Prospective Students

Interested first-year students and prospective majors are urged to consult the director of undergraduate studies (DUS)or an instructor in their prospective area as early as possible, either to clarify their interests or to plan the best course of study for their needs and abilities. Majors often obtain special museum, excavation, or linguistic experience at Yale or abroad.

Particularly suitable for first-year students are:

First-Year Seminars, e.g.:
  • NELC 001/ARCG 001, Egypt and Northeast Africa: A Multidisciplinary Approach
  • NELC 003, Medieval Travel and Exploration
  • NELC 008, Politics and Literature in the Middle East
  • NELC 026, Origins of Civilization: Egypt and Mesopotamia
Foundations courses, e.g.:
  • NELC 101, Origins of Western Civilization: The Near East from Alexander to Muhammad
  • NELC 119, Ancient Empires
  • NELC 128, From Gilgamesh to Persepolis: Introduction to Near Eastern Literatures
And survey courses, e.g.:
  • NELC 115, The Bible in the Ancient Near East
  • NELC 201, The Arabian Nights, Then and Now
  • NELC 311, Egypt of the Pharaohs


NELC offers beginning classes in modern Arabic, Hebrew, Persian and Turkish every Fall, as well as in classical and ancient languages, including Akkadian, Egyptian.

Certificates of Advance Language Study are currently available for Arabic, Hebrew and Turkish.

Numerous other classical and ancient Near Eastern languages are regularly offered in NELC and at Yale, including Armenian, Biblical Hebrew, Classical Arabic, Coptic, Syriac, Old Persian, Ottoman, Phoenician, Sumerian and Ugaritic.
Well-qualified students who have acquired the requisite background in undergraduate courses may, with the permission of the instructor, the DUS, and the director of graduate studies, be admitted to graduate courses where no suitable undergraduate courses exist.

N.B. Students who take a foreign language during a term, year, or summer abroad must complete a departmental placement examination after they return to Yale; there are no exceptions to this requirement.

Placement examinations in Arabic and Hebrew are held at the beginning of the fall term. Locations are posted on the bulletin board of the department office, Arnold Hall, 304 Elm St., 4th floor.

Placement examinations are also available in Persian and Turkish; interested students should consult the DUS. See also the Center for Language Study website for placement examinations information.