Ph.D. Program Overview

You can 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 SchoolConsult 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:

Admission Application

For more information, see Application Procedures and Application to the Ph.D. Program and for an Assistantship.

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 into the Ph.D. program,. You will not be able to register until you do this. After advising, the Director of Graduate Studies will clear you to register. Register using the myMemphis Web-based registration system. See https://www.memphis.edu/registrar/students/selfserv/quick.php.

•    Thereafter, meet with the Director of Graduate Studies at least once a year for advising and clearance. When going for advising, please bring an updated Ph.D. planning form or signed Dissertation Committee Approval form for ABD students.

3.  Fields of Study and Advisory Committee:

•    Select your dissertation field and two minor fields and discuss who should be on your Advisory Committee in consultation with the Director of Graduate Studies and a prospective major advisor. The Advisory Committee must include a major professor with Full Graduate Faculty status and at least two other Graduate Faculty members to represent the minor fields. At the advisor's discretion, the committee may include two professors from the major field.

•    Meet with this Advisory Committee during your first or second semester. Take an up-to-date version of the Ph.D. planning form to your meeting with the Advisory Committee. On the second page, the committee must itemize all that they require for you to advance to comps, including any foreign language requirement or waiver. Submit this revised and signed planning form to the Director of Graduate Studies.

You can find the PhD planning form here.

•    The Advisory Committee should provide you with a written evaluation at the end of your first and second year. Unless they say that you are doing well and mention no problems, meet with each of the members individually to discuss your options. Click here for more details on advising.

4.  Transfer credits from another school if necessary:

If you want to use any credits from another school (see Previously Earned Credits), and your Advisory Committee and the Director of Graduate Studies approve this, fill out the Transfer Credit Evaluation (For Doctoral Degree Programs Only) (pdf).

5.  Complete all course requirements (see Ph.D. Requirements and Restrictions). From your first day of your first class, you will need to begin preparing for the comprehensive exam (see Comprehensive Examination).

6.  Take the language examination(s), if required (see Foreign Language Requirement). You must pass all required language exams before completing the comprehensive exam.

7.  Prepare for and take the Comprehensive Exam (see Ph. D. Comprehensive Examination):

•    Assemble your Comprehensive Examination Committee, which normally has the same membership as the Advisory Committee. Fill out a committee form, available here https://www.memphis.edu/gradschool/pdfs/forms/td_committee_form.pdf, obtain all committee signatures, and submit it to the history office and Director of Graduate Studies. The Graduate School does not need this form at this point.

•    Write the written comprehensive essays in all fields, including two papers or one longer one in the major field, and the oral exam that follows.

•    Submit the Comprehensive Examination form, https://www.memphis.edu/gradschool/pdfs/forms/comp_exam_results.pdf, to the history office and Director of Graduate Studies. 

8.  Present your dissertation prospectus and write your dissertation (see Ph.D. Dissertation):

•    Select your dissertation topic.

•    Choose the Dissertation Committee; those not at The University of Memphis must apply for Adjunct Graduate Faculty status; get the form for this at https://www.memphis.edu/gradschool/pdfs/grad_fac_status_app.pdf (pdf). Fill out a committee form, available at http:// /www.memphis.edu/gradschool/pdfs/forms/td_committee_form.pdf (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.

•    Prepare your dissertation prospectus. Get your committee's permission to present it, have your chair email the Director of Graduate Studies to this effect, email the Director of Graduate Studies to schedule your presentation on one of the days set aside for this, send the Director of Graduate Studies a copy of the prospectus and an invitation to the department to attend your presentation, and present it in a public colloquy. With the approval of the Dissertation Committee, submit the form https://www.memphis.edu/gradschool/pdfs/forms/tdproposal.pdf (pdf) to the Graduate School, history office, and Director of Graduate Studies.

•    Write your dissertation in consultation with your advisor and, if it would be helpful, with your other committee members. For the proper format of the dissertation, see Dissertation.

•    Maintain your active status and continuous enrollment by registering for at least one (1) hour of dissertation credit per semester, not including summer school. Have your dissertation director sign the dissertation enrollment form and take it / email it to Dr. Erika Feleg, refeleg@memphis.edu, who will enter a permit. You will not need any form for clearance for the semester following the passing of the comprehensive exam or the term following the prospectus defense. In those cases, simply ask the Director of Graduate Studies for clearance and Dr. Erika Feleg to enter the permit for dissertation hours.

You may not take dissertation credits until you have passed the comps and submitted the form to the Graduate School. You may, however, take dissertation credits before you have presented your prospectus.

9.  Give each member of your dissertation committee a complete rough draft of your dissertation no later than one month before the end of the semester prior to the one in which you intend to graduate. Meet with the committee before the beginning of the semester in which you intend to graduate to discuss what revisions are necessary to produce an acceptable dissertation.

10.  Defend your dissertation and graduate:

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

•    File the "Application for Admission to Doctoral Degree Candidacy" formhttps://umwa.memphis.edu/gradschool/. (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 (https://myuofm.memphis.edu).

Before you defend your dissertation, fill out a dissertation defense scheduling form from https://www.memphis.edu/gradschool/pdfs/forms/td_defense.pdf and schedule the defense with the committee members. Be sure to schedule it before the Graduate School deadline for the semester.

At least one week before the defense, notify the Director of Graduate Studies of the time, place, and dissertation title. In addition to the defense form, take a black pen and three copies of the signature page of the dissertation, on the correct paper and in the correct format, to the defense for your committee to sign. You will only need one, but it is a good idea to have some spares.

Submit a paper copy of the final draft to the Graduate School, including the signature page, for approval by the dean.

After both your committee and the Graduate School have approved the dissertation, submit the electronic version of your dissertation by the deadline, along with an abstract of not more than 350 words.