of ancient and modern Mediterranean civilizations.


Who We Are

Christopher Rollston holds a pot inscribed with modern forgery at the Rockefeller Museum in Jerusalem.
Christopher Rollston holds a pot inscribed with modern forgery at the Rockefeller Museum in Jerusalem.

The GW Department of Classical and Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations (CNELC) instills in students a deep understanding of the social, cultural and physical environments of the ancient and modern worlds.

We are one of the country’s only academic programs to offer both a major in Classical and Ancient Near Eastern Studies and a major in Arabic studies, in addition to a minor in Hebrew studies, courses in Persian, and a BA/MA in Classical and Ancient Near Eastern Studies and Museum Studies. Our award-winning faculty members specialize in a diverse range of research areas. Through rigorous courses, students become creative thinkers and explore the linguistic, cultural and historical roots of the rich and strategically important societies of the Mediterranean Basin.

Drawing on the resources of the Washington, D.C., area, we offer students in-class visits to local museums, foreign film screenings, lectures, cultural programs and internships at embassies and institutes. Many students apply their classical interests to study abroad programs and archaeological excavations around the world.


Our Focus Areas

CNELC’s wide-ranging classes support academic disciplines across the university, including Columbian College's History, Religion, Judaic Studies, Classical Archaeology, Art History, Anthropology and Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies departments, as well as the Elliott School of International Affairs.



We offer a major and minor in Arabic and a minor in Arabic and Hebrew Languages and Cultures. Arabic language classes attract 300+ students from across the university each semester. 


Modern Hebrew

In addition to the shared minor in Arabic and Hebrew Language and Cultures, we offer modern Hebrew courses that enroll students from within and outside the department.


Modern Persian

Our Persian classes are popular with students from a broad range of disciplines, including the humanities, international affairs, business, law and more.

Faculty by Research Area


"I decided to major in Arabic when I found myself gaining knowledge in politics, media and business — in addition to linguistics! The tremendous academic, professional and moral support provided by the department is unmatched, and I am forever grateful for a community that has significantly influenced my academic and career decisions."

Reem Abulohoom
BA ’20, Arabic Studies

Reem Abulohoom

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