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What will I learn?

The Near East is a region of critical importance. As its many nations continue to play pivotal roles on the world stage, the need for firm knowledge about Near Eastern languages and cultures becomes increasingly clear. These languages and cultures are our specialty. Indeed, in NELC one can find experts in Arabic, Hebrew (ancient and modern), Persian, Turkish (Ottoman and Modern), Egyptian (hieroglyphic and Coptic), and the languages of Central Asia. Our courses offer great breadth, in terms of the number of different languages taught, and great depth, in terms of the historical range our courses cover (from ancient to medieval to modern periods). As a NELC graduate student, you will develop a thorough understanding of historical and cultural contexts and skills in critical analysis of texts, research procedures, and integrative thinking.

TIME LIMIT: Complete all degree requirements within six years.

NELC Department Graduate Program Requirements

I. The M.A. SUPERVISORY COMMITTEE: As early as possible, but no later than the end of the 3rd quarter of study, students should select a Supervisory Committee.
II. READING LISTS: A reading list serves as a guideline for students preparing for exams. These lists will include readings covered in the students’ coursework, plus additional material.
III. EXAMINATIONS: The scheduling of the exams is by agreement of the examiners and students. The M.A. exams are normally scheduled for students’ final quarter of M.A. study, however, the faculty may accept petitions for earlier examinations.

  • The Concentration Near Eastern Language Exam: Students must demonstrate knowledge at an advanced level of a Near East language. Students must take an exam or pass the third year series of NELC UW courses with a 3.5 or higher GPA.
  • The Second Near Eastern Language Exam: Students must demonstrate knowledge at the intermediate level of a Near East Language. Students must take an exam or pass the second year series of NELC UW courses with a 3.5 or higher GPA.
  • The Research Language Exam: Students must demonstrate a reading knowledge of a research language that is pertinent to the research in their area of study (French, German, etc). Students must take an exam or pass the first year series of UW courses with a 3.5 or higher GPA.
  • The General Culture of the Near East Exam: Students will take a written examination on the General Culture of the Near East. The exam will assume broad core knowledge of the Near East and comparative perspectives on the field. However, it will not be a standardized exam but rather suited to each student’s course of study.
  • Specialization Exam: This exam assesses students’ ability to analyze the scholarship produced in a particular field. They should be prepared to assess the accuracy of content in particular works and to demonstrate a strong grasp of the chronology of their discipline. Students will need to demonstrate an awareness of the major scholarly approaches to the subject and the important questions each has raised over time.

Which department am I in?

College of Arts and Sciences

Study options

Full Time (6 years)

Tuition fees
US$30,208.00 per year
Start date

Expected September 2022


University of Washington

Schmitz Hall, 1410 NE Campus Parkway,



98195, United States

Entry requirements

For students from United States

Prospective graduate students must meet the following minimum requirements: Hold a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited college or university in the U.S.1or its equivalent from a foreign institution; Have earned at least a 3.0 grade-point-average (on a 4 point scale) for the last 90 graded quarter credits or 60 graded semester credits. Other English Language Requirements: 580 paper-based TOEFL.

For international students

Students must have a BA and are strongly encouraged to have undertaken at least two years of formal language study in a Near East language before applying.

English Proficiency:

The Graduate School is temporarily accepting official test scores for both the Duolingo English Test and the TOEFL ITP Plus For China to assist international students with remote testing options. This policy is currently in effect through the autumn 2021 admission cycle (i.e., students enrolling in autumn 2021).

TOEFL iBT - Minimum Required Score (ELP Required): 80; Recommended Score (ELP Satisfied): 92 or higher

TOEFL pBT - Minimum Required Score: 500

Duolingo: Minimum Required Score (ELP Required): 105; Recommended Score (ELP Satisfied): 120 or higher

IELTS: Minimum Required Score 6.5

*There may be different IELTS requirements depending on your chosen course.


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