Department of Middle Eastern Studies
Department of Middle Eastern Studies

Frequently Asked Questions

Most commonly asked questions can be found in this section. Please note, all applicants are expected to review the Graduate Admissions section of the Graduate and International Admissions Center (GIAC) webpage for a list of minimum requirements and other important university admission information.  






GRE required?
TOEFL/IELTS required?
Average Test Scores
Department code
University code




What is the application deadline?

We begin processing applications immediately after the firm December 15th; 11:59 pm (CST) deadline. Due to internal processes and the time required to review applications, late and/or incomplete applications will not be reviewed by the Admissions Committee. 



When are supplemental materials due? 

(test scores, Statement of Purpose, Letters of Recommendation, Writing Sample, transcripts)

All application materials are due on the firm December 15th; 11:59 pm (CST) deadline. Applications that are missing materials, including official test scores, letters of recommendation, or transcripts, will not be reviewed by the Admissions Committee.




Do you offer specific tracks or foci in the Master's program? 

(i.e. Persian Literature, Arabic, Teaching Arabic as a Foreign Language)

We do not offer specific tracks in our Master's program. The program is interdisciplinary in nature. You are expected to take courses that pertain to other countries and languages in the region as well as explore all political, cultural, and religious systems in the Middle East. The degree program is quite flexible, but students who are interested in the single discipline at the exclusion of others are encouraged to apply to other programs.




Is Arabic / Persian / Turkish / Hebrew a Core Area in the Ph.D. program?

Starting with the 2018-2019 academic year, the language tracks have been subsumed into either the Linguistics or Middle Eastern Literatures and Cultures core areas. Since our degrees are disciplinary-oriented, not language-oriented, and we aim to educate and mentor scholars and teachers of the languages and cultures of the Middle East; all language areas now reside within the above tracks. This enables us to educate and mentor scholars and teachers of the languages and cultures of the Middle East with the depth to support a sustained research career and the breadth to teach a range of courses on Middle Eastern topics.



Do you offer accelerated tracks? 

No. We do not offer accelerated tracks for any of our programs. A singular Master's degree is two academic years, dual MAs are typically completed in three academic years, and the Ph.D. program is five to six academic years. 



Are courses offered online?  Is it possible to complete a degree from a different location?

All courses for both the MA and Ph.D. programs must be taken in-residence (on campus). We do not offer online classes. 



What are the degree requirements for an MA?

The Master's graduate program has sustained a consistent level of attention to the breadth of study of the Middle East. The MA in Middle Eastern Studies is an interdisciplinary academic degree designed to broaden and deepen the student’s knowledge of the languages and cultures of the Middle East. CMES offers degree programs that promote global competence, in-depth knowledge, and professional expertise among MA students. Our program offers a comprehensive, comparative, interdisciplinary approach to Middle Eastern Studies, bridging the Colleges of Liberal Arts, Law, Communication, Business, and Education, and the School of Public Affairs. Coursework requirements are explained in detail here



What are the requirements for the Ph.D.?

In applying to the doctoral program, students select an area of study from among the following: linguistics (theoretical linguistics or language pedagogy), literatures/cultures, history, Hebrew Bible / ancient Near East, or Islamic Studies. Through the course of their studies, students develop methodological expertise in at least one of the following areas: textual analysis, literary theory, linguistic theory, or cultural theory. Degree and track requirements are explained in detail here



May I visit before applying to the program?

You are welcome to visit at any time. Please consult the lists of faculty and students on our website and correspond directly with those who work in areas of interest to you. Visitors are expected to make their own arrangements with faculty and students. Visitors are also welcome to schedule an appointment with Kelly Houck to discuss our degree programs and attend a graduate seminar.



What jobs do your graduates find? What are your placement rates?

Our record of Ph.D. placement is one of the best in the college. Since 2014 our graduates have found tenure-track positions at institutions such as NYU, University of Pennsylvania, the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, University of Tennessee Knoxville, University of Maryland, Brigham Young University, and Pennsylvania State University. 
For our Master's students, placement data demonstrates that our graduates are filling areas of national need in the public and private sectors. After completing the MA degree, students work in public service or in the private sector. Approximately 30% of our MA graduates continue to doctoral studies in their chosen academic discipline.



Admissions and Decisions


What is the admissions process?

Admissions at the University of Texas at Austin involves several offices, each with their own administrative processes and timelines. Applicants are not just applying to Middle Eastern Studies, but also the University and the Graduate School through the Graduate Office of Admissions. All applicants are expected to review the Graduate Admissions section of the Graduate and International Admissions Center (GIAC) webpage for a list of minimum requirements and other important university admission information. 



What are University requirements for admissions?

To be eligible for admission consideration, applicants must meet the Graduate School's minimum requirements. In general, the University's metrics in terms of test scores, GPA, and other data quantifiers are lower than Middle Eastern Studies. Please visit GIAC's website for a list of minimum requirements and other important university admission information.



What are program requirements for admissions?

Doctoral scholarship requires a high degree of language proficiency, students normally complete a Master of Arts in the discipline or area of concentration before acceptance into the Ph.D. program. Language requirements per academic track can be found here
At the Master's level, many applicants may enter the program after pursuing a BA in a related field. Applicants may be at any level in Arabic, Hebrew, Persian or Turkish. Most applicants will have at minimum one year of college-level instruction if not much more. Native or Heritage speakers of a Middle Eastern language will be required to learn an additional language. 



What is the GPA requirement? 

The Graduate School requires a minimum GPA of 3.0 on a four-point scale for admitted graduate students. The MES admissions committee will be looking for at least a 3.50 GPA (or approximate international equivalent) from your undergraduate and, if applicable, master's degree. Those with a GPA below the 3.50 minimum may still be considered for admission if all other application materials are compelling.



What are the average GRE / TOEFL scores for students admitted to the program?

Average GRE test scores range in the 90th percentile for verbal, 85th percentile for writing, and 55th percentile in analytics.
For the TOEFL/IELTS, the minimum scores considered acceptable for admission by the Graduate School are: TOEFL: 79 on the Internet-based test (iBT); IELTS: An overall band of 6.5 on the Academic Examination. MES expects applicants to achieve scores in the highest percentile in each testing category



When will I be notified of admissions decisions? 

Admissions decisions will be conveyed through MyStatus in February. 

Can I defer admission?

No. You must reapply during the next application cycle, but some of your applications materials may be reused. These are usually transcripts, test scores (if they have not expired) and recommendation letters. We strongly encourage you to submit an updated Statement of Purpose. 


The Application


How do I apply?

Application for graduate admission is a multi-step process. The application and a breakdown of all the required steps can be found here. The Application is located hereAfter you apply, keep up with it all by monitoring MyStatus.



What degree code do I use?

  • Ph.D. in Middle Eastern Languages and Cultures: 667800
  • MA in Middle Eastern Studies: 668000
  • Dual Degree Codes:
    •  Global Policy and MES: 647345
    •  Information Sciences and MES: 668650
    • Law and MES: 760570
    • Communication and MES: 668200
    • Public Affairs and MES: 668200
    • Business and MES: 668650


Is my application complete?

MyStatus offers applicants secure, individualized information from initial application submission to the final admission decision and beyond. Use it to track the receipt of submitted application materials, to upload required supporting documents, to confirm that your application file is complete, and to get your decision. After you submit your online application, you’ll receive an email (within 2-3 days) that will provide you with MyStatus login information. Use it often—it’s the only way you’ll know if items are missing from your application file.



How do I submit my letters of recommendation?

After you successfully submit and pay for the Apply Texas application, you will receive a notification from the Graduate Office of Admissions providing a link to the Document Upload System. This notification can take 24-48 hours to receive during peak periods. You will be given the opportunity to list the name, position, organization and email address for three recommenders when you complete the application. After you submit your application, emails will be sent to your recommenders directing them to a website where they may upload their letters. MyStatus offers a self-service feature you can use to resend the requested email to your recommenders, if necessary. 
You can monitor the successful uploading of these materials through the Status Check System, where you may also monitor the arrival of your recommendation letters. Letters are due on December 15 at 11:59 pm (CST)



How do I submit my transcripts?

An official transcript from every senior college you have attended. Even if courses taken at one institution are recorded on another college's transcript, transcripts must be submitted from the institution at which the courses were taken. Failure to list all colleges on the application and provide those transcripts will be considered an intentional omission and may lead to the cancellation of your application for admission or withdrawal of your offer of admission.
If your college or university uses the SPEEDE service you can have your transcript(s) sent electronically. Check with the registrar of your institution to find out if transcripts can be sent via the SPEEDE server. Otherwise, create and upload a PDF of the official paper transcript issued to you by the registrar using the Document Upload System. Complete guidelines for uploading transcripts are available in Instructions for Uploading Transcripts guide



How do I submit my test scores (GRE, TOEFL / IELTS)?

UT Austin's ETS code is 6882, there is no department code. The university generally receives scores four to six weeks after a test is taken if the university is designated as a score recipient at the time of testing. If you are sending scores from a prior test, the scores must still be valid at the start of the semester for which you are applying (within the last five years for the GRE and two years for the TOEFL or IELTS). Test scores are due by December 15, 11:59 pm (CST). 



How do I check the status of my application and application materials?

Please use MyStatus to monitor the arrival of your application materials and admissions decisions.



Frequently asked questions about the online application, ApplyTexas, can be found here

The following questions can be answered by MyStatus during the application cycle:

  • Is my application complete?
  • What is missing from my application?
  • Did you receive my test scores?
  • Have you received my letters of recommendation? 
  • Why was my transcript declined? 



How do I apply for funding?

All applicants are automatically considered for internal funding based on their application for admission. The only funding resource for which a separate application is required is the FLAS. 


What are the funding packages for Master's students?

We encourage our prospective and current students to apply for fellowships and scholarships that contribute to areas of national need, such as the Critical Language Scholarship, Boren, Fulbright, and FLAS fellowships. Many Master's students have received such fellowships in the past. The funding tied to these scholarships will drastically reduce yearly tuition rates by almost half and students are supported with monthly stipends during the award period. MA students are considered for internal scholarships and fellowships that reduce tuition in half. Only in exceptional cases are first-year MA students offered departmental funding during for their first semester. 



What are the funding packages for Ph.D. students?

Over the course of six years, our Ph.D. students are supported through a combination of fellowships and teaching appointments, as well as competitive external fellowships or other academic appointments for various centers and departments across the college and campus. With the exception of the targeted and centrally administered fellowships competitively offered by the Graduate School, each cohort of students receives similar funding packages. 



Are international students eligible for fellowships and TA funding?

Yes. All students admitted to our programs will be considered for funding, regardless of citizenship. 



What is FLAS?

The Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellowships (FLAS) Program provides grants to a select number of institutions to enable them to offer competitive academic year and summer fellowships to graduate and undergraduate students. Meritorious students use fellowships to pursue advanced training in modern foreign languages or international studies. Students receive a monthly stipend and up to $5,000 in tuition coverage per semester. You can learn more about the FLAS here



When are students notified of departmental funding offers?

The first wave of funding decisions will be sent to applicants in mid-February. Additional funding notifications will go out in early March and continue until mid-April. The final wave of notifications will occur after April 15.



What should the topic of the writing sample be?

There are no specifications on the topic of your writing sample. While something related to the program to which you are applying is ideal. Of greater importance is that the sample clearly illustrates your skills in research, writing, and analysis. The writing sample must be in English. 



I am a dual degree student, how many statements of purpose should I submit?

Applicants have the option to upload a single statement of purpose (one which addresses both programs in a single document) or they may upload two discrete statements, one for each program. (If the latter is selected, please clearly label each graduate program at the top of each PDF.)



I am a dual degree student, how many letters of recommendation should I submit?

As for recommendation letters, while a total of three letters is acceptable, dual-degree applicants should consider requesting more - up to six - so that something closer to three letters per program is possible.





Is the GRE required?

Yes. All applicants are required to take the GRE and submit their scores by the December 15 application deadline. This requirement cannot be waived. 


Am I required to take the TOEFL/IELTS?

International applicants who are from a country where English is the only official language are exempt from this requirement. Additionally, applicants are exempt from the requirement if they possess a bachelor's degree from a U.S. institution or an institution in a country where English is the only official language. The requirement is not waived for applicants who have earned a master's—but not a bachelor's—degree from a similar institution. 
Scores must be sent to the university by the testing agency (self-reported scores are not accepted). The Educational Testing Service (ETS) institution code for UT Austin is 6882. There is no institutional code for the IELTS examination. To fulfill the requirement with scores from the IELTS, have an official paper score report sent to the Graduate and International Admissions Center.



What are the average GRE / TOEFL scores for students admitted to the program?

Average GRE test scores range in the 90th percentile for verbal, 85th percentile for writing, and 55th percentile in analytics.
For the TOEFL/IELTS, the minimum scores considered acceptable for admission by the Graduate School are: TOEFL: 79 on the Internet-based test (iBT); IELTS: An overall band of 6.5 on the Academic Examination. MES expects applicants to achieve scores in the highest percentile in each testing category


What is the departmental code?

There is no departmental code. The institution code for UT Austin is 6882.


What is the university code?

The institution code for UT Austin is 6882.

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