Program Requirements

Graduate Degrees

The Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures offers the Master of Arts (M.A.) and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degrees in Near Eastern Languages and Cultures. It also offers the Master of Arts (M.A.) and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degrees in Islamic Studies.

  • Near Eastern Languages and Cultures (MA)

    Advising

    Students are assigned a guidance committee composed of an adviser and at least two other faculty members whose interests touch on their area of specialization. The adviser is named by the chair to serve on the student’s guidance committee.

    New students should make an advising appointment at the beginning of their first quarter. During this appointment, students and their advisers agree on a study list and their future program. In each subsequent quarter, it is the student’s responsibility to discuss their plans for that quarter with their adviser and obtain approval for their study list. If a student wishes to make changes in the study list after it is approved by the graduate adviser, the changes must be approved by the department chair or the graduate adviser before the student accesses the online enrollment system. Departmental policy requires the signature of the chair or the graduate adviser for approval of all petitions.

    Areas of Study

    Major fields of specialization are ancient Near Eastern civilizations, Arabic, Armenian, Hebrew, Iranian, Semitics, and Turkic. Students may concentrate on either language or literature in their selected field but are required to do work in both. In the field of ancient Near Eastern civilizations, the department also offers an archaeology emphasis.

    Foreign Language Requirement

    Students are required to pass an examination in one major modern research language other than English by the beginning of their fourth quarter in residence. Students in the master’s degree program specializing in Arabic study an Arabic dialect rather than a major modern research language. The choice of the language is determined in consultation with their adviser. Students may satisfy this requirement by one of the following methods: (1) a departmentally-administered examination with a minimum grade of B; or (2) two years of language instruction at a UC campus, with a grade of B or better. If students intend to continue toward the Ph.D. degree, it is strongly recommended that they acquire knowledge of a second major research language other than English while still a candidate for the M.A. degree.

    Course Requirements

    A minimum of nine upper division and graduate courses is required, of which at least six must be at the graduate level.

    In general, students choosing either the language, literature, or archaeology option are required to study two Near Eastern languages, one of which is considered the major language. Students in Semitics or in Old Iranian study three languages.

    In ancient Near Eastern civilizations, students may choose as their major language any of the following: ancient Egyptian (including Coptic), Akkadian, Aramaic (including Syriac), Hebrew (with Ugaritic and Phoenician), or Old Persian. For the second language, any of the above or Hittite or Sumerian may be chosen.

    Students in Hebrew choose Hebrew and another Semitic language. In Turkic, either two Turkic languages or Turkish and a second culturally related language may be chosen. In Arabic, Armenian and Iranian (modern), a major language and a second culturally related language are chosen.

    Students in Semitics are required to study three Near Eastern languages, at least two of which should be Semitic (the third may be Hittite or Sumerian). In Old Iranian, Persian, Sanskrit, and Old and Middle Iranian are studied.

    Sixteen units of course 596 may be applied toward the total course requirement; eight units may be applied toward the minimum graduate course requirement.

    Teaching Experience

    Not required but recommended.

    Field Experience

    Not required.

    Comprehensive Examination Plan

    In general, students are required to take written final comprehensive examinations in their major and minor languages, as well as the history and literature of their major field. Further details can be found in the departmentalGuide to Graduate Studies, available in the department.

    Thesis Plan

    None.

    Time-to-Degree

    Normative progress from graduate admission to conferral of the master’s degree is six academic quarters (and two summer terms).

    DEGREE NORMATIVE TIME TO ATC (Quarters) NORMATIVE TTD MAXIMUM TTD
    MA 8 8 16
  • Near Eastern Languages and Cultures (PhD)

    Advising

    Students are assigned a guidance committee composed of an adviser and at least two other faculty members whose interests touch on their area of specialization. The adviser is named by the chair to serve on the student’s guidance committee. The guidance committee usually serves as the departmental members of the doctoral committee.

    New students should make an advising appointment at the beginning of their first quarter. During this appointment, students and their advisers agree on a study list and their future program. In each subsequent quarter, it is the student’s responsibility to discuss their plans for that quarter with their adviser and obtain approval for their study list. If a student wishes to make changes in the study list after it is approved by the graduate adviser, the changes must be approved by the department chair or the graduate adviser before the student accesses the online enrollment system. Departmental policy requires the signature of the chair or the graduate adviser for approval of all petitions.

    Major Fields or Subdisciplines

    Major fields of specialization are ancient Near Eastern civilizations, Arabic, Armenian, Hebrew, Iranian, Semitics, and Turkic. Students may concentrate on either language or literature in their selected field but are required to do work in both. In the field of ancient Near Eastern civilizations, the department also offers an archaeology emphasis.

    Foreign Language Requirement

    Two modern major research languages other than English are required. The choice of languages must be approved by the adviser, who may also require additional language skills in modern and/or ancient languages if such skills are needed for scholarly work in the area of the student’s interest. The requirement is fulfilled by one of the following options: (1) a departmentally-administered examination with a minimum grade of B; or (2) two years of language instruction at a UC campus, with a grade of B or better.

    Course Requirements

    Students are required to achieve high competence in two languages and to familiarize themselves with the cultural backgrounds of each of the languages chosen. Students who study Arabic may use an Arabic dialect as their second language. Students are required to familiarize themselves, through appropriate coursework, with the history of the cultural area, and the methods of literary research and the history of literary criticism.

    If the archaeology emphasis in the ancient Near Eastern civilizations specialization is chosen, students are required to achieve high competence in two ancient Near Eastern languages and must be well-versed both in the history of the cultural area and in archaeological methodologies.

    Students who choose a language emphasis for the Ph.D. degree are required to add a third Near Eastern language to the two that are required for the M.A. degree.

    Further details about the choice of languages and examination requirements may be found in the departmental Guide to Graduate Study, available in the department.

    Teaching Experience

    Not required but recommended.

    Written and Oral Qualifying Examinations

    Academic Senate regulations require all doctoral students to complete and pass University written and oral qualifying examinations prior to doctoral advancement to candidacy. Also, under Senate regulations the University oral qualifying examination is open only to the student and appointed members of the doctoral committee. In addition to University requirements, some graduate programs have other pre-candidacy examination requirements. What follows in this section is how students are required to fulfill all of these requirements for this doctoral program.

    Written qualifying examinations must be passed before the formation of a doctoral committee.  Candidates in languages are examined in three Near Eastern languages and the literary and historical background of at least two of them. Candidates in literature are examined in the literatures written in two languages within the cultural area of concentration and the historical and cultural background of these languages, with emphasis on one of them. Candidates in ancient Near Eastern civilizations are examined in two ancient languages and in the history and archaeology of the major areas of the ancient Near East.

    Following successful completion of the course and language requirements and the written qualifying examinations, students are required to form a doctoral committee and take the University Oral Qualifying Examination.

    Advancement to Candidacy

    Students are advanced to candidacy and awarded the Candidate in Philosophy (C.Phil.) degree upon successful completion of the written and oral qualifying examinations.

    Doctoral Dissertation

    Every doctoral degree program requires the completion of an approved dissertation that demonstrates the student’s ability to perform original, independent research and constitutes a distinct contribution to knowledge in the principal field of study.

    Final Oral Examination (Defense of the Dissertation)

    Not required for all students in the program. The decision as to whether a defense is required is made by the doctoral committee.

    Time-to-Degree

    Ph.D. students are expected to respect the following normative guidelines in carrying out their program. From admission to the Ph.D. program (i.e., after obtaining the M.A. degree) to:

    (1)  the written qualifying examinations – six academic quarters.

    (2) the oral qualifying examination and approval of the dissertation prospectus – eight academic quarters (and three summer terms).

    (3) the conferral of the Ph.D. degree – fourteen academic quarters (and five summer terms).

    DEGREE NORMATIVE TIME TO ATC (Quarters) NORMATIVE TTD MAXIMUM TTD
    PhD 11 19 28

    Termination of Graduate Study and Appeal of Termination

    University Policy

    A student who fails to meet the above requirements may be recommended for termination of graduate study. A graduate student may be disqualified from continuing in the graduate program for a variety of reasons. The most common is failure to maintain the minimum cumulative grade point average (3.00) required by the Academic Senate to remain in good standing (some programs require a higher grade point average). Other examples include failure of examinations, lack of timely progress toward the degree and poor performance in core courses. Probationary students (those with cumulative grade point averages below 3.00) are subject to immediate dismissal upon the recommendation of their department. University guidelines governing termination of graduate students, including the appeal procedure, are outlined in Standards and Procedures for Graduate Study at UCLA.

    Special Departmental or Program Policy

    In addition to the standards reasons outlined above, a student may specifically be recommended for termination because of: (1) a terminal master’s degree recommendation from the student’s master’s committee; (2) inadequate scholarship as recommended by the Graduate Committee; or (3) inadequate progress toward the degree as recommended by the departmental section in the student’s specialization.

    In all cases, the student’s academic progress is discussed in depth by the departmental section that made the recommendation. A recommendation for termination is forwarded to the departmental chair for review and decision. The student is notified of a recommendation for termination in writing.

    A student may appeal a recommendation for termination by stating the reasons in writing to the departmental chair. The chair transmits the appeal to the student’s departmental section for consideration.

    UCLA is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges and by numerous special agencies. Information regarding the University’s accreditation may be obtain from the Office of Academic Planning and Budget, 2107 Murphy Hall.

     

  • Islamic Studies (MA)

    Advising

    Student advising begins with admission to the program, at which time students are matched with one or more faculty members whose specialties relate to the student’s areas of interest.

    During the first year, students meet quarterly with the program chair, who also serves as the graduate adviser. By the end of the first year, students must secure the agreement of a faculty member to serve as their supervisor and notify the student affairs officer of this arrangement. For the following terms of graduate study, students meet quarterly with their faculty supervisors and, as needed, with the student affairs officer.

    Student progress is reviewed annually. At the beginning of Spring Quarter, all students meet with their faculty supervisors and provide them with a written summary of their progress toward the degree and their goals for the coming year. The faculty supervisors report to the interdepartmental degree committee which meets to review student progress and advises each student in writing by the end of Spring Quarter as to whether their progress is sufficient to warrant continuation in the program.

    Areas of Study

    These areas of study are the same as listed under Major Fields or Subdisciplines for the doctoral degree.

    Foreign Language Requirement

    Other than the language proficiency required for admission to the program, there is no foreign language requirement for the master’s degree. Students who plan to go on for the Ph.D. degree in this program are encouraged to achieve required levels of proficiency in their research languages early in their graduate study so that language skills will be of maximum benefit. Students should see the doctoral language requirement under Doctoral Degree.

    Course Requirements

    A minimum of 12 courses (48 units) is required, five (20 units) of which must be at the graduate level. Two courses in the 500 series may be applied toward the degree, one of which may be applied toward the five-graduate course requirement. All courses applied toward the degree must be taken for a letter grade.

    The 12 courses must be divided among three categories of courses as follows:

    • Category one. Three required courses: Near Eastern Languages 201, Islamics 201, and History 200J.
    • Category two. Three courses that present and compare specific disciplinary approaches to, methods for, and critiques of the study of Islam and society, such as: Anthropology 271 and 273, Art History C214, History 201J, or Political Science 245. Other courses, including variable topics courses, may be chosen in consultation with the program chair.
    • Category three. Six courses from at least two different disciplines (not including language courses) as determined by students in consultation with their supervisor. Students also are advised to take courses that cover at least two geographic regions.

    Teaching Experience

    Not Required.

    Field Experience

    Not Required.

    Comprehensive Examination Plan

    The comprehensive examination requirement is fulfilled either by submitting a single paper (40-60 pages) that combines work in two or more fields of study, or by submitting one paper (maximum of 30 pages) in each of three fields. The paper or papers are evaluated by the student’s three faculty supervisors. Regardless of format, the comprehensive examination is graded, by a minimum vote of two, as (1) pass to continue for the Ph.D., (2) terminal M.A. pass, or (3) fail. Reexamination in exceptional cases will be determined by the interdepartmental degree committee.

    Thesis Plan

    None.

    Time-to-Degree
    Seven academic quarters is the expected time-to-degree for full-time students with no deficiencies upon admission.

    DEGREE NORMATIVE TIME TO ATC (Quarters)

    DEGREE NORMATIVE TIME TO ATC (Quarters) NORMATIVE TTD MAXIMUM TTD
    MA 7 7 10

     

  • Islamic Studies (PhD)

    Advising

    During their first year students who directly enter the Ph.D. program meet quarterly with the program chair, who also serves as the graduate adviser. In consultation with the graduate adviser, students choose a primary faculty adviser. By the end of the first year, students choose three fields of study and the faculty with whom they will work in those fields. Students should consult with these faculty and with the student affairs officer as frequently as needed.

    Students who intend to proceed from the M.A. degree to the Ph.D. degree in Islamic Studies must first fulfill all requirements for the M.A. degree and receive a pass to continue from two of the three faculty supervisors.

    Student progress is reviewed annually. At the beginning of Spring Quarter, all students meet with their faculty supervisors and provide them with a written summary of their progress toward the degree and their goals for the coming year. The faculty supervisors report to the interdepartmental degree committee which meets to review student progress and advises each student in writing by the end of Spring Quarter as to whether their progress is sufficient to warrant continuation in the program.

    Major Fields or Subdisciplines

    Anthropology, architecture, art history, comparative literature, economics, education, ethnomusicology, film and television, geography, history, law, management, music, philosophy, political science, psychology, public health, public policy, religion, sociology, urban planning, world arts and cultures, and the literatures of the following languages: Arabic; Berber, Hausa, Indonesian, Iranian languages, Malay, Swahili, Turkic languages, Urdu, Wolof, and Yoruba.

    Foreign Language Requirement

    Intermediate-level proficiency in a second language listed under Major Fields or Subdisciplines and reading proficiency in a European language other than English that is relevant to the student’s research are required prior to advancement to doctoral candidacy. Students are encouraged to achieve required levels of proficiency in their research languages early in their graduate study so that language skills will be of maximum benefit.

    Language proficiency may be demonstrated by (1) providing evidence of being a native speaker; (2) passing a program-administered examination; (3) completing three intermediate-level courses with a grade of B or better (these courses are not counted toward the degree); or (4) submitting evidence of completion of equivalent coursework elsewhere.

    Exceptions to the language requirements may be approved in special cases. This is done through submission of a petition that must be approved by the student’s primary faculty adviser, the program chair, and the Graduate Division.

    Course Requirements

    A minimum of 12 courses (48 units) is required for the Ph.D. degree, including a minimum of three graduate seminars. Students who enter directly into the Ph.D. program must take the three core courses in Category one and at least one course from Category two listed under the master’s degree. Such students may petition the Committee to Administer the Islamic Studies Program to waive courses in Category one. All students must take at least four graduate and upper-division courses, including one graduate seminar, in each of three chosen fields (students should see Major Fields or Subdisciplines above). The three fields must be distributed across more than one division, college, or school. One 500-level course in each of three fields may be applied toward Ph.D. course requirements. Students must also take at least one methodology course, which may or may not be in one of the three fields, and as approved by the primary faculty adviser. All courses applied toward the degree must be taken for a letter grade.

    Teaching Experience

    Not Required.

    Written and Oral Qualifying Examinations

    Academic Senate regulations require all doctoral students to complete and pass University written and oral qualifying examinations prior to doctoral advancement to candidacy. Also, under Senate regulations the University oral qualifying examination is open only to the student and appointed members of the doctoral committee. In addition to University requirements, some graduate programs have other pre-candidacy examination requirements. What follows in this section is how students are required to fulfill all of these requirements for this doctoral program.

    After students complete all coursework and foreign language requirements, the chair of the program, in consultation with the student, nominates a doctoral committee that meets university requirements, for formal appointment by the Graduate Division. The committee must include faculty from the student’s three fields plus a methodology examiner if the latter is not from one of the three fields.

    Students must write a dissertation prospectus that contains (1) a full statement of the dissertation topic, including any fieldwork that may be required; (2) a historiographical discussion of the literature related to the topic; (3) a statement of the methods to be employed; and (4) a proposed bibliography to be consulted in the course of research and writing.

    The doctoral committee conducts four separate written examinations, one in each of the student’s three fields and one in a methodology appropriate to the student’s dissertation. Following the written examinations, the committee conducts the University Oral Qualifying Examination, which covers the three fields, the methodology, and the basis of the dissertation prospectus. Reexamination in any field is at the discretion of the doctoral committee in consultation with the chair of the program. No single written examination shall exceed four hours.

    Advancement to Candidacy

    Students are advanced to candidacy and awarded the Candidate in Philosophy (C.Phil.) degree upon successful completion of the written and oral qualifying examinations.

    Doctoral Dissertation

    Every doctoral degree program requires the completion of an approved dissertation that demonstrates the student’s ability to perform original, independent research and constitutes a distinct contribution to knowledge in the principal field of study.

    Final Oral Examination (Defense of Dissertation)

    Not required for all students in the program. The decision as to whether a defense is required is made by the doctoral committee.

    Time-to-Degree

    For full-time students with no deficiencies upon admission or advancement to the Ph.D. program, the normative time from admission to approval of the dissertation prospectus, completion of the written and oral qualifying examinations, and advancement to candidacy, is two years. The normative time from advancement to candidacy to the final oral examination (defense of the dissertation), if required, and filing of the dissertation, is three years. Overall, the normative time from graduate admission to award of the Ph.D. degree is five years. Students who undertake field research abroad may require an additional one to two years to complete the program.

    DEGREE NORMATIVE TIME TO ATC (Quarters) NORMATIVE TTD MAXIMUM TTD
    PhD 11 15 22

    Termination of Graduate Study and Appeal of Termination

    University Policy

    A student who fails to meet the above requirements may be recommended for termination of graduate study. A graduate student may be disqualified from continuing in the graduate program for a variety of reasons. The most common is failure to maintain the minimum cumulative grade point average (3.00) required by the Academic Senate to remain in good standing (some programs require a higher grade point average). Other examples include failure of examinations, lack of timely progress toward the degree and poor performance in core courses. Probationary students (those with cumulative grade point averages below 3.00) are subject to immediate dismissal upon the recommendation of their department. University guidelines governing termination of graduate students, including the appeal procedure, are outlined in Standards and Procedures for Graduate Study at UCLA.

    Special Departmental or Program Policy

    A recommendation for termination is made by the chair of the interdepartmental degree program, upon consultation with the student’s primary faculty adviser and the student’s doctoral committee. A student may appeal a recommendation for termination to the interdepartmental degree committee.

    UCLA is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges and by numerous special agencies. Information regarding the University’s accreditation may be obtain from the Office of Academic Planning and Budget, 2107 Murphy Hall.