Apply to the PhD Program

The following is a description of the application and admission procedures for the Doctorate within the OILS Program. The applicant should consult the UNM Catalog for additional details. Applicants should be aware that incomplete files will not be reviewed for the current admission year.

Admission Requirements

The following are required to be admitted into the OILS Doctoral program:

  • A Master's degree from an accredited college or university with a 3.5 GPA
  • Positive recommendations
  • Goals or objectives that can be reasonably achieved through a degree in this program

When the file is complete, applicants for admission to the OILS Doctoral Program will be interviewed by a panel of at least three regular OILS Program faculty members

Application Deadlines

Admission to the OILS Doctoral Program is a once-per-year process, with applicants being admitted for the Fall Semester only. A complete applicant file must be in the Program office no later than January 6 of the year the applicant is hoping to gain admission to the Program.

Admission TermDeadline
FallJanuary 6

It is the applicant's responsibility to check in with the Program Coordinator to see what items are missing from his/her file sufficiently early in the process and make sure that the file is complete by the deadline.

Application materials submitted to the Graduate Admissions Department should be submitted at least a month prior to the Program deadline, which allows for the processing of those materials.

Upon notification of admission to the Program by letter, doctoral students should consult their Major Advisor (or Program of Studies Chair) as soon as possible in the first semester to (1) develop a tentative Program of Study, and (2) determine committee membership. They should also familiarize themselves with the rules in the UNM Catalog under which they have been admitted.

Required Documentation

You will be required to upload electronic copies of the following documentation when you complete your online application:

  • A Statement of Purpose

    Prospective candidates applying for admission to the OILS PhD program are required to submit a Statement of Purpose. This crucial document offers applicants the opportunity to explain their background, aspirations, interests, and how they envision themselves fitting into our doctoral program. The Statement of Purpose plays a pivotal role in enabling our faculty members to gain a more comprehensive understanding of applicants, delving beyond basic aspects such as GPA and letters of recommendation.

    To ensure that your Statement of Purpose is both comprehensive and effective, address the following questions:

    1. What is your motivation for pursuing a Ph.D. in OILS, and what specific goals or interests drive your academic journey? 
    2. How have you navigated past academic/work challenges?  Please give specific examples.
    3. In what ways has your prior educational and experiential background equipped you for the pursuit of a Ph.D. in OILS?
    4. What are your research interests? What specific questions or topics do you aspire to explore in your doctoral research?
    5. Explain the alignment of your interests and aspirations with the current/ongoing research and expertise of one or more faculty members within the OILS Program. Specify 1-3 faculty members from our program whom you are particularly keen to collaborate with and elucidate the reasons behind your selection. For more information on our faculty members' research interests, please visit our directory at:
    6. Explain why you choose the writing sample and how the writing sample demonstrates graduate level  writing and analytical skills.

    A well-crafted Statement of Purpose typically spans two to three pages (single-spaced) and should incorporate personal examples that illustrate your key points

  • A Current Resume providing a summary of the applicant's experience and how this experience relates to the proposed doctoral study in OILS. Publications, memberships in professional organizations, and speaking engagements are examples.
  • Three Letters of Recommendation from persons familiar with your academic ability and potential for doctoral-level work. Emails of the References will be required in the online application, and they will be informed to upload the recommendation letters directly to the system. *Faculty advisors in the OILS department are not allowed to submit letters of recommendation on any students behalf.
  • Two Recent Samples of Professional or Scholarly Writing by the applicant. Writings should demonstrate applicants' writing and analytical skills. Please add a short letter to explain how analytical thinking is important in the writing samples.

Admission Procedure

  1. Contact or meet with a Faculty Member of OILS for a program orientation, preferably a faculty member who represents your area of interest.
  2. Apply Online as a UNM Graduate Student. You will submit the following with your application packet:
    1. A UNM Application for Admission
    2. Application fee
    3. An official transcript from each college or university you have attended
    4. All Required Documentation as outlined above

Application Evaluation

Evaluation criteria include (1) a grade point average of 3.5 in the Master's degree, and other relevant graduate work; (2) assessment of the variety and quality of experiences which provide evidence of the acquisition of knowledge and skills appropriate for the doctoral level of performance; (3) recommendations; (4) evidence of professional growth and a desire for continued professional development; (5) demonstrated writing skills; and (6) the personal interview.

Criteria for interview evaluations include:

  • The quality of presentation made by the applicant on relevant academic background, professional experience (if appropriate), and personal goals and objectives for completing the OILS Doctoral Program
  • Congruence of the applicant's personal academic goals with Program goals, resources, and faculty expertise required to support the applicant's program objectives
  • Clarity of oral communication
  • Observed ability to respond effectively to questions

After careful consideration of all data presented by the applicant, the Program faculty will make a decision regarding admission to the OILS Doctoral Program.

Questions about the PhD Program?


PhD Program Contact

Victor Law
OILS Program Director
(505) 277-2565


242 Zimmerman Library