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Islamic/Near Eastern Studies


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I'm right now studying Persian Literature in University of Tehran. I'm I want to apply for Islamic/Near Eastern Studies in USA/UK universities. I know Persian/Arabic/German and English and I have reasonable knowledge on Middle Eastern History and Islamic Studies.

I'm applying to pursue my studies in Islamic Studies/Near Eastern/Studies this year. I want to know if anybody guides me for maximizing my chance to get admission and scholarship? How much is my chance to get scholarship? Can anybody tell me which materials are important in my application? I read for example Michigan and UC Berkeley don't want GRE, but Yale says GRE is very important. Can anybody tell me which universities have good programs?

I know these:

UC Berkeley








in UK:

University of London


I see some universities such as Stanford don't have a department on near Eastern Studies but they have a program of Islamic Studies. Is it possible to study in these programs? I'm sorry that my question is very general, but I'm new to this whole issue.

Edited by maryamv
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Hi maryamv,

Your list of schools is a good start. It all depends on your precise research interests and the professors you'd like to work with. You'll want to apply to the universities where these professors teach. PhD programs in the Humanities are usually funded either by research assistantship or TAship. There is funding for MA programs but it's less available, especially as an international student. Stanford's program is especially good for foundational/early Islamic Studies. The GRE is usually required for admission, its weight is really dependent on each university, the applications they get, and how selective they are in that particular year. I would say the most important aspects of the application are the statement of purpose and writing sample. You'll want to really spend some time writing up both in order to excel in admissions. If you have any more specific questions, I'd be happy to reply.

Edited by samarkand
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Speaking of Stanford, from what I understand, the Islamic Studies Program is more of an umbrella organization/forum for all Stanford scholars interested in the Islamic world. It's not a degree program. You would have to apply to one of the established departments: History, Political Science, Anthropology, Comparative Literature or Religious Studies, depending on your interests.

The very best deciding where to apply. You have some excellent schools there! I would recommend you to consider less well-known schools in the USA but who may have excellent scholars in Persian Studies (I expect some UC schools, apart from UCLA and Berkeley, may be great at that). In the UK, for Iranian-related things check out Durham, Exeter, Edinburgh, St Andrews, maybe Manchester. U London contains many semi-autonomous schools now, so I guess you're looking at SOAS.

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  • 1 year later...

Thanks for opening up this discussion.

About the GRE, I doubt that without competitive scores one would have a good chance in getting admitted at the first place.

@MaryamV: Any luck so far?

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I don't know much about Islamic Studies programs in general, but I know that Georgetown has a great program. You'll want to check them out: http://arabic.georgetown.edu/. I would like to second the person saying that the statement of purpose is insanely important. It is! Moreso than any other single part of your application, I daresay! Spend a lot of time honing it.

Edited by Meg11
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