Application to the Ph.D. Program

For all applications for Spring 2020 admissions in progress on or prior to March 7, 2019, please click here for special instructions. 

For all applications started after March 7, 2019, please read below BEFORE beginning the online application—you will find the link to the application at the bottom of this webpage.


We require 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.

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, and the compatibility of our program and faculty with your interests. You are not guaranteed admission even if you meet all of our requirements, and in some cases we may decide to admit someone who does not meet all the requirements based upon their credentials as a whole.

There are additional requirements for the admission of international students.


The deadlines to submit all required application materials are January 15 for summer or fall semester admission and November 15 for spring semester admission. Those applying for graduate assistantships must submit all admissions application materials by the January 15 deadline.


The online application will request the following materials (instructions on uploading and sending information are in the application itself):

1. Official transcripts from all the graduate and undergraduate institutions you have attended.

2. A 750-1000 word "Statement of Purpose." You should discuss 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.

3. A writing sample, preferably the 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 upload a paper or thesis in that field.

4. Three letters of recommendation evaluating your academic abilities and accomplishments. 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. The online application will ask you for contact information for your recommenders. Your recommenders will receive emails with instructions on how they can upload their letters directly to the application system. Letters of recommendation are confidential. If you apply too late or do not meet all the requirements, you can still register for a time as a non-degree student (see the Graduate School's provision for non-degree students).

Concentration in Ancient Egyptian History: (Note: "Concentration" refers to a specific program in this area. It does not imply that this is our only area of specialization.) Please note that if you wish to enter the Ph.D. program in Ancient Egyptian history, you must indicate this by choosing the Ancient Egyptian concentration option in the application and, more importantly, by attaining the explicit approval of the Egyptology faculty. At present this consists of Dr. Peter Brand, pbrand@memphis.edu, and Dr. Suzanne Onstine, sonstine@memphis.edu. All those interested in the Egyptology concentration should write to Dr Onstine, explaining your interest and background in Egyptology and related areas, such as other ancient history, ancient Near Eastern cultures, classics, archaeology, anthropology, or Middle East studies.

The Egyptology faculty considers all current applicants as a group after January 15. Although in some exceptional cases, we may accept applications after that, your best chance of admission is to apply before January 15 for the next school year. Most students begin in the Fall, but we will sometimes consider applications for Spring if you have a strong record and sufficient background.

Those living in most southern states who are accepted in this concentration are generally eligible for the in-state tuition authorized by the Academic Common Market.


Ph. D. students are eligible to apply for grading assistantships. To apply for an assistantship for the following academic year, you must submit all materials for your admission application by January 15 and indicate on your application that you would like to be considered for an assistantship. We normally make decisions about graduate assistantships for the following academic year by April 1.

As full-time students, assistants at the Ph.D. level are expected to pass their comprehensive exam by the beginning of their fifth or sixth semester. Those who fail to do so may not be able to renew their assistantships.


If you have previously completed a graduate application to the University, all future graduate application fees are waived. Please contact Graduate Admissions (901-678-3685 or graduateadmissions@memphis.edu) for a coupon code for you to use within a day of submitting your next application.