The University of Memphis Department of History graduate program in Egyptology


*This web page is only an introduction to the concentration in Egyptology in the Department of History and not a comprehensive guide.*



The University of Memphis is unique in that it has two separate departments that offer graduate degrees with a concentration in Egyptology: the Department of History in the College of Arts and Sciences and the Department of Art History in the College of Communication and Fine Arts. (Information on the terminal MA in Art History program can be found here.)  At present there are five Egyptologists on campus in those two departments, but no interdisciplinary degree. Students must apply for admission to either the History Department OR the Art History Department  Students enrolled in either program are free to take classes in both departments. However, each program has specific requirements and the studentís advisor has the final authority to approve extra-departmental classes.


The Department of History offers both an MA and a PhD in History with a concentration in Egyptology.  Dr. Suzanne Onstine, associate professor and Dr. Peter Brand, professor, currently direct the program. Classes are offered on a number of topics ranging from "New Kingdom Foreign Policy" to "Women in the Ancient World". A complete list of departmental course offerings can be found here.


The University is fortunate to have the Institute of Egyptian Art and Archaeology  (IEAA) as a resource. The IEAA has both a museum collection and a library that Egyptology students in both the History Department and the Art History Department have access to for research.  The collection of Egyptian antiquities is housed at the Art Museum of the University of Memphis.  The IEAA supports research projects and hosts several lectures by prominent Egyptologists throughout the year. Faculty from both History and Art History and the IEAA staff work closely together to coordinate classes, lectures, and opportunities for students. Students from both departments have formed a registered student organization called the Egyptology Graduate Student Association. They sponsor two lectures per year, hold social gatherings, and put on an annual symposium to showcase their research.




The application requirements for the school of graduate studies and the department of History apply.

Departmental guidelines, including what to send where, is on the departmental website for graduate studies. All questions relating to the applications process should be directed to Karen Jackett. Her phone number is 901.678.1366.   You should always follow up with an e-mail to make sure all you materials have been received.

The Department of History graduate student handbook is meant to be a guide for all things for students in all concentrations.  Please refer to the guide for ALL questions regarding applications, requirements, etc.

You may also contact Dr. James Blythe, graduate coordinator for any questions regarding administrative issues.


When applying to the Department of History, students must make clear their desire to enter the Egyptology program in a cover letter that accompanies the parts of the application sent to the department [not the graduate school]. Please include in your letter what coursework or experiences you have had that makes you qualified for graduate studies in Egyptology.  Egyptology faculty will be evaluating potential students on their preparedness for Egyptology specifically. Preference will be given to those students who have already done some formal coursework in one or more of the following areas: ancient Egypt, ancient history, ancient Near Eastern cultures, classics, archaeology, anthropology, or Middle East studies.

Egyptology faculty must approve any new student wanting to take Egyptology as a concentration within the department.  Students admitted to the History program who did not specify Egyptology as their major will not be able to take Egyptology graduate seminars unless permission is sought from the Egyptology faculty.


Preference is given to those applicants who meet the January 15 deadline. This is also the assistantship deadline.  Later applications will only be considered if there are spots open in the program (and there aren't usually - please check with Dr. Onstine before applying in these cases).

Assistantship positions for 2013-2014 have been decided.  Spring applications are not being sought at this time. 




Our program allows for great flexibility. Seminars are geared toward student interests and change from year to year. However, all Egyptology students are required to take Middle Egyptian in the Art History Department (ARTH 7115/7116, or show they have successfully completed first year Middle Egyptian elsewhere). An additional 6 credits of text-based classes must be taken either in ARTH or HIST.


Students must also take HIST 7310, Egyptian Historiography. If possible students should enroll in this class their first year of MA studies.

During the course of the MA program students must demonstrate reading proficiency in either French or German. During the PhD program, students must demonstrate reading proficiency in both French and German.  There are no exceptions to this. The University offers courses in reading proficiency as well as undergrad intro courses.


MA and PhD students are required to study a minor field other than Egyptology. Generally this can be a different discipline within the history dept. (e.g. American, European, Middle Eastern, African, Latin American, or Asian history). We can also in some cases accept transfer credits from fields like Classics, Biblical history, archaeology, and museum studies to count toward this requirement.


MA students may complete a thesis in lieu of some class credits, however, at this time we are advising students against this unless there are extenuating circumstances. 


The full list of courses taught in Department of History can be viewed here. A list of the classes offered in Art History can be accessed here.


Information on Financial Aid through the university is available here.




TT16; the tomb of Panehsy [updates soon]

Karnak Hypostyle Hall Project



History Department Contact Information:

University of Memphis

Department of History

219 Mitchell Hall

Memphis, TN 38152-3450

Main office phone number: 901-678-2515

Suzanne Onstine 901-678-3383 [please address any e-mails expressing intent to apply or questions about the program to Dr. Onstine]

Peter Brand 901-678-2521

James Blythe (graduate coordinator for History) 901-678-3381 [please address procedural questions to Dr. Blythe]