Application to the Ph.D. Program and for an Assistantship

Please note that there are separate applications for admission and for assistantships. Both applications require some of the same materials, but you need only send each item once. Make sure that your letters of recommendation primarily address your academic qualifications and not just your character or competence and reliability as an assistant. They should evaluate your previous graduate work.

See below for additional information concerning admission to the concentration in Ancient Egyptian History.



All students must meet the following Graduate School and departmental requirements. There are additional requirements for the admission of international students.

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, your GRE scores (particularly the GRE Verbal and Analytical Writing sections), 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.

Deadlines:The deadlines to submit all required application materials are January 15 for summer or fall semester admission, the same date that the separate assistantship application is due, and November 15 for spring semester admission.

Materials to submit to the Graduate School: New students applying for the Ph.D. program must be admitted to the Graduate School. Please send items 1, 2, and 3 below directly to Graduate Admissions, The University of Memphis, 200 Wilder Tower, Memphis, TN 38152:

1.  A completed Admission Application with a non-refundable $50.00 (USD) application fee [$60.00 (USD) for international students]. Since this may change, you should check with the Graduate School before applying.

2.  Official transcripts from all the graduate and undergraduate institutions you have attended. It is not necessary to send transcripts from The University of Memphis, since these are already on file. All other college or university transcripts must be sent directly from the institutions.

3.  Graduate Record Examination (GRE) Verbal and Analytical Writing sections. You may contact the Testing Center, 112 John W. Brister Building, 901.678.2428, 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 for more information. 

GRE scores must be sent directly from the testing services. Normally, test scores older than five years are not acceptable to the Graduate School. In rare cases we can request a waiver of this time-limit.

Note that when the Graduate School informs you that your application is complete, it is referring only to the materials that are sent directly to the Graduate School.

Materials to submit to the Department of History: Please send items 4, 5, and 6 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.

4.  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 and especially the faculty member or members who would likely be the best choice as your primary advisor.

5.  Three letters of recommendation evaluating your academic abilities and accomplishments. You are free to send additional recommendations if you wish, but 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. Letters of recommendation are confidential. Letters of recommendation are acceptable as signed pdf email attachments only if they come directly from the recommender’s email account. They may also be sent via regular post directly from the recommenders.

6.  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 send us a paper or thesis in that field. 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.

Three weeks after all the material has been sent to the department, whether for the application or the assistantship, please e-mail Karen Jackett to confirm that we have received your materials.

Applications take four to eight weeks to process after the due dates; the Department of History's Admissions Committee and other appropriate faculty review all applications before making a recommendation about admission to the Graduate School.

If you apply too late or do not yet 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).

All credentials become the property of the university, which will not forward or return them. We will maintain your credentials in an active file for at least one year.

If you are admitted, but do not register for the term for which you are admitted, or fail to register for every Fall and Spring term, the Graduate School will require you to fill out a short on-line readmissions application before beginning or resuming your study. Get the form at

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 have the explicit approval of the Egyptology faculty. At present this consists of Dr. Peter Brand,, and Dr. Suzanne Onstine, 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 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 (



To apply for an assistantship for the following academic year, submit your Assistantship Application to the Department of History by January 15, using the same guidelines as for the admissions application above. Send unofficial transcripts and test scores to the department only if they have not arrived at the Graduate School. You may use the three letters of recommendation for admission for the assistantship as well, although you may wish to send additional letters addressing your suitability 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 seventh Fall/Spring semester. Those who do fail to do so will may not be able to renew their assistantships.