Middle Eastern Studies

Master of Arts (in Middle Eastern Studies)
Master of Arts (in Middle Eastern Languages and Cultures)
Doctor of Philosophy (in Middle Eastern Languages and Cultures)

The Center for Middle Eastern Studies administers the master’s degree in Middle Eastern studies. The Department of Middle Eastern Studies administers the master’s and doctoral degree programs in Middle Eastern languages and cultures.

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: http://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 150,000 volumes and 1,230 serial titles in Arabic, Hebrew, Persian, Turkish, Kurdish, Tajiki, and Azerbaijani, and more than 160,500 volumes in Western languages. This collection includes a comprehensive set of English-language reference works, general texts, basic monographs, and essential journals on the Middle East. Among the special collections are strong holdings on Shi’ism, Islamic jurisprudence, and Arabic and Persian literature; a set of Arabic manuscripts on the Yezidis of Yemen; 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. The University Libraries has the largest collection of South African Jewish materials in the United States, both in belles lettres and in periodicals. 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 Islam; Records on Islam: Primary Documents; The Encyclopaedia Judaica; 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 in Chicago and the Yale University-sponsored OACIS project.

Areas of Study

The Center for Middle Eastern Studies offers the Master of Arts with a major in Middle Eastern studies, an interdisciplinary degree with a regional concentration on the Middle East. Many students in this program enter careers in academia, business, communication, government, global policy studies, public affairs, information studies, law, and the military. There is a good deal of flexibility in meeting degree requirements; each student, in consultation with the graduate adviser, designs an individual program within the framework of the requirements described in Degree Requirements

The Department of Middle Eastern Studies offers master’s and doctoral degrees in Middle Eastern languages and cultures. Students at the master’s level may concentrate in teaching Arabic as a foreign language (TAFL). At the doctoral level, students select a field of study from among the following: linguistics (theoretical linguistics or language pedagogy), literatures/cultures, Hebrew Bible/ancient Near East, or Islamic studies.

Graduate Studies Committee

The following faculty members served on the Graduate Studies Committee (GSC) in the spring 2020 semester.

Ari Adut
Kamran S Aghaie
Mahmoud M Al-Batal
Olla N Al-Shalchi
Kamran Ali
Blake Robert Atwood
Germine Gigi Awad
Samy Ayoub
Hina Azam
Zoltan D Barany
Benjamin Claude Brower
Jason M Brownlee
Kristen Elizabeth Brustad
Mounira M Charrad
Rasha Diab
David J Eaton
Mohammad Ghanoonparvar
Kate Gillespie
Karen Grumberg
Jo Ann Hackett
Geraldine Heng
John Huehnergard
Syed A Hyder
Jonathan Kaplan
Mikiya Koyagi
William R Louis
Mohammad A Mohammad
A Azfar Moin
Stephennie Mulder
Mary C Neuburger
Jeannette Okur
Thomas G Palaima
Athanasio Papalexandrou
Na'ama Pat-El
Esther L Raizen
Sonia T Seeman
Faegheh S Shirazi
Denise A Spellberg
Joseph Straubhaar
Jeremi Suri
Alexander Ariel Weinreb
Bruce Wells

Admission Requirements

Master of Arts

Middle Eastern studies. The entering student must have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university. While the Center admits students holding a variety of undergraduate degrees, previous academic work on the region and some proficiency in one of its languages is recommended.

Middle Eastern languages and cultures. Admission to the program with a focus in teaching Arabic as a foreign language (TAFL) requires a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university and advanced proficiency in Arabic, including one spoken dialect.

Doctor of Philosophy

Middle Eastern languages and cultures. Because scholarship in Middle Eastern languages and cultures requires a high degree of language proficiency, students normally complete a Master of Arts in the area of concentration before acceptance into the PhD program. In exceptional cases, the Graduate Admissions Committee may take extensive study outside of a master’s program into account. For students specializing in a living language tradition, advanced proficiency in the language of concentration is required. Students focusing on the ancient Near East must have three years of biblical Hebrew (including study of biblical Aramaic), one year of a second ancient Semitic language, and either a second year of the same ancient Semitic language or proficiency in German, as well as background in the study of the Hebrew Bible.