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Dual Major Law and Democracy and NELC

Under this program, a student can double major in Near Eastern Languages & Cultures (NELC) and Law and Democracy in obtaining a Ph.D. from the Graduate School. This degree program takes advantage of synergies between the study of constitutional design and the study of the Middle East.

Law and democracy have emerged in recent years as critical issues in the Middle East and the Islamic world. Providing an opportunity for Ph.D. students to integrate law and democracy studies with a NELC focus adds considerable strength and breadth to the study of NELC. Similarly, the Center for Constitutional Democracy (CCD) stresses fieldwork in relevant overseas locations and interaction with foreign reform leaders, and the Middle East is one area of CCD’s current focus. NELC can provide students interested in law and democracy who wish to work on Middle Eastern issues with the relevant historical and cultural knowledge, as well as with the critical language skills necessary for advanced research. In short, the “dual major” Ph.D. program would significantly enhance the scope of NELC’s and CCD’s activities and the benefits they can offer students.

Components of the “Dual Major” Ph.D. Program


Students wishing to enroll in this “dual major” Ph.D. program will have to apply to both NELC and the Maurer School and be admitted by each into the program. NELC will apply the criteria it uses for admitting students into its Ph.D. program. NELC requires Ph.D. applicants to have completed (1) two years of study in the proposed major language (Elementary 1 through Intermediate 2); and (2) substantial upper division coursework in the history or culture of some part of the Middle East, such as an MA in the history and culture of the Middle East. The Maurer School will evaluate candidates in the same way it does for students seeking to complete the “Law and Democracy Track” of the Law and Social Science Ph.D. program. Each Ph.D. candidate admitted to this program shall have a research committee composed of four faculty members, with two from NELC and the Maurer School.

Credit Hour Requirements

A NELC Ph.D. degree normally requires at least 75 course credit hours (plus up to 15 credits of dissertation research, for a total of 90) and the “Law and Democracy Track” of the Law and Social Science Ph.D. degree normally requires 69 course credit hours (plus 21 credits of dissertation research, for a total of 90). For the “dual major” Ph.D., the Ph.D. minor requirements of each unit will be satisfied by the work done in the other. Total credit hours for the “dual major” Ph.D. will be a minimum of 120 hours, which includes 15 credits for the dissertation research.

Coursework Requirements for the NELC Major

NELC will require 54 credits of graduate course work, including:

(1) 12 credits of advanced language instruction (Advanced 1-4), or demonstration of fourth-year proficiency;
(2) 12 credits of a second Middle Eastern language (Elementary 1 through Intermediate 2), or demonstration of second-year proficiency;
(3) Minimum of 15 credits of advanced seminars in which the major language is used substantially; and
(4) Minimum of 15 credits of courses on the history, politics, culture, and religious traditions of the Middle East.

The usual 15 credit hours of a doctoral minor will be satisfied by the courses taken in the Law and Democracy major (see below).

Students may transfer a maximum of 30 credits from an appropriate MA program to satisfy the NELC Ph.D. coursework requirements. Graduate courses in elementary and intermediate instruction in the major language may not be counted towards the Ph.D.

Coursework Requirements of the Law and Democracy Major

The Maurer School will require 51 credit hours of graduate course work to be distributed as follows:

(1) 30 credit hours of law courses; and
(2) 21 credit hours in a combination of courses in Political Science and Anthropology.

The usual 15 credit hours in area studies will be satisfied by the courses taken in NELC (see above).

Comprehensive Examinations

“Dual major” Ph.D. students will complete independent comprehensive examinations for each major administered respectively by NELC and CCD.


Fifteen credit hours of dissertation research will also be required. The topic of a student’s dissertation must have a substantial relationship between NELC studies and law and democracy. The research committee will include at least two faculty members from the Maurer School and two from NELC. Successful completion of a doctoral dissertation is required.

Tuition Costs

Students in the “dual major” Ph.D. program will pay the same tuition and fees as all other Ph.D. students in the College of Arts and Sciences.