Ph.D. in Semitic and Egyptian Languages and Literatures

Students on the Ph.D. level may specialize in Ancient Northwest Semitic languages (ANWSL) or Near Eastern Christian languages and literatures (NECLL). Students generally continue from an M.A. degree in the department. The Ph.D. program incorporates the M.A. curriculum and requires an additional thirty semester hours of coursework (i.e., 60 total hours). It is possible, however, to enter the program at the doctoral level. Students who enter at the Ph.D. level must meet the full 60-hour credit requirement by coursework or transfer credit. The transfer of up to 24 credit hours  earned at other accredited institutions is permitted in accordance with the university's regulations. ANWSL students usually specialize in Aramaic and Hebrew, while NECLL students specialize in Arabic, Coptic, Ethiopic or Syriac. The ANWSL program offers Akkadian, Ugaritic, as well as extensive coursework in Aramaic (Old, Official, Qumran, Targumic) and Hebrew (Epigraphic, Qumran, Mishnaic). In the NECLL program, students may also take Armenian, Georgian, and South Arabian.

Students are expected to maintain a good overall standing in the program; students who do not do so will be subject to faculty review and dismissal, if warranted. In particular, a student who receives one C may be subject to faculty review and may be placed on probationary standing in the program. A second C may lead to dismissal. A student may repeat a course in which the grade of C was earned, and the grade of the retake may replace the C; this can only be done once and must be done in consultation with the faculty.

Ph.D. students are encouraged in addition to take two courses, ordinarily six credits, outside the department with the consultation of the adviser and the chair. The courses should complement the student's interests and be adjusted to his or her background and training. The requirement may be fulfilled by courses at the graduate or advanced undergraduate level. The courses can be taken in a variety of departments and programs, including biblical studies, theology, early Christian studies, English, modern languages, comparative literature, history, economics and politics. The student may propose any courses at CUA that fit into his or her program. The courses may be taken in one or more departments. Courses offered elsewhere in the Consortium of Universities of the Washington Metropolitan Area or at The Johns Hopkins University; the University of Maryland, College Park; or other neighboring schools may be considered.

Language Requirements

Students in the NECLL program are required to take six credits of Greek or to have taken a year of coursework in Greek prior to entering the program. The Greek requirement must be completed prior to sitting for M.A  comprehensive exams. Students in the ANWSL program are also encouraged to meet this requirement.

A reading knowledge of French and German is strongly recommended from the beginning of graduate studies. Before sitting for M.A. comprehensive examinations, all candidates must fulfill the modern language requirement in one of the abovementioned languages by either successfully passing the qualification examination or by completing French 500 or German 500. Ph.D. candidates must fulfill the requirement in both French and German. With the consent of the chair, students have the option of substituting Modern Hebrew for French.

Comprehensive Examinations

Ph.D. candidates must, with the permission of the department chair, register for doctoral comprehensive examinations in their major and minor language areas. They must register for the comprehensive examinations before the beginning of the semester in which they will take the examinations. These examinations must be passed before work on the Ph.D. dissertation can begin.

Courses Offered

Consult Cardinal Station for additional information about courses and to determine course offerings.