Department of Middle Eastern Studies
Department of Middle Eastern Studies

Language Examinations

Students must pass both the research language examination and the major language examination (if applicable) must before starting the comprehensive examination.


Research Language Examination (aka language of scholarship)

This reading exam is typically taken between the end of the 2nd year and the end of the 3rd year of the PhD (not including the MA portion). This is a pre-comps milestone. If the supervisor approves a substitution, s/he and the student may petition the Graduate Adviser for one. Program norms are as follows:

  • HB/ANE and theoretical linguistics:  Normally German. In HB/ANE, the exam is taken as soon as possible and not later than the beginning of the 3rd year.
  • Literature/Culture:  Normally French.
  • Theoretical Linguistics:  French or German.
  • Applied Linguistics:  2-3 statistics courses approved by the research supervisor.
  • Islamic Studies:  French or German.

Format:  This exam typically consists of several pages of text that the student must translate into English. The text commonly is selected from a book chapter or journal article. The exam may not exceed three hours. It is scheduled with, and proctored by, the MES Graduate Coordinator. The use of a dictionary, including an online dictionary, is permitted.


Major Language Examination

Only the Arabic program currently administers the major language exam.

This exam is typically taken between the end of the 2nd year and the end of the 3rd year of the PhD (not including the MA portion). This is a pre-comps milestone that all MELC doctoral students in Arabic must pass.

This examination determines a student's competencies in his/her major field language, including textual and grammatical competencies in a range of language varieites and genres.


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