M.A. in International Studies

M.A. – Middle East Studies

The interdisciplinary M.A. program in Middle East Studies allows students take courses through the Jackson School of International Studies and other departments on campus. The course of studies provides a student with a thorough grounding in the modern Middle East and a view of how this region fits into the world community politically, historically and economically. To achieve this understanding, students take courses in the social sciences, humanities and a Middle Eastern language.

The Middle East Studies program offers a variety of courses. Courses on the economic development of the Middle East and advanced reading seminars on the region are given in the Jackson School. The Department of Political Science offers general courses about the government and politics of the Middle East as well as more specific offerings on theories of revolution in the Middle East and North Africa, and the Arab-Israeli conflict. Faculty members in the Department of History also offer general courses on regional history and more specific courses on the expansion of Islam, the modern Middle East, and Ottoman history.

In addition to the social science-history focus, students must take courses beyond the second-year level in a Middle Eastern language. The four major Middle Eastern languages – Arabic, Hebrew, Persian and Turkish – are taught in the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilization. Through the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilization, students may take courses in Islamic civilization, Islamic philosophy, Islamic law and jurisprudence and the Quran.

Students may combine their work on a masters degree in Middle East Studies with study in a professional school. The student may count two courses taken in the graduate schools of Business Administration, Library and Information Science, Public Affairs or the School of Law toward the MAIS degree. In the same manner, students may apply two non-Middle East courses from a social science discipline toward the degree.

Noam Pianko, Chair


A summary of the curriculum is provided below. A detailed description of the entire program curriculum, policies and procedures can be found in the Middle East Studies handbook.

20 credits on the modern Middle East These credits must be distributed across at least two disciplines in either the social sciences or the humanities.

1 approved Jackson School course This course does not necessarily focus on the Middle East.

2 courses in a discipline or profession The purpose of this requirement is to give you the opportunity to develop some expertise in the theory and methodology of a discipline or profession. This is useful for students planning to pursue a Ph.D. or completing a concurrent degree. These courses do not have to be on the Middle East.

Capstone Research Project You must complete either a thesis (approximately 50 pages) or two papers (approximately 25 pages each) of near publishable quality under the guidance of your Masters Supervisory Committee.

Comprehensive Oral Exam Your Masters Supervisory Committee will examine your capstone research project and conduct your oral exam during your graduation quarter.


M.A. in Middle East Studies Handbook 2023-24

M.A. in Middle East Studies Handbook 2022-23

M.A. in Middle East Studies Handbook 2021-22

M.A. in Middle East Studies Handbook 2020-21


Language proficiency is not required for admission.

Language study is an essential part of the program. Courses in Middle East language and literature are offered by the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilization. First and second year language courses are usually available in Arabic, Hebrew, Persian, and Turkish. All students must complete three 3 credit or two 5 credit courses beyond the second year in a Middle East language.


Applications must be submitted by January 31 for admittance to the autumn quarter cohort. We only accept students into the M.A. program during autumn quarter.

You can find information about the application requirements and process on our website.



The Jackson School houses 14 outreach centers. These centers provide opportunities for educators, students, and the community to learn about the world. Some of them have specific scholarship opportunities and other resources that may be useful. Here are those you might find particularly useful: