Current Major FAQs

How are advisers assigned?

The department assigns advisers in the fall of your junior and senior years. If you're interested in working with a particular professor, you may contact him or her in advance of the fall semester to discuss your topic, and should also let the Director of Undergraduate Studies, Prof. Eve Krakowski (, know that you’ve done so. We cannot guarantee that we’ll accommodate such requests but we do take them seriously and do our best to honor them.  Most advisers are professors from Near Eastern Studies, but exceptions can be made if the thesis topic warrants this.  

I would like to spend part or most of my junior year abroad. How do I take NES 300 and complete my junior paper?

Juniors who are abroad during the fall of their junior year may take NES 300 in the fall of their senior year. You will work by email with your adviser to complete the junior paper.

Can I use courses offered by other departments and not cross-listed with NES to fulfill my departmental requirements?

Yes. Up to three of your departmental courses may be cognate courses, but you must receive the Director of Undergraduate Studies’ approval that the courses you wish to include do in fact count as cognates for Near Eastern Studies. To receive approval, please email a brief description of the course and a copy of the syllabus to Prof. Eve Krakowski (

Can I earn a Certificate in Near Eastern Languages and Cultures as an NES major?

Yes. Any student who achieves proficiency in Arabic, Persian, Turkish, or Hebrew and fulfills the requirements may receive a Certificate in Language and Culture. Students must contact Mr. James LaRegina ( sometime during their senior year to arrange this.

Can I earn a Certificate in Near Eastern Studies as an NES Major?

No. The Certificate in Near Eastern Studies is for students majoring in other departments who have taken a critical mass of NES courses and achieved basic proficiency in a Near Eastern language.

How is my departmental GPA calculated?

Your departmental GPA is based on the eight departmental courses you have taken in NES (including NES 300). If you have taken more than eight courses that might count as departmentals, you may choose which courses to count when emailing your final plan of study to Mr. LaRegina at the end of your senior year.

What is the senior comprehensive exam? Does my exam grade factor into my GPA?

The senior comprehensive exam is a one-hour discussion with your adviser and second reader about your thesis, your experiences in the department, and your future plans. You should come to the exam prepared to discuss your research process and conclusions and to answer any questions posed by your readers in their evaluation forms. You will receive a grade for the exam that will appear on your transcript but will not factor into your GPA.