Middle Eastern Studies

Master of Arts

The Center for Middle Eastern Studies administers the master’s degree in Middle Eastern studies. 

For More Information

Campus address: Calhoun Hall (CAL) 528, phone (512) 471-3881, fax (512) 471-7834; campus mail code: F9400

Mailing address: The University of Texas at Austin, Graduate Program, Middle Eastern Studies, 204 W 21st Street Stop F9400, Austin TX 78712

URL: https://liberalarts.utexas.edu/mes/index.php

Facilities for Graduate Work

University library holdings on the Middle East form one of the leading collections in North America. These include over 200,000 items in Arabic, Hebrew, Persian, Turkish, Kurdish, Tajiki, and Azerbaijani, among other relevant languages of the region. The collection includes a comprehensive set of Western-language reference works, general texts, monographs, and essential journals (print and electronic) that support teaching at all levels, alongside a large body of more specialized books, periodicals, manuscripts, archival documents, and electronic resources serving the needs of advanced researchers. Among the collection’s strengths are robust holdings of late 19th- and early 20th-century Arabic periodicals; works of Islamic law; Arabic, Persian, and Azeri literature; a unique set of microfilms of Arabic manuscripts of the Zaydis of Yemen; Middle East banking ephemera; Iranian cinema and film studies; a virtually complete set of Turkish and Azerbaijani periodicals that forms a unique national resource; and more than 2,000 volumes of census records on Middle Eastern countries. Among our unique Israeli resources are cinema periodicals in print, the literary journal Iton 77 and the fanzine Queer Eye digital collections, a collection of publications (in Arabic) by the Palestinian Forum of Israel Studies based in Ramallah, and a collection of publications by the Zochrot NGO, Tel Aviv. 

Electronic material supporting Middle Eastern studies is also extensive and includes electronic databases such as JSTOR and ATLA; the Perry-Castañeda digitized map collection; the Encyclopedia of IslamGeschichte der arabischen Litteratur and Brockelmann in English; Foreign Office Files for the Middle East; the Kotobarabia Arabic e-book collections; The Encyclopaedia JudaicaEncyclopedia of Jewish History and Culture, the Encyclopedia of Jews in the Islamic World and the Judaic Classics Library. The department has also donated to the main library a collection of approximately four thousand English-language books and reference works, some 10,000 digitized slides, and hundreds of films and periodicals. The Harry Ransom Center holds writers’ personal papers, including those of T. E. Lawrence, Paul Bowles, Freya Stark, Richard Burton, and others with a special Middle Eastern connection. The Ransom Center has significant holdings relating to Judaica, including the Isaac Bashevis Singer Archive, the Leon Uris Archive, and a portion of the literary archive of Bernard Malamud. The Dolph Briscoe Center for American History holds the Development Communication Archive, donated by the federal Agency for International Development, which consists of more than 350 linear feet of original records on issues ranging from agriculture and the environment to health and community development; about a quarter of the documents cover Middle Eastern projects. University faculty members and students also have access to vast centralized resources such as the Center for Research Libraries’ (CRL) collection in Chicago and the digital, full-text searchable CRL Alliance Global Press Archive with Eastview.

Areas of Study

Offered by the Center for Middle Eastern Studies (CMES), the Master of Arts (MA) in Middle Eastern studies (MES) is an interdisciplinary academic degree designed to broaden and deepen the student’s knowledge of the Middle East and its languages. The MES MA degree is a terminal MA degree. It may be undertaken in the context of one of seven dual degree programs that allow graduate students to simultaneously earn an MA in MES and a second degree from one of UT’s professional schools. MA degree requirements are the same for all MES MA students, whether or not they pursue a dual degree. There is a good deal of flexibility in meeting degree requirements; each student, in consultation with the graduate advisor, designs an individual program within the framework of the requirements described in Degree Requirements. Many students in this program enter careers in academia, business, communication, government, global policy studies, public affairs, information studies, law, and the military.

Graduate Studies Committee

The following faculty members served on the Graduate Studies Committee (GSC) in the spring 2023 semester.

Ari Adut
Ahmad Agbaria
Kamran S Aghaie
Olla N Al-Shalchi
Kamran Ali
Samy Ayoub
Hina Azam
Zoltan D Barany
Benjamin Claude Brower
Jason M Brownlee
Mounira M Charrad
Rasha Diab
Emily L Drumsta
David J Eaton
Karen Grumberg
Geraldine Heng
Syed A Hyder
Jonathan Kaplan
Mikiya Koyagi
Mohammad A Mohammad
A Azfar Moin
Stephennie Mulder
Mary C Neuburger
Avigail Noy
Jeannette Okur
Thomas G Palaima
Athanasio Papalexandrou
Na'ama Pat-El
Esther L Raizen
Sonia T Seeman
Nahid Siamdoust
Denise A Spellberg
Jeremi Suri
Thomas Levi Thompson
Bruce Wells

Admission Requirements

Master of Arts

Students seeking admission to the MA in MES must have a BA from an accredited college or university. Students seeking admission to a Dual Degree program must apply to both CMES and the second academic unit for admission, and undergo admissions evaluations by both units. Dual degree students typically spend a third year at CMES (or a fourth, in the case of the dual degree in Law).