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Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations

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Questions about these requirements? See the contact info at the bottom of the page. 

Master of Arts (AM)

The AM degree is a terminal degree.


There is a minimum residence requirement of one year. The AM degree is designed to be completed in one year. However, students may elect to complete the degree over two years. The student’s advisor must submit a letter of explanation to the department should the student require more than two years to complete the AM degree.


It is the rule of the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations that no graduate student shall be permitted more than one grade of Incomplete per term. The student must complete the work of the course for which an Incomplete was granted within the following term and a letter grade will be recorded. Otherwise the Incomplete will stand in the student’s permanent record. No more than two permanent Incompletes will be permitted, nor will any permanent Incomplete be allowed for a required course. If a student accumulates more than two permanent Incompletes, the student will be required to withdraw, unless the faculty determines by a two-thirds majority vote that extraordinary circumstances warrant an extension, which shall in no case exceed one term.

Harvard Griffin GSAS Requirements

Students are responsible for meeting the “Common Requirements."

General Field Requirements

Each field of study has particular course requirements. These are specified in the field’s written program description, both basic requirements and optional requirements for various directions within the field. Students are expected to consult with the advisor(s) in their fields concerning these requirements.

Program of Study

The advising committee must approve the student’s program of study at the time of registration. One of the members of the department will act as primary advisor. The AM degree is awarded upon completion with passing grade (B or above) of at least eight and no more than twelve four-credit courses, of which at least two must be seminars or their equivalents, and upon completion of any additional requirements of the individual program.

Languages of Modern Scholarship

Advanced reading knowledge of either French or German is ordinarily required before admission. The student will be tested on that language at the beginning of the first term. If the competence level is insufficient, the student is expected to pass the departmental French/German examination by the end of the first term. In some fields, knowledge of an additional language may be required. The level of competence in the second language will be determined by the student’s advisor(s).

Note: Courses in the languages of modern scholarship do not count toward the required eight to twelve four-credit courses (see above).

Satisfactory Progress

At the end of every fall term, the faculty discusses the progress of each student; if there are problems, a letter is sent to the student at that time. At the end of every spring term, the faculty again reviews the progress of each graduate student and, in accordance with graduate school policy, assigns a status of “satisfactory,” “grace,” or “unsatisfactory.” The terms “grace” and “unsatisfactory” are defined at the beginning in Chapter VI.


Students will submit an AM paper, the subject and scope of which will be determined in direct consultation with their advisor.

Contact Info

Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations Website

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