The Near East, known as the "cradle of civilization," is a complex and extremely important region that continues to shape today's world. Princeton’s Department of Near Eastern Studies, one of the oldest and most renowned in the United States, provides excellent opportunities to understand the impact of this region by learning about its peoples and their histories, languages, literatures, and religions.
The Department of Near Eastern Studies offers a liberal arts concentration designed to give students competence in a Near Eastern language and a broad knowledge of the civilizations of the ancient, medieval, and modern Near East — made up of the Arab countries, Iran, Israel, and Turkey — and beyond to Afghanistan and Central Asia.
The major is built around departmental and cognate courses in languages, history, literature, religion, law, anthropology, art history, and politics, combined with the study of one or more Near Eastern languages (Arabic, Hebrew, Persian, or Turkish). The department faculty's approach to the study of this region is multifaceted and extends from ancient times to its current concentration and strength in Islamic societies and their cultures in the historical and contemporary framework.
Options for Non-Majors
For non-majors, the Department of Near Eastern Studies provides a wide range of courses relevant to the study of history, politics, religion, comparative literature, sociology, and anthropology. Many undergraduate courses require no knowledge of a foreign language, and the department's popular survey courses present comprehensive portraits of past and present Near Eastern civilizations.
The Near Eastern Studies major can be the basis for graduate or professional study. In small classes and seminars, which allow extensive interaction between students and faculty members, students become equipped to take up careers in academia, business, economics, international affairs, government, diplomacy, journalism, and more.