Applying to the Graduate Programs In American Studies and Folklore
We appreciate your interest in our Ph.D. Program in American Studies and M.A. Program in Folklore. We look forward to receiving your application. You submit your application electronically via the UNC Graduate School website. You are welcome to contact the Director of Graduate Studies or to email individual faculty members with whom you are interested in working. The DGS will be happy to answer your questions, to help you learn more about specific aspects of our program in order to judge if our program is a good fit for you, and to help you arrange a visit to Chapel Hill. We are always delighted to have prospective students sit in on classes and talk with individual faculty members and current students.
As part of the on-line application you will need to provide:
- A statement of purpose in which you describe your intellectual and professional goals and outline how participation in our program will enable you to achieve these goals.
- Your CV.
- Transcripts of all prior academic work (For the application process, obtain unofficial transcripts, scan them, and upload those pdfs; if you are accepted, you will need to ask the colleges or universities you attended to send official transcripts directly to the Graduate School)
- GRE (general test) scores from within the last five years, Verbal, Quantitative, and Writing
- Three letters of recommendation, ideally at least two from former professors familiar with your academic capabilities who can speak to your potential for success in graduate study and possibly one from someone who can attest to professional accomplishments and experience relevant to your planned course of study or career goals.
- One or two writing samples (10-15 pages each) that demonstrate your ability to write clear and graceful prose, to conduct original research, and to set forth a critical interpretation or argument. One should exhibit your facility with a formal academic writing style. The second could be another academic paper, but we also welcome creative work and written, audio, video, or photographic documentary work. To make audio or video material available, please put it on a website or blog and upload a “writing sample” document that includes links.
For international applicants, the Graduate School requires additional materials.
The Graduate School website accepts application materials for American Studies and Folklore until the first Tuesday in December (December 7th in 2017) for admission the following Fall. You must get that on-line application submitted and your application fee paid before the deadline or we cannot consider you. After that date admissions are closed for the year. If your letters of recommendation or GRE scores arrive at the Graduate School within a few days after the deadline, that should not be a problem, but please try to make sure that all your materials are submitted to the university as close as possible to the cut-off date. We generally begin making admission offers in February, but it could be as late as April before you hear from us.
For the Ph.D. program in American Studies, we expect that most applicants will have extensive prior study in American Studies and/or in related fields such as African American Studies, American Indian and Indigenous Studies, or Southern Studies at that B.A. or M.A. level and possibly also relevant professional experience in museums, libraries, education, music, or art.
For the Folklore M.A. program, however, we expect that many applicants will not have been exposed to the academic study of folklore. To learn more about what the study of folklore entails, we recommend that you look at one of the “primers” for the field: Barre Toelken’s The Dynamics of Folklore, Robert Georges and Michael Owen Jones’s Folkloristics: An Introduction, or Martha C. Sims and Martine Stephens’s Living Folklore: An Introduction to the Study of People and Their Traditions. For more advanced works on specific topics, see this list of books and articles that our current faculty members have found most influential in their own work.