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BA in Middle East Studies/Arabic
(54–69 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

Important Note: In order to gain maximum academic benefit from the MESA curriculum, students should take lower-division (100- and 200-level) courses before taking upper-division (300- and 400-level) courses. Doing so will also help students avoid problems in scheduling classes during later semesters and in making timely progress toward graduation. For these purposes, by the end of the second semester as a MESA major, students are required to create a course map and have it reviewed and approved by both the MESA faculty coordinator and advisor from the International and Area Studies Advisement Office.

  1. Complete the following "gateway" courses (i.e. prerequisites and basic skills):
  2. Complete the following prerequisites for Study Abroad:
  3. Complete the one-semester Study Abroad program in the Arab world, during which the following Arabic language courses required for the major are completed:
  4. Complete the following courses:

  5. Complete six hours from the following elective courses:
  6. Note: Students with a second major in Arabic Language cannot double count the same upper-division Arabic courses for both the double major and for MESA elective credit.

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.