Frequently Asked Questions

What programs and degrees does CMES offer?

Joint PhD Programs in Middle Eastern Studies: CMES offers joint PhD programs with the Departments of Anthropology, History, and History of Art and Architecture.

Master's (AM) in Regional Studies—Middle East: A two-year program that awards a terminal master’s degree in Regional Studies—Middle East.

AB/AM in Regional Studies—Middle East: The joint AB/AM degree option allows Harvard College students with Advanced Standing to earn independent bachelor’s and master’s degrees at the same time.

When is the application deadline for CMES AM and PhD programs?

You will find application deadlines and information, including letters of recommendation, GRE, English Proficiency, and Transcripts, on the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS) website.

What are the application requirements for CMES graduate programs?

All prospective students must apply using the GSAS online application. CMES application requirements can be found on our program page.

Applicants whose native language is not English and who do not hold the equivalent of a US Bachelor’s degree from an institution at which English is the language of instruction must submit scores from the Internet-based test (IBT) of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). The GSAS Application Instructions provide more information.

Students from the UK should have their post-secondary institutions issue a transcript that indicates whether they received a first or second degree.

Is the GRE required?

The GRE is not required. PhD and AM applicants may upload their scores if desired.

Is a writing sample required for applications to CMES programs?

A writing sample is required for application to the PhD programs. Applicants to the AM may submit a writing sample but it is not required.

Is there a minimum GRE, TOEFL, or GPA score required for admission? What is the average GPA/GRE score of admitted students?

No, there are no minimum scores required for admission to CMES programs. Additionally, CMES does not have data available on the average GPA or GRE of incoming or admitted students. The admissions committee takes into account a student’s complete academic profile in the admissions process.

What program do I apply to if I’m interested in the joint PhD program?

Applicants to CMES joint PhD programs need only to complete the GSAS online application to Middle Eastern Studies. There is no separate application to the joint department.

What level of proficiency in a Middle East language is required for admission?

There are no minimum language requirements for admission to CMES graduate programs.  Most applicants have completed previous training in a relevant Middle Eastern language.

Does CMES offer financial aid?

Funding for AM students is extremely limited. Other financial aid options for AM applicants are listed here.

Those accepted to the PhD programs can expect a full support package. Details are available on the GSAS website.

What can I do with a master’s degree from CMES?

CMES AM students enter a variety of fields and employment settings after graduation. Many students continue their education in a PhD or JD program, some gain employment with NGOs, the government, or as business consultants, some return to the military, and others travel to the Middle East region as Fulbright scholars.

CMES AM careers 2004-19
CMES AM graduates 2004-19 career paths


CMES works with the Harvard Office of Career Services to assist students in their search for post-graduate opportunities. We have also organized career workshops with CMES alumni and other professionals working in various fields.

For additional information, please explore the Academic Programs section of this website and the GSAS Admissions Overview. Further questions about the academic aspects of CMES programs may be addressed to Jesse Howell, Academic Programs Manager.