Applying to CMES

Welcome, prospective students! Thank you for your interest in the graduate degree programs at the Center for Middle Eastern Studies (CMES) at Harvard University.

Applications to CMES graduate programs are administered by the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS), and are accepted online only. You will find application deadlines and information, including letters of recommendation, GRE, English Proficiency, and Transcripts, on the GSAS website as well.

We welcome applications from students with a demonstrated interest in Middle Eastern Studies. Strong recommendations and a compelling statement of purpose are vital to a successful application. The GRE is required of all applicants; however there is no minimum score or minimum GPA. The admissions committee takes into consideration all elements of an applicant’s background in their evaluation of applications. Prior language training in a Middle Eastern language is not a prerequisite, although it is advantageous to one’s application. All application materials, including GRE and TOEFL scores, must be submitted to GSAS by the deadline.

Prospective students should read the program descriptions (AM and PhD) carefully before submitting their applications. Students should also consult the CMES Prospective Student FAQs for answers to common questions about applying to CMES.

For more information about applying to a CMES graduate program through the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences, including a link to the online application, please visit the GSAS Admissions website.

Other Options for Middle East-related Graduate Studies at Harvard

Prospective students will find a diverse selection of graduate programs at Harvard that allow specialized research on topics related to the Middle East. In addition to reviewing the graduate programs offered through CMES, please take time to explore other avenues for graduate-level study of the Middle East at Harvard to ensure you are applying to the program that best meets your needs. 

For example, some students pursue advanced degrees with an informal specialization on the Middle East: in government with a concentration in the Middle East; in sociology with an emphasis on the Arab world; or in comparative literature with an emphasis on Arabic. Those with a particular interest in Islamic, early Christian, or Judaic studies may find the graduate programs at Harvard’s Divinity School most appropriate. Those with a specific interest in the languages, literatures, or archaeology of the Middle East may wish to explore the graduate programs offered through Harvard’s Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations. Students interested in public or social policy as it relates to world affairs more broadly should review the graduate programs offered at Harvard Kennedy School.

Still Have Questions?

Please review the program, admissions, and FAQ information on this website and the admissions and CMES-related sections of the GSAS website thoroughly. If you have specific program-related questions not addressed there, please contact Harry Bastermajian.