Middle Eastern, South Asian, and African Studies

Program Category: PhD Programs
Chair: Gil Hochberg
Director of Graduate Studies: Sudipta Kaviraj
Website: Middle Eastern, South Asian, and African Studies
Email Address: jr650 [at] columbia.edu
Degree Programs: Full-Time: MA, MPhil, PhD; Full-Time/Part-Time: Free-Standing MA

As early as 1780, Columbia faculty were teaching what were then called Oriental languages. The idea of the Orient has changed and been deconstructed by Columbia’s own faculty, but Columbia’s eminence has never wavered.

The department offers courses in three major cultural areas: African Studies, Arab Studies, and South Asian Studies, as well as in Armenian, Hebrew, Persian, and Islamic Studies. A student may specialize in a variety of subfields decided in conjunction with his or her advisor and the academic affairs committee of the department.

Fellowships are awarded in recognition of academic achievement and in expectation of scholarly success. Teaching and research experience are considered an important aspect of the training of graduate students. Thus, graduate fellowships include some teaching and research apprenticeship.

Certificate in Comparative Literature and Society

The Institute for Comparative Literature and Society (ICLS) awards a certificate in Comparative Literature and Society. For more information, see the ICLS website.

Special Admissions Requirements: 

In addition to the requirements listed below, all students must submit one transcript showing courses and grades per school attended, a statement of academic purpose, a writing sample of no more than 20 pages, and three letters of evaluation from academic sources.

All international students whose native language is not English or whose undergraduate degree is from an institution in a country whose official language is not English, must submit scores of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or IELTS.

For more information, refer to our Admissions Information and Frequently Asked Questions pages.

Deadline for Fall Admission: Thursday, December 19, 2019
Resume Requirement: Yes
Writing Sample: Yes
Writing Sample Number of Pages: 15-20
GRE General: Yes
Degree Programs: Full Time
Letters of Recommendation: 3


All applicants must have at least one year of study of the language in their prospective field.