may qualify for financial aid from theGraduate School or the federal government.

If I do not choose to live elsewhere, does the university have housing for me and my family?

The university has 150 apartments for graduates and married students, located about a mile south of the main campus.

I have lots of questions that aren’t in this FAQ. Where can I find answers?

The links on our page for graduate students, especially the comprehensive Guide for Graduate Students, may be all you need. If you still have questions, send an e-mail message to Dr James Blythe, the Graduate Coordinator — he will be glad to help you.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

FAQ: All Future Students

FAQ: Future Undergraduate Students

FAQ: Future Graduate Students

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Last Updated: 3/11/14