This program encompasses the study of ancient and modern peoples, languages, literatures, cultures, and societies of the Near and Middle East. Languages include Akkadian, Arabic, Aramaic, Armenian, Babylonian, Egyptian, Hebrew, Iranian, Persian, Sumerian, Turkish, and Yiddish. The program has three major fields of study: ancient Near Eastern studies, Jewish history and culture, and histories and cultures of Muslim societies.
You will work with a world-renowned faculty and unparalleled resources in the various fields of Near Eastern studies with the Harvard library system, museums, and centers of learning. You will have the opportunity to study abroad. Previous field trip destinations include Israel, Morocco, Turkey, Tunis, Rome, and Germany.
Examples of student theses and dissertations include "The Ark of the Covenant and Divine Rage in the Hebrew Bible,” “The Cult of the Deified King in Ur III Mesopotamia,” and “Looking for the Human: Sufism, Subjectivity, and Modernity in Iran.”
Graduates of the program have gone on to secure faculty positions at Stanford University, Georgetown University, and Harvard University. Others have gone into careers as a New Jersey state representative, a fiscal policy analyst at the Massachusetts State House, and a position at Hendrickson Publishing Group.
Additional information on the graduate program is available from the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations and requirements for the degree are detailed in GSAS Policies.
Please review GSAS admissions requirements and other information before applying. You can find degree program-specific admissions requirements below and access additional guidance on applying from the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations.
A writing sample is required as part of the application and should be a term paper, senior thesis, master’s essay. There is not a specified length for the writing sample, however, keep in mind that the admissions committee may not have time to examine a large writing sample in its entirety.
For the Master of Arts (AM) program: Applicants will normally have attained a basic knowledge of a Near Eastern language central to their field of concentration. In addition, advanced reading knowledge of either French or German is required.
For the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) program: Applicants will normally have attained an ability to read and comprehend sources in the Near Eastern language central to their field of concentration. In addition, advanced reading knowledge of French or German is required.