Major Requirements

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Requirements for the NELC major are described below. The Director of Undergraduate Studies,our BA Preceptors, and the NELC department staff, are available to answer questions, discuss programs of study, and support students as they make their way through the major in NELC.

NELC Major Requirements

Students are encouraged to track their progress through requirements by using our major worksheet.

Information about how to declare a major or minor can be found in the College Catalog.

Thirteen courses and a BA paper are required for a NELC major.

  1. Two or three quarters of one of the following civilization sequences:
    • NEHC 20011-20012-20013. Ancient Empires I, II, III
    • NEHC 20001-20002-20003. Ancient Near Eastern History and Society I, II, III
    • NEHC 20004-20005-20006. Ancient Near Eastern Thought and Literature I, II, III
    • NEAA 20001-20002-20003. Archaeology of the Ancient Near East I, II, III
    • NEHC 20501-20502-20503. Islamic History and Society I, II, III
    • NEHC 20601-20602-20603. Islamic Thought and Literature I, II, III
    • JWSC 20120-20199 & JWSC 20220-20299 (NEHC numbers vary). Jewish Civilization.

Students may opt to take two or three courses from the Jewish Civilization course clusters. These have course codes in the ranges JWSC 20120–20199 (ancient/medieval) and JWSC 20220–20299 (modern), and are cross-listed with varying NEHC numbers. Jewish civilization courses may be taken in any order and may be used to fulfill the College’s general education requirement in civilization studies. In this sequence, to fulfill the general education civilization requirement, at least one course must pertain to the ancient or medieval periods (JWSC 20120–20199) and at least one course must pertain to the modern period (JWSC 20220–20299). Note also that the course sequence on “Archaeology of the Ancient Near East” does not fulfill the general education requirement in civilization studies. All of the other NELC civilization sequences do fulfill the general education requirement.

*If a Near Eastern Civilization sequence is used to meet the College general education requirement, a second Near Eastern civilization sequence is required for the NELC major

  1. Six courses in one of the Near Eastern languages (e.g., Akkadian, Arabic, Egyptian, Hebrew, Persian, Turkish). Credit for language courses may not be granted by examination or placement.
  2. Three or four elective courses in the student’s area of specialization. These courses should be chosen in consultation with the counselor for undergraduate studies. They may consist of additional NELC language courses, an additional NELC civilization sequence, or approved courses in areas such as archaeology, art, literature in translation, history, and religion. NEHC 29999 BA Paper Preparation may be counted toward the elective requirement.

The B.A. Paper Seminar (NEHC 29800) is required of all NELC majors. It is to be taken in the Autumn Quarter of the year in which the student expects to graduate.  See the BA Paper section for more detailed information.

Mid East Photo
Image courtesy of Alexis Nicholson.


All courses taken to meet requirements in the major must be taken for quality grades, with the exception of the B.A. Paper Seminar (NEHC 29800), which is taken pass/fail.


Students who complete their course work and their BA papers with distinction are considered for graduation with honors. To be eligible for honors in NELC, students must have an overall GPA of 3.25 or higher, they must have a NELC GPA of 3.5 or higher, and they must have earned a grade of A on the BA paper.


The department awards the Justin Palmer Prize annually to the BA paper judged to be the most outstanding. The Director of Undergraduate Studies makes this determination in consultation with the Department Chair and faculty members. This monetary prize is made possible by a generous gift from the family of Justin Palmer, AB’04, who completed a minor in NELC.