The Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilization offers a Bachelor of Arts degree in Near Eastern Studies. Students choose one of four options offered within the major: Languages and Civilization, Culture and Civilization, Comparative Islamic Studies, and Hebrew Bible and the Ancient Near East. Courses are designed for students planning careers in government service, non-governmental organizations, teaching, and in the private sector.
The program focuses on the languages and civilizations of the Islamic Near and Middle East, the Semitic Near East, and Islamic Central Asia, with an emphasis on the ancient and medieval roots of these civilizations as well as more recent cultural developments. Each of the languages offered represents a major literary tradition. Arabic, Persian, Turkish, and Central Eurasian Turkic (such as Uzbek, Kazakh, and Kyrgyz) are the languages of the most significant manifestations of Islamic civilization. Hebrew and Aramaic are languages of the Bible, and central to Judaism and Jewish culture. A rich and vast heritage from other ancient Near Eastern cultures is explored through study of languages and literatures such as Egyptian (Hieroglyphic, Coptic), Akkadian, Ugaritic, and Syriac. The languages are taught in conjunction with their socio-cultural context, so that linguistic skills will be formed and enhanced by a broad and sympathetic understanding, and a firm foundation will be laid for both intellectual exploration and practical experience.
NELC was featured in a special podcast presentation administered by the UW Undergraduate Academic Affairs Office, under the UW Advising Podcast program. Amy Oates spoke briefly about the Department, its history, and what it has specialized in for the past 100 years. To listen to Amy's podcast, please click here.