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Graduate Program Admissions

The Department of Near Eastern and South Asian Languages (NESA) at the Ohio State University is accepting applications to its MA and PhD programs. All graduate students in NESA receive degrees in “Near Eastern and South Asian Languages and Cultures,” rather than Hebrew, Arabic, Islamic Studies, or another area. Nevertheless, students should designate two fields of study in conventional terms, in consultation with their academic Advisory Committee of TWO core faculty members, as their fields of specialty. A few examples of possible fields are “Medieval Judaism,” “the Ancient Near East,” “Modern Middle Eastern Societies,” “Islamic History and Islamic Origins,” and “Pre-Islamic Arabia,” with innumerable further possibilities.

Numerous avenues of possible financial assistance are available for those pursuing an MA or a PhD.

Application deadline for Autumn 2024 Admission:

  • U.S. applicants - December 10, 2023

  • International applicants - November 25, 2023


Below is a general timeline of what to expect and how to prepare to apply to the graduate programs with Near Eastern and South Asian Languages and Cultures. Details of exact dates and deadlines may fluctuate year-to-year.

  1. Begin Application a Year prior to when you are wanting to join (i.e. Start application in Autumn 2023, if wanting to be admitted and start classes Autumn 2024).
  2. Have all Materials ready and submitted PRIOR to Graduate Program Deadline including your letters of recommendation, which is sent to references after you submit the application. Please make sure to submit your application well enough in advance to allow your references to return their letter of recommendation to us before the deadline. (We cannot guarantee admission if you submit application materials after the deadline as there are internal deadlines with the Graduate School for us to be able to make sure students are supported, funded, etc.). 
  3. Wait for our Graduate Committee to make final determinations in February and March.
  4. If admitted, accept admission and follow the steps provided by Graduate Admissions Here.
  5. Make sure you know your Financial Aid package and any requirements for it.
  6. If you have a GTA appointment, make sure to attend the CLLC GTA Workshop the August prior to the start of your first semester.
  7. Confirm with us your first semester courses and enroll prior to the start of term.


At minimum, applicants must meet the following University criteria to be considered for admission to the MA or PhD in Near Eastern and South Asian Languages and Cultures:

  1. Completion of a baccalaureate or higher degree from an accredited institution [at time of enrollment]
  2. Minimum cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale or equivalent [at time of enrollment; can be appealed under special circumstances]
  3. Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores are optional for the Autumn 2024 admission cycle. Applicants who wish to submit GRE scores must request that official scores be submitted to OSU.  
  4. English language competency test scores [not required from applicants who are citizens of, or who have received baccalaureate or higher degrees from: Australia, Belize, the British Caribbean and British West Indies, Canada (except Quebec), Guyana, Ireland, Liberia, New Zealand, the United States, or the United Kingdom] at or above the following minimums:

550 on the paper-based Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)
79 on the internet-based Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)
82 on the Michigan English Language Assessment Battery (MELAB)
7.0 on the International English Language Testing Service (IELTS)

120 on Duolingo - Ohio State has decided to accept Duolingo scores to fulfill the English Proficiency requirement for the Autumn 2024 admissions cycle. 

[TOEFL, MELAB, and IELTS scores are all valid for 2 calendar years from the date of the test]


Students applying to the MA or PhD in NESA are, additionally, expected to demonstrate (typically with an undergraduate major, or equivalent) sufficient competency in at least one of the languages taught in the Department (Arabic, Hebrew, Hindi, Persian, Turkish, or similar). Applicants to the PhD will be expected to have completed (at the projected time of enrollment) an MA or equivalent.

All applicants should also expect to be asked to demonstrate research and career interests that align with those of the Department's faculty and curriculum.  All applicants are encouraged to be in correspondence with the Chair of the Graduate Studies Committee, Professor Daniel Frank (frank.152@osu.edu), and any other members of the faculty whose work may be of interest, to ensure that their applications are the best possible representations of themselves as candidates for admission to the Department of Near Eastern and South Asian Languages & Cultures.


Submitted by the applicant electronically to Graduate & Professional Admissions at gradapply.osu.edu:

  1. Application form
  2. Curriculum Vitae (CV)
  3. Statement of Purpose of 500-1000 words, in English, articulating applicant's academic interests and the relevance to those goals of their own background and the OSU NESA graduate curriculum and faculty
  4. Writing sample, in English, as example of recent academic work relevant to research interests

Submitted on behalf of applicant to Graduate & Professional Admissions (via addresses and links provided after applicant creates OSU applicant account):

  1. Official coursework and degree completion transcripts for all former institutions [received either as secure electronic documents or as sealed paper documents]
  2. 3 letters of recommendation, at least two of which should address the applicant's academic experience and plans, and at least one of which should address the applicant's facility with relevant languages
  3. If applicable, English Language competency test scores
  4. Optional: GRE scores

Questions can be sent to Phoebe Carmichael - carmichael.96@osu.edu 

All applications are submitted directly to the OSU Office of Graduate and Professional Admissions at gpadmissions.osu.edu/programs/.  (See the Office of Graduate Admissions Application Quick Guide).  DO NOT SEND ANY MATERIALS AND DO NOT REQUEST THAT ANY MATERIALS BE SENT TO THE DEPARTMENT. The Department is not equipped to process the receipt of any application materials, and the completion of any application will be significantly delayed if any materials are directed to the Department.

All application materials should be submitted electronically; the Department of Near Eastern and South Asian Languages and Cultures cannot ensure that any materials submitted on paper will be received or processed appropriately.

Steps for officially applying to graduate programs in NESA:

1. Navigate to gpadmissions.osu.edu/programs/, and navigate to "Near Eastern Languages and Cultures”


Graduate Admission Find your Program Page


2. Select "Apply" tab OR select "Transfer of Graduate Program form," at bottom, if returning after previous graduate enrollment at Ohio State.


Application Deadlines Page

3. Select the "Go to application" link for the appropriate status as a current, former, or potential new student at Ohio State.


screenshot 2b

4. Current and recent students will be directed to internal OSU forms.  All other applicants click "Create Account", log in, and proceed to application.


Application Registration Page

5. Provide requested information, and upload required documents.  

The application consists of 5 tabs: personal, contact, academic, and program data, as well as final stages/submit; applicants navigate by saving individual tabs (button at bottom) and selecting other tabs directly.  A link to a PDF containing application instructions appears at the top.

6. Applicants must provide the names and contact information of at least 3 persons whom they've asked to write Letters of Recommendation.  

Those referees will receive emailed instructions for electronically submitting their letters after the application is finalized and submitted.  In circumstances where electronic submission of the letters is not feasible, applicants should provide their referees with appropriate instructions and signed, completed cover forms.

If the submission of a paper Letter of Recommendation is unavoidable, it must not be sent to the Department but should instead be sent, with its cover form, to:
       Graduate and Professional Admissions
       P.O. Box 182004
       Columbus, OH 43218-2004.

It is the applicant's responsibility to ensure that letters are sent to the correct address and by the appropriate deadline; applicants should encourage their referees to make use of the electronic submission apparatus to help ensure that all materials are received quickly and securely.

If an applicant failed to upload the CV, Statement of Purpose, or Writing Sample with their initial submission of the application or if they would like to submit a more recent version of any, they can submit these materials through the Graduate Admissions Uploader at admissions.osu.edu/secure/docus/.  Applicants should allow 5 days before the deadline for Graduate Admissions to process any uploaded materials.

8. Request that test scores and transcripts be sent to Graduate Admissions.

9. Monitor status of application materials in Applicant Center.

The Department Graduate Admission committee begins reviewing applications in December and typically expects to make admission decisions and offers in February and March.