Middle East Studies

Middle East Studies (MES) is an interdisciplinary concentration that draws upon courses offered by a distinguished core faculty in the humanities and the social sciences. Regardless of one’s passions – whether history, religion, politics, culture, literature, modern media, philosophy or practices of everyday life – the Middle East is an ideal site for considering the diversity and complexity of the human experience.  A growing number of exciting courses, creative and relevant programming, and a steady stream of post-docs and visiting professors offer unparalleled opportunities for MES concentrators who wish to understand this region and to engage with a broad range of issues that affect our world.

Standard Program for the AB Degree

HIST 1968Approaches to The Middle East1
Foundational Courses, to be elected from the courses below:2
Cultures of the Contemporary Middle East
Ethnographies of the Muslim Middle East
Middle East Beginnings: Pre-Islamic Arabia to Ottoman Europe
Modern Middle East Roots: 1492 to the Present
The Making of the Modern Middle East
Islam Unveiled
Middle East Politics
Language Semesters: Basic competence in at least one of the modern Middle Eastern languages is required. This entails taking at least four semesters of coursework in one of the modern Middle Eastern languages such as Arabic, Persian, Hebrew, Turkish, etc. 14
Electives: Four courses chosen from the list of courses that are cross-listed by Middle East Studies and approved by the Concentration advisor. Students should aquire a good balance of courses bu takng courses in the humatities and social sciences. Students should also seek a good balance between courses whose primary subject matter is pre-modern (ancient and medieval) and modern and contemporary Middle East. 4
Capstone/Honors Project: This can take many forms, such as:1
a. a paper of no less than 30 pages for an existing concentration-eligible (MES-coded or X-Listed) WRIT-designated course, undertaken with the permission of the instructor
b. An independent study or project (artistic, research, or otherwise) supervised by at least one faculty member for at least one semester under MES 1970- Independent Study designation 2
c. An Honors Thesis
Total Credits12

 Honors students will be required to have at least six semesters of language study (Advanced), two semesters of which may be counted toward the elective requirement.


 Two semesters of Independent Study (MES 1970) are required for honors and will raise the number of required courses to 13.


To be eligible for honors, students will have earned an "A"  in the majority of courses for the concentration.  Honors students will be required to have at least six semesters of language study (Advanced), two semesters of which may be counted toward the elective requirement.  Two semesters of Independent Study (MES 1970) towards the Honors Thesis with the thesis advisor(s) are required.  This is typically done during senior year and will raise the total number of required courses to 13.