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Middle East Studies/Arabic Program

Department Information: 

237 HRCB



Advisement Center: 

273 HRCB




The Discipline

Middle East Studies is a challenging liberal arts major that examines a wide range of important issues affecting the modern Middle East, including the countries of the Arab world, Israel, Turkey, and Iran. All students gain a broad background in Middle Eastern history, geography, politics, culture, religion, literature, and language.  Students complete at least three years of Arabic, including an intensive study abroad experience, which leads to advanced language proficiency. Additionally, students select one of two disciplinary tracks: Social Sciences or History and Humanities.

Students begin the major by studying first-year Arabic (ARAB 101/102) and by completing the introductory core curriculum (MESA 201: Introduction to Middle East Studies and MESA 250: Introduction to the Religion of Islam). Students then take second-year Arabic (ARAB 201/202) along with a core curriculum in their chosen disciplinary track. These track requirements include introductory and methodology courses in the chosen discipline, as well as course work in Middle East history, geography, politics, and literature. Following ARAB 202, majors travel to Jordan for a semester-long intensive Arabic program and a two-week Israel/Palestine studies course in Israel.  Students finish the major by choosing from a range of elective courses and completing a capstone research seminar (MESA 495).  Some students may choose to continue with an additional year of Arabic, leading to a double major in Arabic language.  

Educational and Career Opportunities

MESA students have access to a wide range of resources, including the Middle East Studies/Arabic Students Association (MESAS), which sponsors academic, social, and service events on campus and in the community. Students can access Arabic tutoring, peer mentoring and faculty mentoring programs, and connect with alumni in many fields who provide advice on entering professions. Many students compete nationally in Model Arab League, and all students are encouraged to complete an internship prior to graduation. Majors develop excellent writing and problem-solving skills that enable them to succeed in the workforce. The combined training in Middle Eastern affairs, Arabic, and an academic discipline enables students to develop analytical skills that are useful in many professions. MESA graduates work in government, education, journalism, business, law, health professions, nonprofit, and many other sectors.