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Undergraduate Catalog

2012 - 2013

BA in Middle East Studies/Arabic
(53–61 hours*)


The Discipline

Middle East Studies examines the Arabic-, Turkish-, and Persian-speaking peoples and countries of the Middle East from a variety of perspectives. The region itself provides the focus, but historians, political scientists, anthropologists, economists, geographers, linguists, art historians, and literary and religious scholars all provide important insights into the area, each from the context of their own discipline. Undergirding all of these perspectives is linguistic skill in Arabic, through which access to original sources, press analyses, and native speakers is possible. Middle East Studies as a whole tries to integrate these insights and to provide analysis and understanding that go beyond any single discipline.

Career Opportunities

The Middle East Studies/Arabic major aims specifically to prepare students to work as analysts and experts on the Middle East for government agencies, businesses, and other organizations. Linguistic skill in Arabic, as well as a solid understanding of the history, politics, and culture of the region is vital to these agencies, many of them desperate for real expertise and language ability. With its integrated, interdisciplinary focus on a single region and a strong emphasis on acquiring a usable knowledge of Arabic, it is also a good liberal arts major for students planning a career in law, medicine, or business in general—in fact, any field where a broad understanding and finely honed analytical and writing skills are valued.

Program Requirements    |    View MAP

  1. Complete the following prerequisite courses (may be waived for students with appropriate language experience):
  2. Complete the following language requirement:
  3. Complete the following background skills course:
      MESA 201 : Introduction to Middle East Studies. (2:2:0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      MESA 201 : Introduction to Middle East Studies. (2:2:0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      WHEN TAUGHT:Fall
      DESCRIPTION: Introduction to Middle East from historical, art/literary, and various social science perspectives, including introduction to disciplinary methodologies and major issues of interest.

      Course Outcomes


        (This course is a prerequisite to major courses.)
  4. Complete the following major courses:

  5. Complete the following capstone course:
      MESA 495 : Senior Seminar in Middle East Studies. (3:3:0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      MESA 495 : Senior Seminar in Middle East Studies. (3:3:0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      WHEN TAUGHT:Fall; Winter
      PREREQUISITE: ARAB 300 & ARAB 302 & ARAB 311R & ARAB 331 & PL SC 200; Advanced Arabic Study Abroad
      DESCRIPTION: Capstone course, including major research paper demonstrating ability to integrate cross-disciplinary information and methodology.

      Course Outcomes


  6. Complete six hours from the following elective courses:
  7. Complete one semester's residence in the Arab world. Most students will complete this requirement by taking part in the Arabic Study Abroad program, during which advanced Arabic courses required for the major (Arab 211R, 300, 302, 311R, and 331) are completed.


Middle East/Government Service Track

Students interested in using their Arabic language expertise to work in government (Department of State, Central Intelligence Agency, National Security Agency, military services, Federal Bureau of Investigation, etc.) are srongly recommended to complete the following courses, some of which will count for general education credit.

Other courses to consider:

Students are strongly encouraged to complete an internship through the Washington Seminar or in the Middle East. The internship should enable the student to apply his or her Arabic language ability or interest in the Middle East or learn the workings of the U.S. Congress.

*Hours include courses that may fulfill university core requirements.