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Undergraduate Program

The Ancient Near East is where history begins. It is where the first crops were sown, the first towns built, and where writing was first invented. The origins of Western culture are to be found in its great civilizations, from the three great monotheistic religions - Christianity, Islam, and Judaism - to everyday aspects of our life that we take for granted, such as the alphabet and marking time by hours and minutes.

The Near Eastern Studies major can be the focal point of a broad liberal arts education, as well as a basis for graduate study. As an undergraduate major, you can study the civilizations of the ancient Near East in general or specialize in one of the four main areas: Northwest Semitic Languages and Literatures (including Biblical Studies), Egyptology, Assyriology, and Near Eastern Archaeology. You can also major in ancient history, in conjunction with courses in other departments. A complete listing of courses may be found in the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences On-line Course Catalog. For information about applying to Johns Hopkins see Undergraduate Admissions.

Requirements for the B.A. Degree

These requirements will apply to students entering in Fall Semester 2011.

• All students majoring in Near Eastern Studies must take two 100-level introductory courses to the Civilizations of the Ancient Near East (6 credits). The student may choose from:
130.101 Ancient Near Eastern Civilizations
130.126 (H) Ancient Mesopotamian Civilization
130.135 Ancient Egyptian Civilization

•Two of the following 300-level courses (6 credits) will also be required for the Major:
130.300 History of Ancient Mesopotamia
130.301 History of Ancient Syria-Palestine (First Semester)
130.302 History of Ancient Syria-Palestine (Second Semester)
130.303 Topics in the History of Egypt

•Four 300-level classes (12 credits) offered by the Department of Near Eastern Studies are then required within one of the three following tracks:
1) Art and Archaeology
2) History and Culture
3) Language (Akkadian, Arabic, Ancient Egyptian, Biblical Hebrew, Modern Hebrew, or Sumerian)
N.B. Those majoring also in Archaeology cannot choose the Art and Archaeology track.

•Three additional courses at any level (including, e.g., 100-level Freshman Seminars) offered by the Department of Near Eastern Studies are required for the Major (9 credits).

•130.420 Seminar in Reseach Methods in Near Eastern Studies (3 credits) (W). The topic of the seminar, which is writing intensive, will vary from year to year, depending on the field of the faculty member teaching the class. This seminar will also be open to non-majors who have taken at least one 100-level Near Eastern Civilization course and one 300-level Near Eastern Civilization course. This Seminar is generally offered in the Spring Semester. Students planning to graduate in December should register for this course in their junior year.

•Those seniors wishing to be considered for Departmental Honors may choose to write a Senior Thesis. A student must maintain a 3.5 GPA in the Major (through the junior year) to be eligible for Departmental Honors. It is advisable for such students to contact a faculty member to supervise the thesis during the spring semester of their junior year. The senior should then register for two semesters of independent study in the senior year.


Program Learning Goals for Near Eastern Studies:

NES offers three tracks to the B.A. with emphases in language, material culture, or civilization.

A. Near Eastern Languages (Hebrew, Akkadian/Sumerian, Egyptian, Arabic)

B. Egyptian or Near Eastern art and archaeology

C. Civilization of the Near East and/or Egypt

 

Program Level Goals:

A. Near Eastern Languages

1. Read at least one of three ancient languages at an intermediate level of competence. Demonstrate ability to translate moderately difficult texts in relevant language(s).

2. Acquire basic knowledge of the history of more than one area of the ancient Near East.

3. Express analyses and interpretations of texts and cultural materials in precise, organized, and persuasive language, written and oral.


B. Egyptian or Near Eastern art and archaeology

1. Demonstrate an ability to analyze archaeological sites through the reading and interpretation of site reports. Acquire a basic  knowledge of archaeological methods and theories relating to the Near East and/or Egypt.

2. Acquire basic knowledge of the history of more than one area of the ancient Near East.

3. Express analyses and interpretations of texts and cultural materials in precise, organized, and persuasive language, written and oral.


C. Civilization of the Near East and/or Egypt

1. Demonstrate an intermediate knowledge of the main historical and cultural periods, as well as the genres of literature (in translation) of at least one of the three main regions of the Near East (Mesopotamia, Syria-Palestine, Egypt).

2. Acquire basic knowledge of the history of more than one area of the ancient Near East.

3. Express analyses and interpretations of texts and cultural materials in precise, organized, and persuasive language, written and oral.

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