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Department of the Languages and Cultures of the Near and Middle East

Certificate in Ancient Near Eastern Studies

Duration: One year full-time; Two or three years part-time


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Mark Weeden

Mark Weeden


Minimum Entry Requirements: The minimum entry requirement is the ability to demonstrate the potential to study at undergraduate level. However, programmes may have their own specific requirements, such as, in the case of language-based studies, a proven ability to learn a language.

The Certificate in Ancient Near Eastern Studies is based on the first year of the BA programme in Ancient Near Eastern Studies (ANES).

Full-time syllabus (one year):

Where the course is taken full-time, in one year, the student normally takes an introductory course in Akkadian (Babylonian and Assyrian) in the cuneiform script, a course in the literature of the Middle East at SOAS, and two UCL units, typically western Asiatic archaeology and Sumerian or biblical Hebrew, if available.

Part-time syllabus

Where the course is taken part-time, over two or three years, the student has the option of taking a more intensive language-learning programme. Part-time programmes can be built out of the following first and second-year units:

Normally two units are taken in the first year of the part-time syllabus.


Course Structure

The Certificate in Ancient Near Eastern Studies is based on the first year of the BA programme in Ancient Near Eastern Studies (ANES).

Students can choose to study full time (one year) or part time (two or three years). 4 units must be undertaken and passed to gain the certificate. Generally, 2 units are taken at SOAS and 2 units are taken at UCL.

NB: The SOAS unit Introductory Sumerian cannot be taken together with the UCL unit HEBR7604 Sumerian language. The SOAS unit Sumerian texts I cannot be taken with the UCL unit HEBR7606 Intermediate Sumerian.

UCL Units
Full-time syllabus (one year)

Possible units include;

  • Introductory units in Sumerian or Hebrew
  • Western Asiatic Archaeology
Part-time syllabus

Possible units include;

  • UCL HEBR1005 Introduction to classical Hebrew
  • UCL ARCL1009 Peoples and societies of the ancient Near East (0.5 unit)
  • UCL ARCL1011 Texts in archaeology (0.5 unit)
  • UCL HEBR7606 Intermediate Sumerian
  • UCL HEBR7604 Sumerian language
SOAS Units
Full-time syllabus (one year)

Students normally take these SOAS units;

Part-time syllabus (two or three years)

Possible units include;


Teaching & Learning

Teaching & Learning

Courses are taught during the day. Teaching begins in late September. Examinations are in May-June.

Courses in Akkadian are taught by Professor Andrew R George and Dr Daniel Schwemer, courses in Sumerian by Professor George and Professor M J Geller of the Department of Hebrew and Jewish Studies, University College London (UCL). Hebrew is taught in the Department of Hebrew and Jewish Studies, UCL.

How to apply

Applications are made directly to SOAS through the online application system, if you have any further questions please contact the Admissions Department on associatestudent@soas.ac.uk

A Student's Perspective

My time flew by in London. I made a lot of wonderful friends at SOAS, and we often attended the various events put on by the Student Union and student societies, which ranged from musical performances to debates to movie screenings.

Kate Van Akin - Harvard University, Law School