Graduate Degrees Offered

The Department of Near Eastern Studies currently offers degrees in Near Eastern Languages & Cultures, and Islamic Studies. The following specializations are identified with the Near Eastern Languages & Cultures degree: (1) Ancient Near Eastern Civilizations, (2) Arabic, (3) Armenian, (4) Assyriology, (5) Egyptology, (6) Hebrew Bible, (7) Iranian Studies, (8) Near Eastern Archaeology, (9) Semitics, and (10) Turkic Studies. The Islamic Studies Program offers an interdisciplinary MA and PhD degree program in the study of Islam and Muslims from late antiquity to the present and across world regions. Applicants should consult the Advice to Applicants page on the Islamic Studies website for further information. Please research your area of interest on the NELC and Islamic Studies websites, looking carefully at the work of faculty members responsible for that area.  NELC offers MA degrees leading to a PhD while the Islamic Studies Program offers both terminal MA degrees as well as MA-PhD degrees.


The Department admits students for the Fall Quarter only and does not allow deferred admission. All application materials for admission to the Department’s graduate program should be received by December 15th and results can be expected in March.


Accepted PhD students are usually funded through a variety of sources. After their first year, most students are funded through Teaching Assistanships. Applicants are highly encouraged to apply for external scholarships and funding opportunities as well. Please check our Funding Opportunities and Graduate Division’s Financial Support webpages for more information. We do not encourage students to fund their own PhDs. If a student wants to self-fund and wants to be considered for financial aid, students must fill out the FAFSA  by their deadline every year. Applicants who apply through FASFA are automatically considered for financial aid and funding once they apply.


For both the masters and doctoral program, the applicant must have a bachelor’s degree or equivalent. Applicants with a master’s degree can apply directly into the doctoral program, but applicants with a bachelor’s degree must achieve a master’s degree prior to the PhD program either through another institution or our own. To be accepted, applicants typically have a GPA of at least a 3.25.

Application Process

You must apply electronically for graduate admission and financial aid. You will find the online application on the Graduate Division webpage.

Applicants are asked to upload the following items to the online application:

  1. Applicants must upload one transcript from each academic institution attended. Unofficial transcripts are acceptable for the application submission. Upon admission, admitted students must submit official record transcripts to the department. These must bear the actual signature of the Registrar and the seal of the issuing institution. The department also accepts official electronic transcripts.
  2. International applicants whose first language is not English must certify their proficiency in English. Such applicants must submit scores received on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or International English Language testing System (IELTS). The TOEFL/IELTS school code is 4837; the department code is 57. The minimum acceptable TOEFL score is an 87 (on the electronic test). The minimum IELTS score is 7. We will not accept TOEFL/IELTS scores once they expire 2 years after the exam date. We accept TOEFL/IELTS scores until the first week of January and cannot accept them afterwards.
  3. statement of purpose, explaining their background for graduate study in the specialization of their choice, identifying key mentors at UCLA and the reasons you wish to study with them. Please include immediate and long-range goals in the field in the statement. Statements of purpose should primarily focus on intellectual interests and research plans, though autobiographical material can be useful where it is clearly relevant.
  4. Three letters of recommendations from professors they have taken courses in or have worked closely with to verify the applicant’s academic record, strengths, and interest in our department to be submitted using the online application system.
  5. Applicants must submit a writing sample of 15 pages max as evidence of their academic work.

NOTE: The Graduate Record Exam (GRE) is optional for Near Eastern Languages and Cultures MA and PhD programs. For the Islamic Studies MA and PhD program, the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) is required. If submitting GRE scores, applicants should take the exam no later than October or November. We will not accept GRE scores that have expired after three years the test was taken. For further information about exams, please contact Educational Testing Service at (609)-771-7670 or visit The GRE school code is 4837; the department code is 2602.

Mailing address to send academic transcripts, GRE and TOEFL by December 15th is:

UCLA Near Eastern Languages and Cultures
415 Portola Plaza, Box 951511
378 Kaplan Hall
Los Angeles, California 90095-1511


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