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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Timetable for the M.A. Program

You will find the specific dates for various deadlines in the student calendars provided by the Registrar’s Office. By far the most important calendar is the one for graduation deadlines provided by the Graduate School. Consult these calendars frequently, especially at the beginning of each semester, to make sure that you keep up with deadlines. Failure to meet deadlines will delay your graduation.

1. Apply for admission and/or assistantship:

Apply for admission, and, if you are interested, for a graduate assistantship. See above, Application Procedures and Application to the M.A. Program and for an Assistantship, for details and deadlines. Get the admissions application at and the assistantship application at (pdf).

2. Be advised and get registration clearance:

Once the Graduate School informs you of your admission, contact the Graduate Coordinator for an advising appointment. You will not be able to register until you have been advised. Make sure that the Coordinator has your e-mail address, and let the Coordinator know whenever this changes. All our communications are by e-mail, and failure to keep your address up to date may mean that you miss crucial messages, which could affect your status.

After advising, the Coordinator will clear you to register. Register at the assigned time using the myMemphis Web-based registration system. See

Begin the M.A. planning form, obtainable from the Graduate Coordinator, or at (MS Word).

Thereafter, meet with the Graduate Coordinator at least once a year for advising and clearance. When going for advising, take an up-to-date copy of the planning form. This meeting is necessary for registration clearance.

3. Transfer credits from another school if necessary:

If you want to use any credits from another school, and the Graduate Coordinator approves this, file the Evaluation of Transfer Credit (Masters) form, (pdf), with the Graduate School.

4. For those who want to write a thesis: choose a thesis advisor and thesis committee and write your thesis (see above, under M.A. thesis):

If you are writing a thesis, you should choose a thesis advisor/committee chair and a committee of at least three professors as soon possible, but no later than a full year before you expect to graduate. The advisor/chair must hold at least Associate Graduate Faculty status. Fill out a committee form, available at (pdf), obtain all committee signatures, and submit it to the office and Graduate Coordinator. The office will pass it on to the Graduate School, which must receive it by 45 days from the beginning of the semester of graduation.

Register the thesis topic with the Graduate School. You can find the form at  For the proper format and style of the thesis, see Also, obtain a checklist of requirements from the Graduate School office or from their Web page at (pdf) . See above under M.A. Thesis for the proper format for the thesis and instructions for its submission.

After you register for thesis credit for the first time, the Graduate School requires you to register for at least one thesis credit every Fall and Spring semester afterwards until you graduate. Have your thesis director sign the thesis enrollment form, (pdf), and take it to Karen Jackett, who will enter a permit.

5. Complete all required coursework (see above, M.A. program requirements and restrictions).

6. Choose the Comprehensives Committee and take Comprehensive Exam and Thesis Defense (see above, M.A. comprehensive exam):

Whether you are writing a thesis or not, choose a Comprehensives Committee of three faculty members, the chair of which must hold at least Associate Graduate Faculty status, no later than the beginning of the semester in which you intend to graduate. Not all committee members should be from a large area of history, like U.S. history. Provide each member with a complete list of courses taken and for each course a list of books read, and papers written for it.

If you are writing a thesis, your Comprehensives Committee will probably be the same as your Thesis Committee.

During the latter part of the last semester, schedule the comprehensive oral examination and/or thesis defense with committee members and the department office. Comprehensive examinations and thesis defenses must be held by the designated Graduate School deadline for the semester. Report the result to the Department of History and the Graduate Coordinator using the form If you defended a thesis, you also need to submit a defense form,

7. If you want to continue in the Ph.D. program, submit documentation to the department and a change of program form to the Graduate School by the normal application deadlines, September 15 or January 15. At the exam/defense ask your Comprehensives Committee and/or your Thesis Committee to recommend on the exam/defense form(s) that you be allowed to continue.

8. Graduate:

For the forms that the Graduate School requires for graduation, deadlines, and detailed instructions, see Very early in the semester of graduation (be sure to check the deadline) you must do two things: 1. file the “Master's Degree Candidacy Form,” (You only have to submit this once, even if you don't graduate in the semester that you first submit it). List only courses that are eligible to count toward the degree), and 2. “Apply to Graduate” from your MyMemphis portal (

You must bring the Candidacy form to the Graduate Coordinator for approval before submitting it.

You must submit your thesis to the Graduate School electronically. Make sure you are following the most recent guidelines and meet the deadline. For the current thesis preparation guide and policies on submission to the Graduate School, see

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