Concentration Requirements


NES majors must achieve proficiency through at least the 107-level in a Near Eastern language (Arabic, Hebrew, Persian, or Turkish) and must take eight NES departmental courses. Students write one Junior Paper over the course of their junior year and a Senior Thesis their senior year.


Students must complete or pass out of four terms (i.e., through the 107 level) of Arabic, Hebrew, Persian, or Turkish. Students are encouraged, albeit not required, to continue language study at the advanced level and to use their chosen Near Eastern language for senior thesis research.


NES majors take eight departmental courses in Near Eastern Studies:

  1. NES 300 (the Seminar in Research Methods, usually taken fall of junior year)
  2. Seven other deparmentals that fulfill the following distribution requirements in historical periods, regions, and disciplines:
    1. Historical periods: At least one course focused on the pre-modern Near East (before 1800) and at least one course focused on the modern Near East.
    2. Regions: At least two regionally specific courses. Each must focus on one of the following six sub-regions of the Near East. They may not focus on the same region:
      1. Egypt, North Africa, and Andalusia
      2. The Levant, Iraq, and the Arabian peninsula
      3. Ottoman empire/Turkey
      4. Iran
      5. Muslim South and Central Asia
      6. Diasporic communities
    3. Disciplines: At least one course in two of the following four disciplines:
      1. History
      2. Literature
      3. Social sciences
      4. Religion
  • A single course may satisfy multiple distribution requirements across these domains. For example, a course focusing on 20th century Turkish literature may count as modern (Historical Periods), Ottoman Empire/Turkey (Regions), and literature (Disciplines). 
  • A single course may not, however, satisfy more than one distribution requirement within a single domain; a course on Arabic literature that spans the pre-modern and modern periods would thus not satisfy both the pre-modern and modern Historical Periods requirements.
  • At least five departmentals must be NES-prefix or language courses. Up to three may be cognate courses (courses in other departments not cross-listed with NES that focus on the Near East), on the approval of the Department Representative.
  • Language courses beyond the 107 level count as departmentals, as does elementary and intermediate study of a second Near Eastern language.  

Independent Work

Senior Departmental Examination

The comprehensive examination in the department consists of an oral examination based on the senior thesis. See details and comprehensive exam form.