Middle Eastern Languages & Cultures: Mesopotamian Civilization, PhD

Middle Eastern Languages and Cultures (MELC). MELC’s PhD program in Mesopotamian Civilizations offers advanced study of the languages and philology of ancient Mesopotamia as well as the history and archaeology of that region in its Middle Eastern context. 

Students in the Mesopotamian Civilization program may specialize in either Archaeology and Art History or History, Language and Literature, but all students are expected to command a primary and secondary ancient language, as well as the general history and culture of the region. The specific distribution of courses varies by specialization. Students are expected to work out the broad outlines of their programs in consultation with their faculty advisor when they begin their studies.

View the department's PhD general procedures.

View the University’s Academic Rules for PhD Programs.


A total of 20 course units are required for graduation.

Primary Field

  • Specialization in History, Language, and Literature
    • Languages
    • History
    • Art and archaeology
  • Specialization in Archaeology and Art History
    • Languages and Literatures
    • History
    • Archaeology and Art History

Other Program Milestones

In addition to the above-described required course work, PhD students are responsible for two (2) European language reading exams, candidacy exams, and qualifying exams before preparing a dissertation proposal. 

Secondary Field

Students concentrating in other MELC programs such as Biblical Studies or Egyptology may acquire secondary field competence in Mesopotamian Civilization with six courses. The distribution of the courses ought to reflect the student’s focus on history, language and literature or archaeology. Students in history, language and literature must take at least two art or archaeology courses and students in archaeology and art history must complete at least one introductory language sequence.

The degree and major requirements displayed are intended as a guide for students entering in the Fall of 2024 and later. Students should consult with their academic program regarding final certifications and requirements for graduation.