Graduate Programs

The Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures at the Ohio State University offers Master of Arts (MA) degrees and Doctoral (PhD) degrees. Some of our graduate students have a PhD as their final goal. Of these, the majority come to our program for both the Master's and the PhD in sequence. Some students come for a PhD having earned their Master's at another university and may be granted advanced standing on account of their prior graduate studies. We also accept students for just the Master's degree, whose final goal is not necessarily a PhD but a career making use of expertise in Near Eastern languages and cultures.

Graduate students who come for a PhD with a Bachelor's degree will earn a Master's degree first, which normally takes two years (four semesters) to complete. The PhD typically requires two more years of advanced coursework and reading followed by one or two years of research and writing the dissertation.

Make Discoveries Bridging Fields

Our graduate program in Near Eastern Languages and Cultures is distinguished among its peers by its versatile, genuinely interdisciplinary curriculum and the breadth of its language offerings.

Our MA and PhD program curricula are designed to foster innovative projects in the study of the Near East that arise when materials from different established specialties are put together in productive ways. New avenues of research are discovered through training in more than one area or set of methods that may not have been brought together before. This prepares students to answer questions in Near Eastern studies that fall between traditionally configured sub-fields.

Our students are not restricted to one area or track. This is by design. Here you will benefit from the combinatory possibilities made available by the shared expertise of our fourteen professors in widely-ranging fields. Together our research materials range from ancient Mesopotamian cuneiform inscriptions to modern Near Eastern novels, our geographic range runs from the Maghrib to Central Asia and India, and our methods in themselves represent a history of modern scholarship in the humanities and beyond, from philology, historical linguistics and manuscript studies to folklore, critical theory, and anthropology.

Our present strengths are in the study of the Hebrew Bible and Jewish literary traditions, the Late Antique and Medieval Near East, modern literature in Arabic and Hebrew, Islamic Studies, and anthropological approaches to Near Eastern societies (with three or more faculty specialists for each of these areas). We have further concentrations of expertise (with at least two faculty mentors) in Judaeo-Arabic and comparative Semitics, subjects offered in only a small number of other graduate programs. Our resources for students wishing to combine the study of Arabic and Hebrew, or Islam and Judaism, are especially strong. We especially welcome applicants interested simultaneously in more than one of these various areas of study and who have research projects that will combine them.

Pursuing graduate study at the largest College of Arts and Sciences in the United States provides a wealth of opportunities to work in an interdisciplinary environment with many faculty members in other departments as well. Here you can work towards your PhD in Near Eastern studies while integrating offerings by faculty in other departments. OSU has strengths in fields such as late antique and Byzantine studies, in the history and religions of the ancient Mediterranean, in cultural studies and critical theory, and in a wide range of other fields that fruitfully intersect with those of our department. We encourage students with such interdisciplinary interests to apply.

Our department maintains an unusually wide range of language offerings. Besides our regular curricula in Arabic, Hebrew, Persian, Turkish, Uzbek, and Hindi, we offer courses in ancient Near Eastern languages such as Akkadian, Syriac, and Ugaritic, and ancient Iranian languages, such as Middle Persian and Parthian.