M.A. Program Overview

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. 

Click here for more detailed guidelines.

2. Be advised and get registration clearance

  • Contact the Director of Graduate Studies for an advising appointment after the Graduate School informs you of your admission. You will not be able to register until you have been advised. Please use your official University of Memphis email account. Check your University email account frequently.
  • After advising, the Director of Graduate Studies will clear you to register.
  • Register at the assigned time using the myMemphis Web-based registration system. You can read registration instructions here.
  • Begin the M.A. planning form, obtainable from the Director of Graduate Studies, or click here for the form.

Meet with the Director of Graduate Studies 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. For more on advising, click here.

3. Transfer credits from another school if necessary

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

4. Complete all required coursework (see M.A. program requirements and restrictions).

5. For students wanting to write a thesis

  • 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 (pdf), obtain all committee signatures, and submit it to the office and Director of Graduate Studies. 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.
  • Submit the thesis topic for registration with the Graduate School using the Thesis Proposal Defense form (pdf). For the proper format and style of the thesis, click here (pdf). See M.A. Thesis for the proper format for the thesis and instructions for its submission.
  • Register for at least one thesis credit every Fall and Spring semester after you register for thesis credit for the first time until you graduate. Have your thesis director sign the thesis enrollment form (pdf), and take it to Karen Jackett, who will enter a permit.
  • Write, submit, and defend thesis. This is normally done at the same time as the Comprehensive Exam.

Click here for more on writing the M.A. Thesis

6. Comprehensive Exam and Thesis Defense

  • 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 the same broad field 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.
  • If you are writing a thesis, your Comprehensives Committee will probably be the same as your Thesis Committee.
  • Schedule the comprehensive oral examination and/or thesis defense with committee members and the department office (if you are in the online M.A. program, your examination may be written instead of oral and must be proctored, please contact Amanda Lee Savage for more details) during the later part of your last semester. Comprehensive examinations and thesis defenses must be held before the designated Graduate School deadline for the semester. Report the result to the Department of History and the Director of Graduate Studies using the Comprehensive Exam Results form (pdf).

Click here for more information on the M.A. Comprehensive Exam

7. Graduation

Very early in the semester of graduation (be sure to check the deadline) you must do two things:

  • 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. You must bring the candidacy form to the Director of Graduate Studies for approval before submitting it.
  • Apply to Graduate from your MyMemphis Portal.

If you have completed a thesis, you must submit your thesis to the Graduate School electronically. Make sure you are following the most recent guidelines and meet the deadline.