MELC Graduate Program

MELC Graduate Programs:

The Department of Middle Eastern Languages and Cultures currently has four tracks from which MA students may choose:

  • a terminal master’s degree for students who do not intend to pursue the Ph.D., which requires only a single major Middle Eastern language;
  • a track for those who do intend to pursue the Ph.D., which requires a major and a minor Middle Eastern language;
  • a track for those who wish to complete an MA in Egyptology, which has special requirements
  • a separate dual Master’s degree, through which students earn a Master of Arts degree in MELC and a Master of Public Policy (M.P.A.) in the School of Public and Environmental Affairs (SPEA).

In addition, students can earn a dual MA degree with other departments of the COLL Graduate Division. Students must apply to both programs and be accepted to pursue the Dual Master’s Degree.

Doctoral students in Middle Eastern Languages and Cultures pursue an academic discipline grounded in a cultural and linguistic study of the Middle East. The Ph.D. requirements include:

  • five years of a primary Middle Eastern language;
  • two years of a second Middle Eastern language;
  • a European research language, usually French or German; and
  • a minor in another department, usually a disciplinary field.

In addition, students can acquire a dual Ph.D. in MELC and another department.

Director of Graduate Studies (DGS)

The graduate program in MELC is supervised by the Director of Graduate Studies (DGS), who is assisted by HLS Graduate Services. The DGS functions as a liaison to the Graduate School and to the various departmental committees and as a resource for rules governing all questions of academic standing. In conjunction with the HLS Graduate Services, the DGS helps in transferring credits, certifies eligibility for the Ph.D. qualifying exams, approves nominations to the MA degree and to Ph.D. candidacy, and generally oversees the academic progress of every student. The DGS will serve as principal academic advisor to all students pursuing an MA in MELC.

Students must bear in mind that the ultimate responsibility for making satisfactory progress lies with them. Specifically, it is the student’s responsibility, and not that of the faculty mentor, Director of Graduate Studies, or the MELC graduate office to keep track of all deadlines and to see that all requirements by the Graduate School are met.

Admission to the Graduate Program

Admission to the Master of Arts degree program requires completion of a Bachelor of Arts degree or its equivalent from an accredited college or university.

The University requires a minimum GPA of 3.0 for graduate applicants. Successful applicants usually have at least a 3.5 grade point average in courses for their major.

Applicants for both the MA and Ph.D. should submit the following:

  • Completed online admission application
  • Application fee: ($70.00)
  • Statement of purpose (1–2 Pages)
  • Transcripts from all colleges and universities attended, whether a degree was awarded, in the original language and English translation, where applicable.
  • Degree certificates: International students must also submit copies of their degree certificates in the original language and English translation
  • 3 letters of recommendation: sent directly to the Department or submitted online by the recommender, not the applicant
  • Graduate Record Examination (GRE): Official score reports: 2
    • Optional for all domestic applicants
    • recommended for international applicants
    • GRE scores must have been taken within 5 years
  • TOEFL scores for all international applicants. The University requires a minimum score of 79-80 on the computerized TOEFL. We accept IELTS scores of 6.5 and above.
  • Writing sample (8–10 pages), normally an academic paper
  • Language information: previous language study and other languages known

Official copies of required documents must bear the original seal or stamp of the issuing institution. Uncertified or notarized copies may be submitted during the application process, but certified copies must be received before students will be allowed to matriculate and register for classes.

Online application and instructions can be found hereDomestic applicants must submit their official transcripts to:

Hamilton Lugar School of Global & International Studies
Graduate Administrative Services
355 N. Eagleson Avenue
GA 2078
Bloomington, IN 47405-1105

Or electronically via a certified delivery service at:
International applicants must submit official transcripts to the Office of International Services at:

Office of International Services, Indiana University
Ferguson International Center
Room 100
330 N Eagleson Avenue
Bloomington, IN 47405-7513

Applications from U.S. citizens or permanent residents who have completed all or part of their education outside the U.S. will need to be evaluated by the Office of International Services. When the Office of International Services has completed its review of the record, that office will contact HLS.

No domestic application for admission with fellowship can be considered unless complete by December 15th. The international application deadline is December 15th. Applicants should therefore take the required examinations early enough so that their scores will reach the Department before the deadline. The Department will notify applicants whose files are incomplete, but each applicant must take responsibility for having the required items submitted.

IMPORTANT: Students who are applying for outside funding for their graduate work at IU, and who expect a decision on the financial-aid application(s) after the MELC application deadline, should not wait for their financial aid decisions before applying to IU, since NO application will be accepted after admission decisions have been made.

The beginning of the academic year is a busy and exciting time. There are multiple deadlines, which are rigid, come sooner than you would think, and cannot be waived. Consult page 6 for a list of significant dates.

Missing a deadline can cost you significant amounts of money and may lengthen the time you will need to earn your degree. It is your responsibility, not the Department’s, to know these deadlines and to meet them.

A required orientation for all new graduate students is held the week before the Fall semester begins. The orientation includes an introduction to the department faculty and staff, the Arabic placement exam, advising, and group activities.

New students will meet with the Director of Graduate Studies (DGS) to review their course schedule by initiating the HLS Advising form. The DGS will serve as an Advisor to all MA students (except Egyptology MA students) and to first-year Ph.D. students. By the end of their first year, Ph.D. students must select an Advisory Committee; the Chair of the Committee will then act as the doctoral student’s Advisor. In all cases, the Advisor lists the approved courses for the upcoming semester and approves a form that routes to HLS Graduate Services for final permission. Students then register for courses. Continuing students initiate the HLS Advising form each semester and send their advisor an email with their proposed course list for the upcoming semester. The Advisor completes the form, which is then reviewed and approved by the DGS. HLS Graduate Services then lifts the advising hold and emails the student that they have permission to enroll for the semester.

Advising form
IUB Official Calendar

It is important to register for classes as soon as possible. Classes often fill, and late registration can result in substantial fees.

The information provided below regarding dates and fees represents information available when this handbook was compiled. The Bursar’s and Registrar’s offices are the final authorities. Consult the Registrar and Bursar websites for the most up-to-date information.

Student Central provides a complete list of registration dates and policies for upcoming semesters.

If it is necessary to change classes, graduate students should adjust their schedules online as soon as possible but no later than the first week of classes. Classes dropped during the first week of classes will not appear on transcripts. Students who drop classes during the first week of classes will receive a 100% refund.

For information regarding the specific deadlines, please visit the website for Student Central.

The late drop and add periods begin in the second week of classes. Students who drop classes during the partial (100%) refund period forfeit a portion of the graduate tuition fees paid, even if the class was covered by a fee remission. Classes dropped after the 100% refund period will be assigned a grade of W (“withdrawn”), which will appear on transcripts.

For information regarding the specific deadlines, see Student Central.

The even exchange period occurs during the second week of classes. The policy permits a graduate student to exchange one class for one other class of equal credit hours without any net tuition charge if the dropped and added classes are submitted in the same transaction during the second week of classes. There will still be a $23 Late Schedule Change Fee, and the dropped course will still carry a grade of W on the student’s transcript.

For Fall 2023, the Arabic placement exam will be conducted Wednesday, August 16, 2023.

Other language placement exams are normally handled by other units. For example, the Hebrew: Borns Jewish Studies Program.

French: French and Italian German: Germanic Studies

International students staying in this country with a student visa must ordinarily be enrolled for at least twelve credit hours as undergraduates or eight credit hours as graduates to maintain their visa status. They need not be registered during the summer. Students taking their qualifying examinations must be enrolled for at least one credit hour and must in addition provide International Services with a written notice informing them about that fact and of the expected length of the examination period.

Coursework Issues and Academic Standards

IU Code of Student Rights, Responsibilities, and Conduct

All new students should take time to read the IU Code of Student Rights, Responsibilities, and Conduct. Each student is given a copy of this booklet when he or she enrolls in the university. Additional copies may be downloaded from the IUB website.

The booklet contains very important information that will help students avoid serious problems in their academic work and in living and working with other members of the university. The booklet also provides information about what students should do if they need help with problems in their academic work or in interacting with other members of the university.

Students will find chapters in the booklet on student rights and responsibilities, student complaint procedures, student academic and personal misconduct, and student disciplinary procedures. Students should pay special attention to the section on academic misconduct, which covers the following topics: (1) cheating, (2) fabrication, (3) plagiarism, (4) interference, (5) violation of course rules, (6) facilitating academic dishonesty.

Student Support

Normally, a student who registers for a course is expected to complete the requirements for that course before grades are due for the semester. Occasionally, students confront a serious and unexpected obstacle to completing final required coursework within the semester deadlines. In this case, the student has the option of requesting a grade of Incomplete from the course instructor. A student should make the request for an Incomplete in writing and prior to the end of classes. No professor is under any obligation to agree to the request of an Incomplete or to grant an Incomplete without an explicit request from the student. A student who has trouble completing course requirements before midterm should consider withdrawing from the course. (Check the academic calendar on the Office of the Registrar’s website for the deadlines for withdrawing from a course). An Incomplete is not a substitute for completing the requirements of a course or an open-ended deferral of the requirements of the course. Some requirements for a course cannot be completed after the course has stopped meeting. Students should consult with the professor before the end of classes to determine which work deadlines can be extended and which cannot.

If a student requests and receives an Incomplete, his or her plan should be to complete the work for the course within the next six months. Staying on schedule to complete the work for a course is the student’s responsibility, not the professor’s or the department. A student may not enroll a second time in a course in which he or she has a grade of Incomplete. The Registrar’s Office automatically turns Incompletes into F’s if twelve months have elapsed, and the instructor has not turned in a grade. Students should bear in mind that instructors have other instructional and administrative responsibilities and will need sufficient time to read and grade late work after it is submitted.

A grade of Incomplete that turns into an F will drastically lower the student’s GPA, which in turn will all but eliminate the student’s chance of receiving associate instructorships and fellowships, as well as admission into the doctoral program, since these usually require a GPA of 3.5 or higher. Incompletes can often have the same effect, even before they turn into F’s, since they suggest a student has difficulty meeting academic responsibilities. A low GPA or multiple incompletes can also lead to academic probation and dismissal from the Graduate School.

Students who are experiencing difficulty completing work for which they have received an incomplete should seek advice from their instructor. Instructors may grant an extension of an incomplete, giving the student additional time before the Incomplete becomes an F. Extensions of the grade of incomplete beyond the twelve months are not automatic. They require a written request explaining the reason for the extension and must be approved by the Department and the College, as well as by the instructor.

A grade of Incomplete may be removed in one of the following ways:

  1. By the student completing the course within the time limit and the instructor sending the appropriate Removal of Incomplete form to the Office of the Registrar.
  2. By the Dean of the student’s school authorizing the change of Incomplete to W.
  3. By the Dean of the student’s school authorizing the change of Incomplete to F.

Directed Readings/Independent Study course (e.g., M590, M593, M594, and M598) provide an important method for MELC graduate students to explore particular research interests on an individual basis, but there are special advising requirements. Students should adhere to the following guidelines:

  1. Discuss with your advisor what directed readings courses may be appropriate for your academic program and when and with which faculty members they should be taken. Faculty are under no obligation to grant requests for such courses.
  2. During the semester before you intend to take the course, meet with the prospective supervising faculty member to discuss your goals for the course, and if the member agrees, construct a reading list and project requirements.
  3. Before registration for your intended academic term, complete the Directed Readings Course Form (available from the Department), obtain the instructor’s signature, the Director of Graduate Studies signature, and submit it to the Department along with the reading list and project requirements. The form is used by the MELC office to generate registration permissions, to keep enrollees and instructors matched, and to coordinate grade reporting properly. Be sure the information on the form is clear and complete. Missing or incorrect information may cause registration difficulties, delayed or missing grades, and even more serious problems such as academic progress issues and holds on AI appointments.
  4. At the end of the semester, remind your instructor to submit your course grade. Grade reporting procedures are not the same as with normal classroom courses, so advise your instructor to consult the Department or the DGS if there are any questions.

We want all students to always be enrolled unless on an official leave of absence. Also, Ph.D. student must be continually enrolled each semester.

Eight credits may be transferred from another institution and counted towards a MELC MA. Thirty credits may be transferred and counted towards the Ph.D. Such transfers are dependent on approval by MELC and the College of Arts and Sciences Graduate Division and are not automatic.

Courses counted towards the fulfillment of the requirements of one advanced/graduate degree may not also be counted toward the requirements of another graduate degree at the same level. For more information, please see the University Graduate School Bulletin. If the student has already received a master’s degree, he/she may not count any of this coursework toward a second master’s degree.

Transfer of graduate credit requests will only be entertained after completion of your first year of study. Contact and the MELC DGS to initiate this process.

The College requires a minimum of a B average (3.0) in graduate work for continuance in graduate study and for the awarding of all degrees. A student will be placed on academic probation automatically for a GPA below the expected minimum, the accumulation of three or more Incompletes, or a failed first attempt of the qualifying examination. A student will also be placed on academic probation at the recommendation of the Department for insufficient progress or upon review of the student’s academic record by the Dean. A student must be placed on probation and given an opportunity to demonstrate improved progress for at least one full semester before the student may be dismissed from the graduate degree program. Once so placed, a student will remain on probation for one full academic semester. The College expects students to remain on probation for no longer than one academic year.