Department of Middle Eastern Studies
Department of Middle Eastern Studies

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. Hebrew Bible / Ancient Near East - Degree Requirements
  2. Middle Eastern Literatures & Cultures (Arabic/Persian/Hebrew) - Degree Guidelines (2017-18 admission open for Persian & Hebrew, but closed for Arabic)
  3. Islamic Studies - Degree Guidelines
  4. Arabic linguistics (2017-18 admission closed)

GPA and Credit Hours 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. At least 30 credit hours are needed for PhD at UT Austin, which includes at least 6 credit hours of dissertation coursework. (MEL 399R + MEL 399W is the minimum requirement.) Most doctoral students will far exceed 30 credits. Credits that were applied to a master's degree at UT Austin may not be applied to the doctoral degree. 


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 also take three 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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