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College of Arts and Sciences

Near Eastern Languages and Civilization

220D Denny Hall
(206) 543-6033
Website
Faculty Website
neareast@uw.edu

The Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilization (NELC) is devoted to the study of the principal cultures and languages of the Near and Middle East, including Central Eurasia. NELC explores the contemporary cultural diversity of the region, its ancient and medieval roots, and its relevance to modern civilizations. Our graduates acquire the knowledge and practical skills that prepare them to succeed in a variety of careers, including academia, diplomacy, technology, and business.

 Undergraduate Programs


Near Eastern Languages and Civilization

A-Wing Suite 002 Padelford Hall
206-685-3743
has-center@uw.edu

 Program of Study: Major: Near Eastern Studies


Program Overview

The Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilization provides a liberal arts education in new global realities and their connections specifically to history of culture in the Near East and Central Asia. A detailed and critical knowledge of ancient and modern languages of these regions is of utmost importance for a better understanding of their rich cultural heritages, and development of language skills requires cultural-historical knowledge.

This program of study leads to the following credentials:
  • Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in Near Eastern Studies: Biblical and Ancient Near Eastern Studies
  • Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in Near Eastern Studies: Comparative Civilizations
  • Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in Near Eastern Studies: Languages and Cultures
Recommended Preparation

Suggested First- and Second-Year College Courses: Courses in any discipline that deals with the Near East. Courses in writing, history, literature, comparative religion, French, and German are also recommended. Students should begin their studies of Near Eastern languages as soon as possible.

Admission Requirements

Students in good academic standing may declare this major at any time.

 Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in Near Eastern Studies: Biblical and Ancient Near Eastern Studies


Credential Overview

The Hebrew Bible and Ancient Near Eastern Studies Program offers a diverse array of topical courses in translation on biblical and other ancient Near Eastern topics. The Program also includes a two-year sequence in biblical Hebrew language. The inductive method that we employ allows students to read from the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) by the end of the second quarter of the first year. Thereafter students take courses on biblical Hebrew prose texts, biblical poetry, and ancient inscriptions. The final quarter of the second year we typically devote to biblical Aramaic for those who have taken the Hebrew sequence. Periodically we offer courses on hieroglyphic Egyptian, Ugaritic, and Akkadian (the latter two invariably for students who have had at least two years of biblical Hebrew).

Completion Requirements

72 credits

  1. Gateway Course (5 credits): NEAR E 101
  2. NEAR E 201 and NEAR E 202
  3. Two years of Biblical Hebrew or its equivalent as evidenced by examination. Alternatively a student may satisfy this language requirement by combining a minimum four quarters of Biblical Hebrew with two quarters of other ancient Near Eastern languages, including Aramaic, Ge'ez, hieroglyphic Egyptian, Coptic, Akkadian, second-year Greek, or other appropriate languages as approved by adviser and/or faculty (30 credits)
  4. Senior Seminar (2 credits): NEAR E 491
  5. Near East Electives (25 credits): Supporting coursework from the following categories: advanced literature - 300- or 400-level courses from NEAR E or language prefixes; second ancient Near Eastern language (must not exceed 15 credits); approved relevant exceptions from other departments (must not exceed 15 credits). NEAR E 498 may be used toward this requirement.
  6. A senior essay on a topic in Biblical and ancient Near Eastern studies (5 credits)
  7. At least 22 of the 72 required credits must be taken in residence through the department.

 Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in Near Eastern Studies: Comparative Civilizations


Credential Overview

The Near Eastern Comparative Civilizations track offers a wide exposure to the languages, literature, and cultures of the Near East. The diverse languages available to students are Arabic, Persian, Turkish, Modern Hebrew, and Turkic, including Uzbek and Uighur. Language courses at the 100, 200, and 400 levels will develop student's linguistic skill in oral and written forms. In addition, Near Eastern elective courses on various levels in English introduce students to a wide range of ethnic and religious cultures from the Near East. Through a selection of courses students develop a firm knowledge of geographical, historical and modern cultures in a region or regions of their choice in Near East. As such, the Comparative Civilizations track places an emphasis on a depth of area knowledge of the Near East. One feature of this is that in their final year student works with a NELC faculty member to produce a Senior Essay.

Completion Requirements

72 credits

  1. Gateway Course (5 credits): NEAR E 101
  2. One introductory (200 level) course on the Near East (5 credits)
  3. Primary Language (30 credits): Two years of one Near Eastern language, or its equivalent as evidenced by examination
  4. Senior Seminar (2 credits): NEAR E 491
  5. Senior essay on a topic of Near Eastern civilization (5 credits): NEAR E 498
  6. Near East Electives (25 credits): Supporting coursework at the 300 level or above (maximum 15 credits of approved exceptions)
  7. At least 22 of the 72 required credits must be taken in residence through the department.

 Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in Near Eastern Studies: Languages and Cultures


Credential Overview

The Near Eastern Language and Cultures track offers a wide exposure to the languages, literature, and cultures of the Near East. The diverse languages available to students are Arabic, Persian, Turkish, Modern Hebrew, and Turkic, including Uzbek and Uighur. Language courses at the 100, 200, and 400 levels will develop students linguistic skill in oral and written forms. In addition, Near Eastern elective courses taught in English will also introduce students to a wide range of cultures from the Near East. Finally, the Languages and Civilizations track places an emphasis on real world language skills as well as classical forms of the languages. The program prepares students for eventual study and work in the Near East.

Completion Requirements

69 credits

  1. Gateway Course (5 credits): NEAR E 101
  2. One introductory (200 level) course on the Near East (5 credits)
  3. Primary Language (30 credits): Two years of one Near Eastern language, or its equivalent as evidenced by examination
  4. Advanced level coursework in primary language (10 credits): Advanced literature or text courses in primary language
  5. Senior Seminar (2 credits): NEAR E 491
  6. Near East Electives (20 credits): Supporting coursework from the following categories: advanced literature: 300- or 400-level courses from NEAR E or language prefixes; second Near Eastern language (must not exceed 15 credits); approved relevant exceptions from other departments (must not exceed 15 credits). NEAR E 498 may be used toward this requirement.
  7. At least 22 of the 72 required credits must be taken in residence through the department.

 Program of Study: Minor: Near Eastern Languages and Civilization


Program Overview

The Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilization provides a liberal arts education in new global realities and their connections specifically to history of culture in the Near East and Central Asia. A detailed and critical knowledge of ancient and modern languages of these regions is of utmost importance for a better understanding of their rich cultural heritages, and development of language skills requires cultural-historical knowledge.

This program of study leads to the following credentials:
  • Minor in Arabic
  • Minor in Modern Hebrew
  • Minor in Near Eastern Languages and Civilization
  • Minor in Persian
  • Minor in Turkic Languages
  • Minor in Turkish

 Minor in Arabic


Credential Overview

The Arabic minor enriches students' education by providing advanced proficiency in language skills and by enhancing understanding of how people in the Near East, North Africa, the Horn of Africa, and Islamic cultures experience the world. This minor serves as an excellent complement for those studying in various fields, including business, political science, and international studies.

Recommended Preparation

ARAB 103 or equivalent

Completion Requirements

30 credits

  1. 15 credits from one of the following: (1) ARAB 201, ARAB 202, ARAB 203; (2) ARAB 205
  2. Upper-division courses with ARAB prefix (10 credits)
  3. Elective coursework (5 credits): refer to department website for a list of approved courses
  4. Minimum of 15 credits at the 300 or 400 level
  5. Minimum 2.00 cumulative GPA for courses applied to the minor
  6. Minimum 15 credits taken in residence through UW

The requirement to complete one or more of the language courses ARAB 201, ARAB 202, ARAB 203, or ARAB 205 may be satisfied by taking a placement exam and testing out. A successful placement exam does not count towards the 30-credit requirement. Students entering the UW with proficiency in Arabic beyond the second year of language training must take 20 credits of upper-division courses with the ARAB prefix. In addition, they must earn 10 credits of electives; refer to department website for a list of approved courses.

 Minor in Modern Hebrew


Credential Overview

The Modern Hebrew minor enriches students' education by providing advanced proficiency in language skills and by enhancing understanding of Jewish and Israeli culture. This minor serves as an excellent complement for those studying in various fields, including business, political science, and international studies.

Recommended Preparation

MODHEB 103 or equivalent

Completion Requirements

30 credits

  1. MODHEB 201, MODHEB 202, MODHEB 203 (15 credits)
  2. Upper-division courses with the MODHEB prefix (10 credits)
  3. Elective coursework (5 credits): refer to department website for a list of approved courses.
  4. Minimum of 15 credits at the 300 or 400 level
  5. Minimum 2.00 cumulative GPA for courses applied to the minor
  6. Minimum 15 credits taken in residence through UW

The requirement to complete one or more of the language courses MODHEB 201, MODHEB 202, MODHEB 203 may be satisfied by taking a placement exam and testing out. A successful placement exam does not count towards the 30-credit requirement. Students entering the UW with proficiency in Hebrew beyond the second year of language training must take 20 credits of upper-division courses with the MODHEB prefix. In addition, they must earn 10 credits of electives; refer to department website for a list of approved courses.

 Minor in Near Eastern Languages and Civilization


Credential Overview

The Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilization provides a liberal arts education in new global realities and their connections specifically to history of culture in the Near East and Central Asia. A detailed and critical knowledge of ancient and modern languages of these regions is of utmost importance for a better understanding of their rich cultural heritages, and development of language skills requires cultural-historical knowledge.

Completion Requirements

30 credits

  1. NEAR E 101 (5 credits)
  2. Two introductory courses (200-level) on the Near East (10 credits)
  3. 15 additional credits from Near Eastern civilization or advanced-level language courses (may not include language courses at the beginning or intermediate level).

 Minor in Persian


Credential Overview

The Persian minor enriches students' education by providing advanced proficiency in language skills and by enhancing understanding of Iranian and Islamic cultures. This minor serves as an excellent complement for those studying in various fields, including business, political science, and international studies.

Recommended Preparation

PRSAN 103 or equivalent

Completion Requirements

30 credits

  1. PRSAN 201, PRSAN 202, PRSAN 203 (15 credits)
  2. Upper-division courses with the PRSAN prefix (10 credits)
  3. Elective coursework (5 credits): refer to department website for a list of approved courses
  4. Minimum of 15 credits at the 300 or 400 level
  5. Minimum 2.00 cumulative GPA for courses applied to the minor
  6. Minimum 15 credits taken in residence through UW

The requirement to complete one or more of the language courses PRSAN 201, PRSAN 202, PRSAN 203 may be satisfied by taking a placement exam and testing out. A successful placement exam does not count towards the 30-credit requirement. Students entering the UW with proficiency in Persian beyond the second year of language training must take 20 credits of upper-division courses with the PRSAN prefix. In addition, they must earn 10 credits of electives; refer to department website for a list of approved courses.

 Minor in Turkic Languages


Credential Overview

The Turkic minor enriches students' education by providing advanced proficiency in language skills and by enhancing understanding of Central Asian cultures. This minor serves as an excellent complement for those studying in various fields, including business, political science, and international studies.

Recommended Preparation

either KAZAKH 103, UYGUR 103, UZBEK 103, or equivalent.

Completion Requirements

30 credits

  1. Language courses: 15 credits at the second-year level, chosen from one of the following: (1) KAZAKH 201, KAZAKH 202, KAZAKH 203; (2) UYGUR 201, UYGUR 202, UYGUR 203; (3) UZBEK 201, UZBEK 202, UZBEK 203
  2. Upper-division courses with the TURKIC prefix (10 credits)
  3. Elective coursework (5 credits): refer to department website for a list of approved courses
  4. Minimum of 15 credits at the 300 or 400 level
  5. Minimum 2.00 cumulative GPA for courses applied to the minor
  6. Minimum 15 credits taken in residence through UW

The requirement to complete one or more of the language courses may be satisfied by taking a placement exam and testing out. A successful placement exam does not count towards the 30-credit requirement. Students entering the UW with proficiency in a Turkic language beyond the second year of language training must take 20 credits of upper-division courses with the TURKIC prefix. In addition, they must earn 10 credits of electives; refer to department website for a list of approved courses.

 Minor in Turkish


Credential Overview

The Turkish minor enriches students' education by providing advanced proficiency in language skills and by enhancing understanding of Turkish and Ottoman cultures. This minor serves as an excellent complement for those studying in various fields, including business, political science, and international studies.

Recommended Preparation

TKISH 103 or equivalent

Completion Requirements

30 credits

  1. TKISH 201, TKISH 202, TKISH 203 (15 credits)
  2. Upper-division courses with the TKISH prefix (10 credits)
  3. Elective coursework (5 credits): refer to department website for a list of approved courses.
  4. Minimum of 15 credits at the 300 or 400 level
  5. Minimum 2.00 cumulative GPA for courses applied to the minor
  6. Minimum 15 credits taken in residence through UW

The requirement to complete one or more of the language courses TKISH 201, TKISH 202, TKISH 203 may be satisfied by taking a placement exam and testing out. A successful placement exam does not count towards the 30-credit requirement. Students entering the UW with proficiency in Turkish beyond the second year of language training must take 20 credits of upper-division courses with the TKISH prefix. In addition, they must earn 10 credits of electives; refer to department website for a list of approved courses.

Additional Information

Student Outcomes and Opportunities

  • Learning Objectives and Expected Outcomes: The NELC undergraduate degree offers a liberal arts education with a particular focus on the study of cultures and languages of the Near East and Central Asia. Educational outcomes from this degree serve a broad spectrum of undergraduates, ranging from those intending to begin the acquisition of specific linguistic and cultural proficiencies for the purpose of pursuing some career, academic or otherwise, related to these regions, to students for whom the Near East and/or Central Asia are regions with histories and cultures that are of special intellectual or personal interest. Students often combine Near Eastern studies as a double major with some other degree program that may be in a quite different discipline. For these students the NELC undergraduate major offers the important opportunity, as a core element in a broader liberal arts education, for expanding their cultural vision and understanding in ways made possible only through serious study of a language and literature other than one's own. Graduates from the BA degree have followed a wide range of post-baccalaureate paths, including further graduate study in the humanities or social sciences, professional degree programs in law or medicine, and employment with government or non-governmental organizations.
  • Instructional and Research Facilities: The department draws on collections of books, serials, and other resources in the UW libraries that are unusually rich in the quantity and quality of items relating to Near Eastern and Central Asian languages and cultures. Students in the department's language classes make use of the University's well-equipped Language Learning Center.
  • Honors Options Available: With College Honors (Completion of Honors core curriculum and Departmental Honors); With Honors (Completion of Departmental Honors requirements in the major). See adviser for requirements.
  • Research, Internships, and Service Learning: Undergraduate research is carried out under the supervision of faculty members. Students can also undertake research and internship opportunities while studying abroad.
  • Department Scholarships: See departmental website for most current information.
  • Student Organizations/Associations: There are no formal student organizations in the department, but the department frequently sponsors educational and cultural events organized by students and faculty involved in interest groups such as the Central Asian Circle or the Persian Circle.

 Graduate Program


Near Eastern Languages and Civilization

(206) 543-6033
neareast@uw.edu

 Program of Study: Master Of Arts (Near Eastern Languages And Civilization)


Program Overview

The department offers a graduate program of studies leading to the master of arts degree, designed to provide students advanced training in at least one Near Eastern language and in a field of specialization. Students may concentrate in Arabic, Hebrew, Persian, Turkish, or Central Asian Turkic and may choose as their field of specialization a civilization or literature related to their language of concentration. The program is intended both for students who wish to continue their studies at the doctoral level and for students who wish to pursue careers in government or business.

This program of study leads to the following credential:
  • Master Of Arts (Near Eastern Languages And Civilization)
Admission Requirements

Contact department for requirements.

 Master Of Arts (Near Eastern Languages And Civilization)


Completion Requirements

36 credits

  1. Coursework determined in consultation with M.A. committee to prepare for written examinations.
  2. Reading knowledge of French or German; or, with the prior approval of the student's MA committee, any other language pertinent to the research in the student's field of study. Normally, to satisfy this requirement, the student must pass a reading exam before beginning the second year of study towards the M.A.
  3. A seminar paper representing the student's best work OR a thesis
  4. Written examinations including: (1) general culture of the Near East, (2) student's field of specialization, (3) student's language of concentration, (4) second Near Eastern language related to the language of concentration