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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

We are accepting applications starting September 15th. For early consideration for graduate assistantships, please have all application materials submitted by February 1, 2022. The PhD in Urban Affairs is a 48-credit hour doctoral degree program. 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 prior to applying.

PhD Admissions Criteria

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

International applicants must submit a minimum score of 550 or higher on the paper version or 79 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. For more information on international student requirements click here

Additionally, applicants to the doctoral program will:

1.      Provide transcripts of all post-secondary institutions attended

2.      Provide a statement of purpose (1,000 words or less) that discusses:

  • Your research interests and motivation for pursuing a PhD in Urban Affairs at the University of Memphis.
  • What research questions you’d like to explore while a doctoral student at the U of M.
  • How your academic and professional experience has prepared you to complete the doctoral program.
  • The field areas you intend to emphasize during your studies and how they relate to your research and career aspirations.

3.      Provide a current CV or Resume

4.      Submit one policy-oriented writing sample. Applicants can submit up to three. Examples include journal articles (published or under review), master’s theses, or other professional writings that demonstrate research and analytical capability.

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.      Provide GRE scores not more than 5 years old. Applicants with exceptional credentials, extensive professional experience, or a prior doctoral degree from an accredited institution can request a waiver of this requirements. 

7.      An interview (in person or by phone/video) may be requested.

For students applying without a master’s degree: Students interested in the Ph.D. program that do not have a MA degree will be required to earn and in MA in one of our host disciplines (City and Regional Planning, Criminology, Public and Nonprofit Administration, or Social Work) Students without a master’s degree will be required to apply separately to the master’s degree of their choice prior to applying to the Ph.D program. Students can complete a master’s and doctoral degree concurrently; however, it is advised that students wait until their second year of the master’s degree to apply to the Ph.D. program. To meet university requirements, all students must have at least 72 hours of post-baccalaureate course work prior to graduation with the doctoral degree.