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

Master of Arts in History

The program
Admission requirements
Nature of course offerings
Requirements and restrictions
Time limitation
Comprehensive examination
Statement of intent to graduate
Timetable for M.A. program
Forms and applications

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Admission Requirements for the M.A. Program

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 MAT or 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 their credentials as a whole.

Items 1, 2, and 4 below must be sent 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 or MAT 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 colleges or universities that 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 18 semester hours in undergraduate history with a minimum GPA of 3.0 on a 4-point scale in all undergraduate history courses. In special cases the Admissions Committee may make an exception, particularly in a case where a student with fewer than 18 credits in history courses has other non-history courses sufficiently similar in content or methodology to history courses, or when exemplary grades in the last undergraduate years follow poor earlier performance. While we primarily look at grades in history courses, we also consider grades in other humanities courses and overall GPA.

4. Graduate Record Examination (GRE) Verbal and Analytical Writing sections or Miller Analogies Test (MAT) scores. We urge you to take the Graduate Record Examination, especially if you plan to work toward the Ph.D. degree.Test scores older than five years are not acceptable, although we may be able to request a waiver of this time-limit if we think it is unnecessary for you to retake the exam. We do not accept scores on MAT exams taken in less than two-month intervals.

Students who already have earned a master’s degree or an equivalent degree from an accredited institution may, with the concurrence of the Graduate Coordinator, request a waiver of the entrance examination.

You can contact the Testing Center, 112 John W. Brister Building, 901.678.2428, to arrange to take the MAT or 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.

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. Two letters of recommendation evaluating your academic ability. You are free to send additional recommendations if you wish, but we are primarily interested in recommendations from former or current professors, especially of upper-level history courses you have taken, who can address your potential to succeed in a graduate program of history. Letters of recommendation are 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.

6. A writing sample, such as a paper from a course, that demonstrates your ability to write and think about history. 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.

7. 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 (chosen from the list below), and anything else you can tell us about your interests in history. Note: We do not have official M.A. fields (except for Egyptology), so that if you are not an Egyptology student you will not choose an official field of study once you are in the program, nor will you have to take a particular number of credits in your major fields of interest. We ask you to write about your interests only to be able to evaluate your application better. If you do want to apply for the Egyptology concentration, please make this clear, since such applications are considered separately.

Please write your name and e-mail address at the top of the first page of your statement. 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.

Fields are: United States before 1877, United States after 1877, African American History, Egyptology (if you include this field, make it clear whether you want to apply for the concentration in Egyptology or simply are interested in it), Ancient World, Medieval Europe, Renaissance Europe, Early Modern Europe, Modern Europe, Latin America, Africa, China, Japan, South Asia, Russia, the Near East, Women and Gender, and Global History. In addition, tell us if you are particularly interested in any of the following: intellectual history, cultural history, social history, theory of history, political history, economic history, history of science, military history.

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Last Updated: 3/12/14