The graduate program in Assyriology provides students with the training to read cuneiform tablets written in the Akkadian and Sumerian languages that were written over a period of 3,000 years in ancient Mesopotamia and elsewhere in the Near East.

Students will develop essential philological skills; a deep familiarity with the ancient textual record; and a knowledge of historical, literary, and linguistic theory.


Assyriology students take at least one course in Akkadian each semester. Through these courses and independent study, all students should cover Old Akkadian; Old Babylonian letters, documents, and inscriptions; Standard Babylonian literary and religious texts; Assyrian dialects; at least one peripheral dialect; and, depending on the individual student’s interests, a selection of other dialects and genres.


All students must do at least one year of Sumerian. Students with a special interest in Sumerian should read Old Sumerian, Gudea, Ur III texts, Old Babylonian literary texts and royal inscriptions, and later bilinguals.

Mesopotamian History and Civilization

Assyriology students should participate each semester in the Mesopotamian Seminar (132.800-801), which meets four times per semester.


Students participate in at least three seminars touching on Mesopotamian art and archaeology.

Other Ancient Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations

Students take courses corresponding to their particular interests. Note the minor subject requirement under the General Requirements.

Courses in Other Departments

Assyriology students should take (or audit) at least one course per year in another department, depending on their research interests.