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Graduate Introduction


Bernard A. Haykel,

Interdepartmental Committee

John Borneman, Anthropology,
Michael Cook, Near Eastern Studies,
M. Sükrü Hanioğlu, Near Eastern Studies,
Bernard A. Haykel, Near Eastern Studies,
Amaney Jamal, Politics,
Michael Laffan, History,
Michael Reynolds, Near Eastern Studies,
Max Weiss, History,
Qasim Zaman, Near Eastern Studies,

Master of Arts in Near Eastern Studies

The Program in Near Eastern Studies enables a limited number of students to take a two-year multidisciplinary course of study under the guidance of the director of the program leading to the degree of Master of Arts in Near Eastern studies. Students take appropriate language training and course work emphasizing the modern history, culture, politics, economy, and social structures of the Near East. This website also explains that for the purposes of PNES, the Near East is defined as the entire Arab world and the present-day states of Iran, Israel, and Turkey, as well as the Islamic World more broadly.

Students present a thesis by May 1 of the second year and then take a comprehensive examination. The curriculum is adjustable to the individual needs of students who are considering careers in diplomacy, business, the media, or international public and private agencies related to the Near East.

Doctoral Study

The Program in Near Eastern Studies enables students to add a coordinated course of study in the languages, contemporary institutions, and modern history of the Near East to their doctoral training. Students interested in this course of study enter one of the following departments, in accordance with their chief interest: anthropology, history, Near Eastern studies, politics, religion, or sociology. Students from other departments who have an interest in Near Eastern studies may enter the program by special arrangement with the director. Their work is guided by their own departmental adviser and the director of the Program in Near Eastern Studies. The program awards fellowships, including FLAS fellowships, through the cooperating departments.

Students follow the course of study in their department, with certain exceptions. Students in anthropology, politics, religion, or sociology normally take a Near East seminar in their department, a Near East seminar in at least one of the other departments listed above, and a relevant history seminar in the Department of Near Eastern Studies. Students in Near Eastern studies normally take Near East seminars in at least two other departments. These seminars are described in the various departmental announcements.

The Program in Near Eastern Studies also facilitates doctoral courses of study that bridge customary disciplinary or subject boundaries, for example, European and Near Eastern history, international relations with an emphasis on the Near East plus another world area, economic development and comparative politics, or the comparative study of colonialism and empires.

The general examination is conducted by the departments in consultation with the director of the program. The doctoral dissertation is written on a Near Eastern subject. It is the goal of the program that all of its students who write dissertations for which fieldwork in the Near East would be useful shall have a year of such experience.

To Apply

To apply for MA graduate study, please fill out the Graduate School application located here: