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 $90.00, payable by major credit card.

 A complete application consists of:

  • Application
  • Personal Statement. Your statement should include your career/research goals, how NELC's program can help you achieve those goals and which faculty members, if any, with whom you'd like to work.
  • 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. There is no minimum sscore to apply. The average scores of admitted students are 165/160/5.0. Scores should not be older than 5 years and tests should be taken by December 15, 2018. Report scores to Institution Code 2926; Department Code 2699.
  • TOEFL score or IELTS score for non-native speakers of English. There is no minimum score to apply. However, most admitted students achieve an average score of 100 or above on the TOEFL exam and 6.0 on the IELTS. Applicants who have received a BA or MA degree in the United States may request a waiver of the TOEFL requirement by emailing Scores should not be older than 2 years and tests should be taken by December 15, 2018. Report scores to Institution Code 2926; Department Code 57.
  • 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 online application opens on October 1, 2018 at