Skip to main content

Inner Asian and Altaic Studies

For the past 50 years, the Inner Asian and Altaic Studies PhD program has been a center for the study of Inner Asia in the United States.

You will have the flexibility to study across broad disciplines and fields of study working with faculty across all the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. This enables you to develop a plan of study that best suits your interests and needs.

You will have access to an outstanding collection in many languages, including Arabic, Chinese, Indian, Iranian, Mongolian, Machu, Russian, Tibetan, and Turkish at the Widener, Harvard-Yenching, Houghton, Dumbarton Oaks, Tozzer, and Fine Arts Libraries.

Examples of student projects include “Tending to Unite? The Origins of Uyghur Nationalism,” “Islam in Translation: Muslim Reform and Transnational Networks in Modern China, 1908-1957,” and “Slavery and Empire in Central Asia.”

Graduates have secured faculty positions at prestigious institutions such as Yale University, University of Sydney, Princeton University, and Boğaziçi University in Turkey. Others have gone on to leadership roles at the Harvard-Yenching Institute and The Silk Road Project and other research positions.

Additional information on the graduate program is available from the Committee on Inner Asian and Altaic Studies and requirements for the degree are detailed in Policies.

Admissions Requirements

Please review admissions requirements and other information before applying. You can find degree program-specific admissions requirements below and access additional guidance on applying from the Committee on Inner Asian and Altaic Studies.

Writing Sample

A writing sample is required as part of the application and should be on a topic relevant to the area in which the applicant intends to pursue their doctoral degree. It should be no more than 20 pages plus citations. The use of primary source materials is highly recommended. 


Applicants are expected to be proficient in at least one foreign language—for example, Arabic, Chinese, Persian, Russian, Tibetan, or Turkish—relevant to the student's area and field of study.

Standardized Tests

GRE General: Required
iBT TOEFL minimum score: 100
IELTS minimum score: 7.5


See list of Inner Asian and Altaic Studies faculty


Degrees Offered


Questions about the Program?

Department of Inner Asian and Altaic Studies