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Middle Eastern Studies Major, B.A.

Director: Donald Wright

The Middle Eastern Studies major is a multidisciplinary program that is unique in nature for a liberal arts college. It focuses on history, cultural, language and political thought. Students interested in democracy and culture, human rights, international affairs, literature and languages, and wish to explore from different perspectives the diverse region of the Middle East, should consider this academic program. The primary focus of the program is to prepare students, through their contacts with faculty members from various disciplines, to lead the world of tomorrow through the political and cultural tensions of today. Students who choose to study the Middle East will graduate with a well-rounded and excellent knowledge of all aspects of the region. The study of Arabic is essential to the field; students will finish with a good knowledge of the language to be able to pursue further study at The American University in Cairo.

Given the proximity to the Washington, D.C., area, many students have internships at various associations, centers and organizations dedicated to the region. Students who are interested in issues involving the Middle East may consider working in outreach programs in Maryland or Washington, D.C. The Middle Eastern studies program sponsors many events and invites writers, activists, policy makers and film critics to enhance the knowledge and experience of the students in the program. A number of grants are available for students who intend to undertake research projects in the Middle East. Students have the opportunity to study one year or one semester at The American University in Cairo, the foremost institution in the Middle East for Arabic and Middle Eastern Studies. Students will be prepared to work at international, governmental and private organizations dealing with the region or to continue graduate studies in the field.

Requirements for the Major

All majors must take the following courses (21 credits):

  • ARAB 101 Elementary Arabic I
  • ARAB 102 Elementary Arabic II
  • ARAB 103 Intermediate Arabic I
  • ARAB 104 Intermediate Arabic II
  • ITLS 300 Cultures of the Middle East
  • REL 304 Islam

In addition, students take a minimum of 12 credits from the following, at least 9 of which must be at the 300- level. (Some may be fulfilled during a semester or a year of study abroad.)

  • ANTH 302 Cultural Anthropology
  • ARAB 203 Arabic Conversation and Composition
  • ARHN 319 Orientalism and Egyptomania
  • ARRL 330 Archaeology of Ancient Israel
  • ART 349 Art of Egypt and Mesopotamia
  • HIST 309 Islam and the Crusades
  • HIST 316 The Middle East in Modern Times
  • PSCI 200 Political Violence and Terrorism
  • PSCI 210 Comparative Politics
  • PSCI 215 International Relations
  • PSCI 302 9/11 in Global Perspective
  • PSCI 305 US Foreign Policy
  • PSCI 323 Politics of the Developing World
  • REL 303 Judaism
  • SOC 318 Global Social Problems