The Department of Middle Eastern Languages and Cultures (MELC) offers MA and PhD degrees in five distinct fields. Our MA procedures and PhD procedures conform to the general guidelines formulated by Penn’s Graduate Division of Arts and Sciences. However, individual fields of study may have their own additional specific requirements. 

Graduate students in MELC, whether at the MA or PhD level, will work closely with the faculty of the MELC Graduate Group, whose members include not just MELC departmental faculty but also faculty from across the University whose interests and specialties involve the advanced study of the Middle East and its cultures.

An advanced degree in MELC can lead to any number of careers. Our MELC graduates commonly adopt careers in academia, but not always. Recent graduates are employed as faculty in the full range of private and public research universities and smaller liberal-arts colleges. But many have also found distinguished careers in museums, government, journalism, diplomacy, and other areas, as can be seen from this list of our graduates and their theses from the past 150 years or so. Currently, MELC has one of the best placement records of any department in the Humanities at Penn.