Near Eastern Studies

Major & Minor

The Ancient Near East is where history begins. It is where the first crops were sown, the first towns built, and where writing was first invented. The origins of Western culture are to be found in its great civilizations, from the three great monotheistic religions - Christianity, Islam, and Judaism - to everyday aspects of our life that we take for granted, such as the alphabet and marking time by hours and minutes. Students study the literature, history, culture, and religions of these ancient cultures and may choose to study their languages as well.

Highlights of the Hopkins Program

The Near Eastern studies program offers a wide range of courses on the cultures and languages of the ancient Near East, including Egypt, Israel, Syria, and Mesopotamia. Biblical Hebrew, Modern Hebrew, and Arabic are available for study, in addition to hieroglyphs and cuneiform. Archaeology is also an option for some students, since the department carries out excavations at various Near Eastern sites. Most of the department's undergraduate courses require no knowledge of a foreign language and cover archaeology, history, religion, art, and literature of the ancient civilizations of the Near East.


Sample First Semester Schedule
  • Any 100 or 200 level course in Near Eastern Studies (AS.130.1xx or AS.130.2xx)
  • Consider a course in:
    1. Classics
    2. History
    3. History of Art
    4. Museums and Society
  • Elective N, Q, or E course
  • Two elective courses
  • Total 12-17 credits

Career Exploration

Skill Set

The “real world” skills you’ll develop with a major in Near Eastern Studies:

  • Analyzing texts, artwork, and writings
  • Forming new perspectives based on historical information
  • Synthesizing and presenting information
  • Relating historical events and documents to present-day situations

Career Center

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