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Kamran Scot Aghaie, Chair CAL 528 | 204 W 21st St F9400 | Austin, TX 78712-1029 • 512-471-3881

Doctor of Philosophy in Middle Eastern Languages and Cultures

The doctoral program in Middle Eastern Languages and Cultures offers graduate training in the following core areas within the Department:

  1. Arabic linguistics (theoretical and applied) - Admission closed for 2015-16 academic year
  2. Middle Eastern literatures & cultures (Arabic, Persian, Hebrew) - Accepting applications until Dec. 15
  3. Islamic Studies - Accepting applications until Dec. 15
  4. Hebrew Bible/Ancient Near East - Please note that Professors Huehnergard and Hackett will not serve as the primary dissertation supervisors for students admitted for fall 2015 and later. However, Professors Pat-El and Kaplan will continue to serve as dissertation supervisors.

Admission Requirements

Admission to the doctoral program in Middle Eastern Languages and Cultures requires a master's degree in a Middle Eastern or related field and demonstrated language proficiency and academic writing abilities in English. Students of living languages are expected to have reached an advanced level on a nationally recognized scale.

Biblical Hebrew/Ancient Near East applicants must have completed at least three years of college-level Biblical Hebrew. Intermediate proficiency in German or a second ancient Semitic language is also required.

GPA Requirement

All students must maintain a minimum 3.50 GPA in order to remain in good standing. If a student happens to fall between a 3.00 - 3.50 in a given semester, he/she will enter probation and have one semester to bring their grades back above a 3.50. Failure to do so could result in dismissal from the program. Students must possess at least a 3.50 in order to graduate from the program.


PhD students in living languages normally take three years of coursework in their area of concentration beyond the MA degree. PhD students in Hebrew Bible/Ancient Near East normally take four years of coursework after admission to the program. Before taking the comprehensive exams, each student must demonstrate, through formal testing, proficiency in the language required by her/his major field. Reading knowledge in one research language is required and must be demonstrated by passing a reading test administered by the department.

To be admitted to candidacy for the degree, the student must pass comprehensive written and oral examinations. The purpose of the comprehensive exams is to certify that the student has mastered a sufficient breadth and depth of knowledge for an academic career and has the skills and abilities required to complete a doctoral dissertation. The exams in most tracks must be taken by the beginning of the fourth year of the program. HB/ANE students take their exams at the end of the third year. After passing these examinations, the candidate sets up a dissertation committee with the help of his/her supervisor. This committee approves the dissertation proposal, guides the student in writing and revising the dissertation, and administers the final oral defense.

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