Jun 12, 2024  
2010-2011 Academic Catalog 
2010-2011 Academic Catalog [Published Catalog]

Middle East Studies (M.A.)

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Consistent with the mission of the School of Global Affairs and Public Policy, Middle East Studies is an interdisciplinary academic program designed to provide students with a comprehensive understanding of the peoples, societies and economies of the region. The graduate program offers courses in Arabic language and literature, anthropology, economics, gender and women’s studies, history, law, political science and sociology with the purpose of introducing students to a variety of methodologies for studying the Middle East. The graduate program focuses on the period from the 18th century onwards and addresses issues of religion, ecology, history, economy, society, polity, gender, and culture. Given the geographical location of Cairo, the program as a whole concentrates on the Arab region. The program is intended for students who wish to pursue a variety of careers such as academia, diplomacy, other government service, work with NGOs, development, business, finance, journalism, public relations and cultural affairs.

Master of Arts

The master’s degree program in Middle East Studies is an interdisciplinary degree program. Applicants for admission should have an undergraduate degree of high standing (GPA of 3.0 or higher). Prerequisites are often assigned depending on the individual student’s academic background. The program is designed to meet the needs of aspiring professionals who need in-depth knowledge of the modern Middle East as well as those intending to pursue an academic career. Students must take the two required courses and either eight additional courses and sit for the comprehensive exam or six additional courses and submit a thesis.


Students are normally admitted to the MA degree program in the fall only. The application deadline for fall 2007 is February 1 for application with a fellowship and March 30 for application without a fellowship. Students who are offered admission must indicate their intention to enroll by May 15 and pay a deposit to hold their place. (NB: as of academic year 2007-2008 the deadline for application for admission will be March 15th).


In addition to normal university requirements in English, students must demonstrate proficiency in Modern Standard Arabic:

An Arabic level equivalent to 2.5 on the US Foreign Service Institute examination is required for MA students. Proficiency is tested by an examination administered by the Arabic Language Institute. Students who have no background in Arabic must enroll in the summer intensive course (20 contact hours a week, 12 credits) of the Arabic Language Unit before beginning their MA program.

Another Middle Eastern language (Turkish, Persian, etc.) may be substituted for Arabic proficiency if a student can demonstrate proficiency at a comparable level and if the substitute language is justified by a student’s course of study. Students will nonetheless be required to study Arabic.


Ten courses are required for the MA degree (Eight for those who choose to write an MA thesis and enroll in MEST 598 and 599. The following two courses are required:


The other five courses (or three for thesis writers) may be selected from 400 or 500 level courses in Anthropology/Sociology, Arabic Studies, Economics, Gender and Women’s Studies, History, Law, Middle East Studies and Political Science. No more than two 400 level courses may be counted towards the degree and only one course originally at the 400 level but for which requirement are added to raise it to 500 level may be applied towards the degree. Students must consult with their advisor to ensure an adequate coverage of social science and history.


Students opting to do a thesis must complete a thesis in accordance with university regulations. Before commencing work on the thesis, the student must have a thesis proposal approved by three faculty members.

Comprehensive Examination

Students not opting to do a thesis will, after the completion of all course requirements, take a comprehensive examination administered by an interdisciplinary examining board. An oral examination will be given following the written test.

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