Apply to SUAPP PhD in Urban Affairs Program

We are excited to welcome you to apply to the new doctoral program in urban affairs. Interested individuals should complete the University's standard online Graduate School application. You can find a step-by-step description of the Graduate School application process, including important deadlines, here. Your completed Graduate School application will be reviewed by the Urban Affairs admissions committee. To find out more about our program, use the links on the left.

Apply to U of M Grad School

How To Apply

Fall admission only

The Ph.D. in Urban Affairs program begins accepting applications on September 15th of each year. Please submit all application materials by January 1 for early consideration for graduate assistantships. The Ph.D. in Urban Affairs is a 48-credit hour doctoral degree program. As such, this program requires that students enter the program as they near the end of their master’s degree or have a master’s degree in hand before applying. We fund approximately 30-40% of full-time students entering the program, so students are encouraged to complete all funding applications after applying for admission. If you have further questions about your application, please get in touch with Dr. Davia Downey (dcdowney@memphis.edu).

March 1 is when the first round of application review usually begins. First-round decisions are typically made at the end of March; all applicants (i.e., those who apply by the April 1st deadline annually) will receive notification by mid-May. 

Ph.D. Admissions Criteria

All applicants must meet all criteria for admission to the graduate school. A master’s degree is required (or near completion) for admission to our program. 

International applicants must submit a minimum score of 80 on the internet-based TOEFL test or have an equivalent to a U.S. Master’s degree from an accredited college or university where English is the language of instruction or be a citizen of countries with English-language reciprocity. For more information on international student requirements and other accepted English tests, click here

Additionally, all applicants to the doctoral program will:

  1. Provide transcripts of all post-secondary institutions attended converted to a 4.0 grading scale.
  2. Provide a statement of purpose (1,000 words or less) that discusses:
    • The student’s research interests and motivation for pursuing a Ph.D. in Urban Affairs at the University of Memphis.
    • What research questions they would like to explore while a doctoral student at the U of M?
    • How have the student’s academic and professional experiences prepared them to complete a doctoral program?
    • The specialization area during their doctoral studies the student intends to focus on and discuss how they relate to research interests and future career aspirations.
    • Which faculty members within SUAPP-affiliated departments would the student like to work with while in the program, and why? (See our Affiliates Page for faculty currently taking advisees.) 
  3. Provide a current curriculum vitae or resume.
  4. Provide one policy-oriented writing sample. Applicants can submit up to three. Examples might include journal articles (published or under review), master’s theses, or other professional writings demonstrating research and analytical capability.
    •  Good writing samples include journal articles (published or under review), a master's thesis, policy analysis or evaluation papers, or other professional writings demonstrating research and analytical capability. 
    • NOTE: Students who submit co-authored or multi-authored publications MUST provide a statement of contribution to that published work if the student applicant includes co-authored or published work as a writing sample. 
  5. Provide contact information for at least three references who will be asked to provide letters of recommendation. Applicants can provide up to five references if they choose.
  6. The admissions committee may request an interview (in person or by phone/virtual) if necessary.