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Near Eastern Languages & Civilizations (NELC)

Arabic & Hebrew Literatures - program requirements


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NELC’s graduate program in Arabic/Hebrew Literatures offers advanced study of Arabic and Hebrew languages and literatures in modern and pre-modern settings. In general, the student is to follow the general procedures of the department, but the following statements outline the regulations specific to the PhD program in Arabic /Hebrew Literatures.

Students in the Arabic/Hebrew Literatures program are expected to command Arabic and Hebrew as primary research languages and, if required, a secondary research language (to be determined in consultation with Adviser), as well as literary criticism and comparative literary theory. The specific distribution of courses varies by a student’s interests and specialization.



Students are expected to work out the broad outlines of their programs in consultation with their faculty Advisers when they begin their studies. Expectations for individual students will be conveyed in writing to the Graduate Group Chair, with updates provided as necessary. 

Students may choose a concentration in either the medieval or the modern periods. 

NOTE: Because of the comparative nature of this program, all students will work out the precise requirements of their program with the Faculty Adviser for the Program in NELC. 


Students applying for admission to this PhD program in NELC will be expected to have completed at least 6 semesters of language coursework (the equivalent of the Advanced Level [ILR 2] on the ACTFL scale of language-proficiency) in one of the two languages (Arabic and Hebrew), and 4 semesters in the second language (the equivalent of Intermediate [ILR 1]). 


The course requirements of the program will involve THREE components, for a total of 20 graduate course units: 

  1. Courses in the Literatures of Arabic & Hebrew (6 courses in each literary tradition);
  2. Course in Comparative Literature Studies, to be taken (after consultation with the Faculty Adviser) in NELC, Comp. Lit., or English (2 courses);
  3. Course in the Cultural Background to both literary traditions (3 courses in each).