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Middle East Studies Minor

The Middle East Studies Minor (MESM) introduces students to the history, culture, and politics of the Middle East since the emergence of Islam.

The Middle East Studies faculty offers a variety of courses and programs to increase the awareness of the Middle East and North Africa; to enhance understanding of the region's diverse peoples, lands, and cultures; and to broaden historical and contemporary perspectives. Majors in the Department of History have an opportunity to obtain a minor in Middle East Studies. It is an interdepartmental program that offers a variety of courses to increase awareness of the Middle East and Africa.

The Middle East Studies Minor (MESM) introduces students to the history, culture and politics of the Middle East since the emergence of Islam. MESM balances coursework in the contemporary period with exposure to the pre-twentieth-century political, intellectual, and religious experience of the region, its ethnic and religious make-up, and the rich culture that these together engendered.

About the Middle East Studies Minor

Degree Requirements

  • 15-18 credits (five courses; some language courses carry more than 3 credit hours per course) towards the minor in Middle East Studies. Coursework must be distributed to meet the overlapping requirements below. (For example, HIST120: ”Islamic Civilization” can be used to meet both the pre-modern requirement and the Arab world requirement, but does not count doubly in terms of credit.)
  • 6 credits (two courses) in Area distribution: at least one course in each of two of the following Area categories: (a) the Arab world; (b) Iran and the Persian/Iranian world; (c) (Middle Eastern) Jewish and Israel; (d) Turkish and Ottoman; and (e) Middle Eastern Diasporas and All Middle East. Other areas of concentration may be considered and require the Director of Graduate Studies' approval.
  • 6 credits (two courses) in Pre-Modern: at least two courses (6 credits) must focus on the pre-modern period (7th century through the 19th century). Students may fulfill this requirement through their area distribution or elective courses.
  • 3 credits (one course) in Electives: the fifth course may be chosen from the list of approved Middle East Studies courses. A language course of 3 or more credits may be used to satisfy this requirement. Advanced Arabic, Persian, Hebrew or Turkish language courses that are content courses rather than grammar-based can be used for the Elective category or count toward Area Distribution and/or Pre-Modern, depending on subject matter.

Additional Requirements

  • A minimum of three courses (9 credits) must be at the upper level (300- or 400-level).
  • All credits must be earned with a grade of 'C-' or above (no Pass/Fail option). An overall GPA of 2.0 in the minor is required for graduation.
  • A list of qualifying courses in each category is available from the academic advisor of the minor and on MESM’s webpage.
  • Only one lower-level or grammar-based course in Arabic, Hebrew, Persian, or Turkish may be credited toward the minor.
  • A maximum of two courses can count towards both the major and the minor.
  • Courses cannot count towards multiple minors.
  • No more than 6 credits toward the minor may be taken outside the University of Maryland, College Park.

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