Students must complete 72 points of graduate course work, including at least three graduate seminars and Problems and Methods in Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies, MEIS-GA 1687. They must also demonstrate proficiency in one of Arabic, Persian, or Turkish as well as a reading knowledge sufficient for research purposes of at least one European language. A student may be required by his or her dissertation adviser to learn additional languages, in keeping with the student’s specific research needs.
As early as possible in their graduate studies, students should choose two major fields and begin focusing their studies on them. Subject to the availability of faculty, major fields may include Islamic studies; ancient Egyptian history/language/culture; classical Arabic language and literature; modern Arabic language and literature; Persian language and literature; and Turkish language and literature. Students primarily interested in Middle Eastern history should see below for information about the joint Ph.D. program in history and Middle Eastern studies. By the end of their third year of graduate study, students should have taken and passed a written comprehensive examination in each of their two major fields. Students prepare for these examinations by course work and by working through a reading list for each field under the supervision of the faculty member who will examine them; each examination will have a second reader as well. Each written comprehensive examination will be followed by an oral examination, administered by the two readers. Students who do not pass a major field examination may petition the department for permission to take it one more time.
After completing the major field requirements, the student should formulate a dissertation proposal, in consultation with his or her primary dissertation adviser as well as the faculty members on the student’s dissertation committee. On completion of all course work and the fulfillment of all language requirements, the student must successfully defend the dissertation proposal, with the student’s adviser and two other faculty members serving as examiners. The completed dissertation must conform to departmental and Graduate School of Arts and Science standards, be read and approved by the student’s supervisor and two other faculty members, and be defended in a public oral defense in which those three readers and two additional examiners participate.