Middle Eastern, South Asian, and African Studies, MA

Program Category: MA Programs
Chair: Gil Hochberg
Director of Graduate Studies: Mana Kia, [email protected]
Website: columbia.edu/cu/mesaas/
Degree Programs: Full-Time/Part-Time: Free-Standing MA

As early as 1780, Columbia faculty were teaching what were then called Oriental languages. The idea of the Orient has changed and been deconstructed by Columbia’s own faculty, but Columbia’s eminence has never wavered.

The department offers courses in three major cultural areas: African Studies, Arab Studies, and South Asian Studies, as well as in Armenian, Hebrew, Persian, and Islamic Studies. A student may specialize in a variety of subfields decided in conjunction with his or her advisor and the academic affairs committee of the department.

Special Admissions Requirements

In addition to the requirements listed below, all students must submit one transcript showing courses and grades per school attended, a statement of academic purpose, a writing sample of no more than 15 to 20 pages, a personal statement, and three letters of evaluation from academic sources.

All international students whose native language is not English or whose undergraduate degree is from an institution in a country whose official language is not English must submit scores of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or IELTS.

For more information, refer to our Admissions Information and Frequently Asked Questions pages.

*GSAS will accept up to four recommendations, regardless of the number required by your program of interest. However, to be eligible for admission at GSAS, at least TWO letters must be submitted by academic recommenders.


All applicants must have at least one year of study of the language in their prospective field.