Ancient Egyptian and Nubian Studies

UCLA offers one of the few graduate programs in Egyptology and Nubiology in the United States. Students may specialize in ancient Nubia and the kingdoms of Kush (Kerma, Napata, and Meroe) and ancient Egypt from material and philological perspectives. We provide our students with rigorous training in the language, literature, religion, archaeology, history, art and architecture of ancient Nubia and Egypt.

Graduate students can become proficient in a number of languages, including all phases of the ancient Egyptian language: Old Egyptian, Middle Egyptian, Late Egyptian, Demotic and Coptic. Unique to our program is the opportunity to study Nilo-Saharan and Afro-Asiatic linguistics in order to understand Nubian languages (Meroitic) and other languages of the Horn of Africa (Cushitic, Beja, and Tamazight, spoken by the Amazigh), including languages of ancient Ethiopia in the Nile Valley watershed (Ge’ez/Ethiopic, the ancient liturgical language of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church). We require two primary research languages, and students usually choose a combination of German, French, or Arabic. Graduate students must pass a research language exam that shows reading proficiency or pass the last quarter of second year language with at least a B. In many cases, students are encouraged to take Egyptian Arabic for research in the field.

Egyptology faculty at UCLA come from a wide array of specializations, including art history, Nubian studies, archaeology, philology, and history. We aim for a multidisciplinary and contextual approach to the ancient world, broadening our area of inquiry to include Egypt, Nubia, and Ethiopia. UCLA has a vast array of resources available for students of Egyptian and Nubian studies, including regular TAships, potential employment with Digital Humanities or the Writing Center, fellowships that provide concentrated time for research, the opportunity to teach your own Writing II seminar, research travel funding, and conference travel subsidies. NELC graduate students can also earn certificates in writing pedagogy and digital humanities pedagogy. The department works with students to identify fieldwork experience abroad in Egypt and Sudan. Great emphasis is placed on students’ own empowerment and professionalization. Students work closely with their faculty advisors to develop original research topics, prepare for comprehensive exams, and identify possible career options. The dissertation is written with the aid of an interdisciplinary committee after a prospectus workshop.

Our graduate students have received museum internships at Boston Museum of Fine Arts, the Brooklyn Museum of Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museo Egizio in Turin, Italy. Graduates of the UCLA program have gone on to accept high level postdoctoral fellowships, including at the Institute for Study of the Ancient World at NYU and Brown University. Our UCLA PhDs are well placed, occupying positions in academia, both teaching and academic affairs/university administration at institutions throughout North America, including UCLA, UCSB, California State Fullerton, University of Missouri, University of Saskatchewan, and SUNY.