Near Eastern Studies

The Near Eastern Studies Department offers a wide range of courses on the cultures and languages of the ancient Near East, including Egypt, Israel, Syria, and Mesopotamia. Biblical Hebrew, Modern Hebrew, and Arabic are available for study, in addition to hieroglyphs and cuneiform. Archaeology is also an option for students; the department carries out excavations in Egypt and Syria. While language study is a large part of the undergraduate major, most of the department’s undergraduate courses require no knowledge of a foreign language and cover archaeology, history, religion, art, and literature of the ancient civilizations of the Near East.

Academic Details

Overview of the Undergraduate Curriculum

Undergraduates majoring in Near Eastern studies take a core series of courses covering the history of the region. Students then choose a specific track of coursework either in art and archaeology, history and culture, or language (Akkadian, Arabic, Ancient Egyptian, Biblical Hebrew, Modern Hebrew, or Sumerian). A seminar in research methods is required as well.

Honors Opportunities

A student must maintain a 3.5 G.P.A. in the major (through the junior year) to be eligible for departmental honors. Students wishing to be considered for departmental honors may also choose to write a senior thesis.

Student Stories


Near Eastern Studies major Ashlyn Dow ’10 accompanied Johns Hopkins professor Betsy Bryan to Egypt and visited a large number of sites across the country.

Study Abroad

Students majoring in Near Eastern studies have studied abroad in Egypt, Wales, and Morrocco. The two archaeological sites affiliated with Johns Hopkins faculty—one in Luxor, Egypt, the other in Tell Umm el-Marra, Syria—are also popular options.


Related Student Groups

Archaeology and Ancient Civilizations Club (AACC)

Campus & Baltimore Resources

Johns Hopkins Archeological Museum

The Walters Art Museum

Johns Hopkins in Egypt

The Johns Hopkins/University of Amsterdam joint expedition to Tell Umm el-Marra, Syria

Majors & Minors Programs