If you are considering graduate work in Near Eastern Studies, this site should tell you most of what you need to know about the possibilities for such study at Princeton.
Princeton has considerable attractions to offer you. It has a large and well-known faculty, an unusually good library, five-year funding, and a pleasant small-town environment. These are not, however, the factors that should weigh most heavily with you if and when you come to choose between Princeton and the handful of other American universities offering comparable programs.
If you have been an undergraduate at an American institution, you have probably been exposed to a large and frequently changing cast of faculty. Graduate life is different: graduate students spend most of their years of study working closely with two or three faculty at most. Choosing them is more important than choosing the institution they happen to belong to.
For prospective graduate students the faculty profiles are the most important feature of this Web site and may be found under the People tab on the menu at left. You should read them all, since taken together they tell you a great deal about the character and resources of Near Eastern Studies at Princeton. It is for this reason that we have included not just core faculty in the Near Eastern Studies Department, but also part-time faculty, emeriti, and faculty in other departments. You should, however, pay special attention to the profiles of the Department's core faculty. If there are two or three faculty members whose interests and approaches mesh with yours, apply for admission to the Department.
To help you explore the interests of relevant faculty, we have included a section entitled "representative publications" in the profile of each full-time member of the Department. If you want to know us better, the first thing that you can do is to read some of what we have written.
Note, however, that while some faculty members will be closer to your interests than others, all decisions about admissions are taken by the Department as a whole. Students are not assigned to advisors till the end of the first year of study.
To apply, you should begin with the Graduate School Admissions Web page at http://www.princeton.edu/gradschool/admission/; instructions about the electronic application process (http://www.princeton.edu/gradschool/admission/applicants/applying/application/) and other information about admissions may be found there. Simply follow the instructions.
We will read the materials you submit with care. Among other things, we will be looking for evidence that you have already directed some time and effort to Near Eastern Studies at the undergraduate or MA level, that you have the ability to do research using primary sources, ideally ones in a Near Eastern language, and that you know how to analyze and explain, and not just describe. We also need to see that you have demonstrated at least the linguistic ability needed to acquire a Near Eastern Language; in fact we would much prefer you to have already embarked on the study of one. While we are definitely not looking to see a dissertation proposal from you at this point in your career, we would still like to know what preliminary ideas you may have about problems or topics that you think might interest you when you get to that stage.
As part of the admission process, we invite all short-listed applicants to visit Princeton for a weekend in late February for interviews with faculty, seminars in which the applicants give brief presentations on some research topic of interest to them, and meetings with current graduate students. The visit affords an opportunity for better acquaintance and may therefore be to the candidate's advantage. It is not, however, a necessary condition of admission. We offer partial reimbursement of travel expenses and provide some meals and accommodation.
Please note that the deadlines for many Middle Eastern language summer training courses offered by language institutions in the Middle East are prior to an applicant’s acceptance into the NES PhD program. An applicant may wish to apply to such a language course. Should she or he be accepted into the NES PhD program, Princeton University might be able to provide funds to help cover the expenses for such a summer course.