Near Eastern Studies Major Requirements

(Also see Requirements for a Bachelor's Degree.)

The ancient Near East is where history begins. It is where the first crops were sown, the first towns built, and where writing was first invented. The origins of Western culture are to be found in its great civilizations, from the three great monotheistic religions—Christianity, Islam, and Judaism—to everyday aspects of our life that we take for granted, such as the alphabet and marking time by hours and minutes. The Near Eastern studies major can be the focal point of a broad liberal arts education, as well as a basis for graduate study. An undergraduate major can specialize in one of the four main areas of specialization of the department - Egyptology, Assyriology, Northwest Semitic languages and literatures (including the Hebrew Bible), and Near Eastern Archaeology and Art - or in the civilizations of the ancient Near East in general.

Students must earn a “C-“ or higher grade in all courses used to satisfy major requirements and courses may not be taken satisfactory/unsatisfactory.

Introductory Courses
Select two of the following:6
Ancient Near Eastern Civilizations
Gods and Monsters in Ancient Egypt
Pyramids, Temples and Tombs
Hebrew Bible / Old Testament
Diplomacy and Conflict in the Ancient Middle East
Upper-Level Core Courses
Select two of the following:6
History of Ancient Syria-Palestine
History: Ancient Syria-Palestine II
History of Ancient Mesopotamia (when offered)
History of Mesopotamia II (when offered)
Four 300-level courses in a focus area of art and archaeology, history and culture, or language 112
Three Near Eastern Studies courses at any level9
AS.130.420Seminar in Research Methods in Near Eastern Studies: Religion and Science3
Total Credits36

Note: AS.130.420 Seminar in Research Methods in Near Eastern Studies: Religion and Science - This writing intensive seminar covers different selected topics in order help students develop skills in specific research areas such as critical reading, analysis, interpretation, and writing. Specific topics vary each semester. AS.130.420 Seminar in Research Methods in Near Eastern Studies: Religion and Science is required of NES Majors, but is also open to non-majors who have taken at least one 100-level and one 300-level Near Eastern Civilization course, or with the consent of the instructor. It is recommended that NES majors take the class during their sophomore or junior years.

Sample Program of Study

A typical path toward degree completion might include the following sequence of courses:

First Year
First SemesterCreditsSecond SemesterCredits
Near Eastern elective at any level #13Required intro course #13
 3 3
Second Year
First SemesterCreditsSecond SemesterCredits
Required intro course #23Near Eastern elective at any level #23
 Course in focus area at 300 level #13
 3 6
Third Year
First SemesterCreditsSecond SemesterCredits
Required upper level core course #13Required upper level core course #23
AS.130.4203Course in focus area at 300 level #23
 6 6
Fourth Year
First SemesterCreditsSecond SemesterCredits
Course in focus area at 300 level #33Course in focus area at 300 level #43
Near Eastern elective at any level #33 
 6 3
Total Credits 36

Honors

Those seniors wishing to be considered for departmental honors may choose to write a senior thesis. A student must maintain a 3.5 GPA in the major (through the junior year) to be eligible for departmental honors. It is advisable for such students to contact a faculty member to supervise the thesis during the spring semester of their junior year. The student should then register for two semesters of independent study in the senior year.