Degree Requirements

Master of Arts

Middle Eastern Studies

This program consists of at least thirty semester hours, including a six-semester-hour thesis; or at least thirty-three semester hours, including a three-semester-hour report. With the exception of Middle Eastern Studies 698A, 698B, and 398R, all courses must be taken on the letter-grade basis. For the thirty-semester-hours thesis option, students complete eighteen semester hours of Middle Eastern studies coursework, up to six semester hours of non-Middle Eastern studies minor area coursework, and six semester hours of thesis. For the thirty-three-semester-hours report option, students complete twenty-four semester hours of Middle Eastern studies coursework, up to six semester hours of non-Middle Eastern studies minor area coursework, and three semester hours of report. 

For administrative purposes, a coursework option is available to dual-degree students who are required by their other graduate program to take the 698A and 698B courses, or 398R course, so that the student does not need to complete two theses, two reports, or one thesis/one report. In such cases, a Center for Middle Eastern Studies Graduate Studies Committee member must still serve as either the supervisor, co-supervisor, or second reader.

Language requirement (six semester hour minimum): The student must complete either two upper-division or graduate-level courses in one modern Middle Eastern language while enrolled in the degree program. These two courses shall be applied to the Middle Eastern studies major area coursework requirement. Students who are native speakers of a Middle Eastern language must complete these courses in a different modern Middle Eastern language.

Coursework distribution: Within their Middle Eastern studies coursework, students will take a minimum of one three-credit course in each of the following categories: history, humanities, and social sciences. 

All students are expected to maintain a minimum 3.50 grade point average in order to remain in good standing. Failure to maintain this minimum average will result in a warning letter and one semester of probation, during which time the student is expected to return to a minimum 3.50 grade point average. The program has the discretion to dismiss students who are unable to meet this requirement after one additional semester.

Middle Eastern Languages and Cultures

Both the thesis and report options require thirty semester hours of coursework, which is to be chosen in consultation with the student's supervisor or the graduate adviser. The thesis option requires at least twenty-four semester hours of coursework, to be taken on a letter-grade basis, and six semester hours (Middle Eastern Studies 698A and 698B) of thesis coursework culminating in an approved thesis. The report option requires twenty-seven semester hours of coursework, to be taken on a letter-grade basis, and three semester hours (Middle Eastern Studies 398R) of report coursework culminating in an approved report. The report option will most commonly take the form of an applied pedagogy project or publishable article.

All students are expected to maintain a minimum 3.50 grade point average in order to remain in good standing. Failure to maintain this minimum average will result in a warning letter and one semester of probation, during which time the student is expected to return to a minimum 3.50 average. The program has the discretion to dismiss students who are unable to meet this requirement after one additional semester.

Doctor of Philosophy

The program is designed to increase the breadth and depth of the student’s knowledge and to develop his or her capacity for independent scholarly research. The courses required are determined by the student’s interests in consultation with the doctoral supervisor.

Middle Eastern Languages and Cultures

The aim of the program is to educate and mentor scholars and teachers of the languages and cultures of the Middle East with the depth to support a sustained research career and the breadth to teach a range of courses on Middle Eastern topics. Students learn to design and execute research projects that will help redefine the frontiers of discovery in their field. Teaching experience helps prepare them to communicate new knowledge to experts and nonexperts alike.

In applying to the program, students select an area of study from among the following: linguistics (theoretical linguistics or language pedagogy), literatures/cultures, Hebrew Bible/ancient Near East, or Islamic studies. Through the course of their studies, they develop methodological expertise in at least one of the following areas: textual analysis, literary theory, linguistic theory, or cultural theory. During their first year, incoming students choose or are assigned a faculty mentor with whom they plan to work in their major field. This mentor oversees the student’s selection of courses for registration and the design of his or her course of study. Students are also encouraged to seek the advice of other faculty members in the program on their studies and their progress.

Students must develop a mastery of at least one major Middle Eastern language and must demonstrate scholarly research skills and potential. A period of study abroad in the region of specialization is strongly recommended for students of living languages. Study of a second Middle Eastern language is strongly encouraged, and competency in a research language is required. Doctoral candidates are also expected to present papers at academic or professional conferences before graduation.

PhD students normally take three years of coursework beyond the master’s degree. Before taking the comprehensive examinations, each student must demonstrate, through formal testing, proficiency in the language required by his or her major field. Reading knowledge in one research language (typically German or French) is required and must be demonstrated by passing a reading test administered by the department.

To be admitted to candidacy for the degree, the student must pass comprehensive written and oral examinations. The purpose of the examinations is to certify that the student has sufficient knowledge for an academic career, and has the skills and abilities required to complete a doctoral dissertation. Examinations are normally taken during the third or fourth year of the program.

After passing these examinations, the candidate sets up a dissertation committee with the help of his or her supervisor. This committee approves the dissertation prospectus as a prerequisite to candidacy, guides the student in writing and revising the dissertation, and administers the final oral dissertation defense.

All students are expected to maintain a minimum 3.50 grade point average in order to remain in good standing. Failure to maintain this minimum average will result in a warning letter and one semester of probation, during which time the student is expected to return to a minimum 3.50 grade point average. The program has the discretion to dismiss students who are unable to meet this requirement after one additional semester.

Dual Degree Programs

The Center for Middle Eastern Studies offers the following dual degree programs in cooperation with other divisions of the University. More information is available from the graduate adviser in each program.

Field(s) of Study Degree(s)
Business administrationMaster of Business Administration
Global policy studiesMaster of Global Policy Studies
Information studiesMaster of Science in Information Studies
JournalismMaster of Arts
LawDoctor of Jurisprudence
Public affairsMaster of Public Affairs
Radio-television-filmMaster of Arts