Image courtesy of Emily Hammer.

To apply to the Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations PhD program, you must submit your application through the Division of the Humanities Admissions website by December 15 for admission the following fall quarter. Once you submit your application to the Division it will be forwarded to our department for review.

We encourage all applicants to contact faculty members in their proposed field of study to introduce themselves, ask questions, and determine which NELC field of study most closely matches your interests.

We are now accepting applications for Fall 2019 admission.

Admissions Decisions

All admissions decisions are sent by the Division of the Humanities admissions office through the online application system in mid-February. No decision information can be given by phone or email from the department. Unless you are contacted by the department, please direct all questions about your application directly to

Master of Arts Degree

Our department does not offer a stand-alone MA program. If you are interested in a MA program for study of the ancient, medieval or modern Middle East, please apply for the two-year MA program through the Center for Middle Eastern Studies, the one-year Master of Arts Program in the Humanities, or the Divinity School MA.  Although NELC students receive a Master’s degree en route to their PhD, our department does not admit graduate students interested in a terminal MA degree.

Application Requirements

  • Transcripts from all previously attended colleges and universities.
  • At least three letters of recommendation submitted by persons able to describe your academic achievements and promise.
  • statement of purpose, which should describe the intellectual issues and historical/linguistic/archaeological questions you hope to explore, as well as your skills and preparation for undertaking graduate studies at the University of Chicago.
  • writing sample of approximately 20 pages. This could be an undergraduate thesis, a research paper, or a section of an MA thesis that best demonstrates your critical thinking and scholarly writing. Please include correctly formatted footnotes and bibliographies.
  • GRE scores less than five years old. The NELC admission committee does not stipulate a minimum score.
  • TOEFL or IELTS scores no more than two years old (for non-native English speakers only). The minimum required TOEFL score is 104, with 26 on each subsection. The minimum IELTS is 7.0, with 7.0 on each subsection. (Students are required to take the Academic Reading/Writing test within IELTS)

Please consult the Office of International Affairs website for full details regarding the University of Chicago’s English Language Requirement, including frequently asked questions and language requirement waivers.

Additional Information & Contacts

  • For questions about the application or admissions process, please email:
  • For general questions about our department or graduate program, please email:
  • Specific questions about fields of study within NELC are best directed to the faculty members within each field.