Graduate Admissions

The annual application deadline for the Department Near Eastern Studies Graduate Program is December 15th. The Department of Near Eastern Studies considers applicants for Fall enrollment only. NES does not offer rolling admissions. For most efficient application handling, all materials should be submitted by December 1. Complete applications are reviewed once annually. Late applications will not be considered once the file review begins.

A complete admissions application to the Department of Near Eastern Studies for either the MA or the PhD program must include the following materials:

General Information about Admissions:

Documents to Submit Online and Instructions for Essay Questions

Information for International Applicants:

Additional Information:

Applicants are encouraged to submit the following materials as an electronic upload with the Rackham online application: CV, Statement of Purpose, Unofficial Transcripts, Writing Sample, Personal Statement.

The applicant is responsible for completing the application. Applicants may contact the NES Graduate Student Services Office if questions arise or refer to the link below :                                                                                                               Department of Near Eastern Studies
Graduate Admissions
University of Michigan
4111 Thayer Academic Building
202 South Thayer Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48104-1608
Telephone: (734) 764-0314
Fax: (734) 936-2679


Applications are evaluated on the basis of the following materials: 

  • Academic Statement of Purpose. The Statement of Purpose is the single most important item in the application. The purpose of this essay is to give the faculty a clear idea of a) why the applicant wants to pursue a career in Near Eastern Studies; b) what Near Eastern questions or problems interest the applicant; c) how the applicant wants to address these questions; d) why the applicant wants to pursue a graduate degree at the University of Michigan. The applicant's statement should be approximately 2 pages in length.
  • Academic Record. Unofficial transcripts submitted as an electronic upload (note: must be a pdf file) with the Rackham online application are acceptable for the purpose of the Departmental file review. If admitted to the graduate program, students must have an official set of final transcripts sent to the Department. An applicant for admission to the Department of Near Eastern Studies is expected to have at least a grade average of B+ in his/her undergraduate course work and some preparation in Near Eastern Studies. Although it is important, the academic record is not the exclusive criterion for admission and other factors in the applicant's academic record are taken into consideration, e.g., a trend towards better grades or outstanding work or experience in the applicant's area of academic interest.
  • Official Transcripts. Official transcripts from all degree-granting institutions must also be submitted directly to the Rackham Graduate School at the following address. Transcripts should be mailed directly from the issuing institution

Rackham Graduate School
Attn: Transcripts/U-M ID# (if known) or Date of Birth
915 E Washington Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1070

  • Transcripts from Non-U.S. Institutions. A student must provide the following if he or she has received a degree from a non-U.S. institution:
    • Official documentation of all courses taken and grades received (transcripts/records) from each undergraduate or postgraduate institution attended.
    • Official certification of degrees and dates awarded, issued in English and the original language.

Please see Rackham Graduate School website for additional information:

Test Scores. Test scores can only be judged in conjunction with the student's statement of purpose, academic record, experience and background.

English Proficiency
Applicants whose native language is not English must submit one of the following test scores:

  • Michigan English Proficiency Test (MELAB) Minimum score of 85.
  • Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). Minimum score of 560 for written exam, 220 for computerized exam, or 84 for internet based. UM Institution code = 1839.
  • IELTS. Minimum score of 6.5
  • Examination for the Certification of Proficiency in English (ECPE). Certificate of Proficiency required.

Scores that are older than two years will not be considered valid.

Writing Sample. Your writing sample should be a good representation of your academic work. It should be about 10-15 pages long. Most students submit a term paper on the subject in which they are applying to do graduate work.

Letters of Recommendation. Three letters of recommendation are required for a complete application. While the Department prefers letters from faculty or advisors who are familiar with the applicant's potential for graduate study, letters from employers are acceptable. Recommenders are encouraged to submit their recommendation electronically through the Rackham online application. Paper copies are also acceptable, and can be mailed directly to the Department in a sealed envelope with the signature of the referee across the seal.

All Applicants must also submit the following forms:
Rackham Online Application & Fee. Available online through the CollegeNet web site.

Curriculum Vitae/Resume (4 page limit). A recent CV/Resume should be uploaded with your Rackham online application. Your CV/Resume should describe your education, work experience, research and teaching experience, professional affiliations, volunteer activity and community engagement, honors and awards.

Personal Statement (500 word limit). This statement should be uploaded with the Rackham online application and should address the following: how have your background and life experiences, including cultural, geographical, financial, educational or other opportunities or challenges, motivated your decision to pursue a graduate degree at the University of Michigan?

Optional Materials:
Supplemental Writing Sample: Students wishing to be considered for a Graduate Student Instructor position for a NES language course may submit a writing sample in a language other than English as a pdf file to: Please include identifying information and indicate that the file is a supplement to your application materials.

FLAS Coupon (If Applicable): Applicants to Doctoral Programs may be eligible for the FLAS Fellowship. For additional information on the FLAS fellowship, please visit the International Institute website.

See for more information on graduate admissions.

Admissions Decisions
Admissions decisions are traditionally communicated to applicants at the end of February/beginning of March. Applicants receive electronic notification via email. Office staff is not authorized to inform applicants of admission decisions over the phone. Applicants extended an offer of admission must communicate their decision to the Department and Rackham Graduate School by April 15th.