Penn logo


Near Eastern Languages & Civilizations (NELC)

Applying for Graduate Study
in Near Eastern Languages & Civilizations



General information on the graduate application process, including deadlines, can be obtained from the admissions section of the Graduate Division’s website.

NELC offers both a Master's Program and a Ph.D. Program. You may apply directly to either program. (It is not necessary to apply for the Master's Program before going on to the Ph.D.)

There are no minimum requirements to apply. It is expected, however, that the applicant will have at least majored as an undergraduate in the field for which he/she is applying and so would have had a minimum of six semesters of their primary language as well as some literature, history or religion courses. Applicants not having this background may, in some circumstances, be admitted provisionally. Provisional courses do not count toward the graduate program and are taken at the student's expense regardless of fellowships awarded.

The fee to apply to the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences is $80.00.  Payments can be made by credit card, check or international postal money order written in U.S. currency and made payable to "The Trustees of the University of Pennsylania." A complete application consists of:

  • Application
  • Personal Statement
  • Three (3) Letters of Recommendation. Unfortunately, letters submitted through Interfolio cannot be uploaded into the application at this time. If you wish to use Interfolio for your recommendation letters, Interfolio MUST email the letters to
  • All academic transcripts of undergraduate courses and graduate courses, if any. These may be unofficial until admitted.
  • GRE scores (not older than 5 years). Report scores to Institution Code 2926; Department Code 2699.
  • TOEFL score or IELTS score for non-native speakers of English (not older than 2 years). Report scores to Institution Code 2926; Department Code 2699.
  • Writing Sample. A writing sample is not required  for any concentration but is strongly encouraged for all applicants. It may be of any length on any topic and should be indicative of your ability to research and write on a graduate level. Please submit only papers written in English.

Decisions are made without regard to the applicant's financial standing or need for support. Files accepted for admission are ranked in order for fellowships based on the strength of the application. 


The NELC Department strongly advises our applicants to apply on-line.  It is faster, more secure and allows the applicant to track the status of their application. Go to

If you are not able to apply online and need to submit a paper application, please notify us first by sending an email to  Mail the completed application and all supporting materials to the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences, 3401 Walnut Street, Suite 322A, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6228, USA.