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Heritage Studies

Doctorate of Philosophy (PhD)
Offered By: College of Humanities and Social Sciences
Graduate School


Heritage Studies offers an interdisciplinary doctoral degree designed for individuals seeking senior positions in public institutions such as museums, libraries, and archives, historical societies and state parks, cultural tourism programs and tourist sites, community heritage programs, state and local agencies; as well as private consulting firms and heritage-related businesses.

With its interdisciplinary emphasis, the Heritage Studies Ph.D. Program (Doctor of Philosophy in Heritage Studies) uses multiple perspectives to explore the interrelationships of history, folklore, literature, geography, culture, and environment in distinctive regions of the United States and the world, especially the Mississippi River Delta. The program is approved by the Arkansas Department of Higher Education, and the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

  • Admission Process

    Students seeking admission into the program must meet the admission requirements of the Graduate School and specific program requirements.

    Applicants must hold a baccalaureate or master's degree (BA, BS, MA, or MS) from an accredited institution in a related discipline such as archaeology, anthropology, English, folklore, geography, history, historic preservation, museum studies, political science, public administration, or sociology. Applicants admitted to the program without a master's degree will be required to complete a minimum of eighteen hours of graduate work in appropriate disciplines before they will be allowed to take level 7000 courses. Only in rare cases will applicants be admitted who have not completed an appropriate master's degree before they begin their doctoral studies.

    Transcripts should reflect a strong background in social sciences and humanities. Applicants lacking this background who are otherwise exemplary may be granted provisional admission to the program, but will be required to make up these deficiencies. These course credits cannot be applied toward fulfillment of doctoral requirements. Up to eighteen hours in addition to the semester hours of credit required for the Ph.D. in Heritage Studies may be necessary in graduate classes that provide a suitable foundation for doctoral work in Heritage Studies. In some cases, documented work experience in the heritage professions may be substituted for specific preparatory courses and, in exceptional cases, may be used as a criterion for admission.

    Applicants will be admitted to the program based on the following criteria:

    • A letter from each applicant explaining their interest in the field of Heritage Studies and their personal career goals submitted to the Director of the program as well as to the Graduate School.
    • Undergraduate and graduate GPA.
    • Letters of reference.
    • An interview and an example of the applicant's research and writing on a scholarly topic are required for all applicants.

    Applicants must submit the following to the Graduate School:

    • A completed online application for admission to the Heritage Studies Ph.D. program. Applicants are encouraged to submit the application before January 15. Later applications will be considered for admission, but review of applicants will begin on January 15 for the fall semester.
    • A $50 nonrefundable application fee.  
    • One copy of official transcripts of all previous undergraduate and graduate coursework attempted, to be sent directly from the institutions previously attended. The Graduate School will compute the graduate GPA by counting all graduate courses completed, including any repeated courses. Transcripts should reflect a strong background in social sciences and humanities. Applicants who are lacking this background who are otherwise exemplary may be granted provisional admission and required to make up these deficiencies. Such course credits may not be applied toward fulfillment of doctoral requirements.
    • Letter of application explaining applicant's career goals and knowledge of and interest in Heritage Studies.
    • Three (3) letters of reference from former professors or professional supervisors and colleagues.