Master's Degree Programs in Middle Eastern Studies

Oct 24, 2019

Students from varied backgrounds with an interest in Middle Eastern studies can choose to get a master's degree in the field. Read on for more information on the program, its requirements and the core courses covered.

An active interest in Middle Eastern studies for either academic or career advancement purposes is a good reason to pursue a master's in the field. This program includes taking a deeper look at the culture and history in the Middle East. It also covers the different languages and politics in these regions.

Essential Information

The degree is available as a Master of Arts in Middle Eastern Studies. The duration of the program is typically 2 years full time. Students from varied backgrounds are eligible for this program if they have a strong interest in studying the complex cultures, politics and languages of Middle Eastern regions. Students may have to complete a thesis or substantial research project as part of program completion in addition to taking mandatory foreign language courses.

Programs generally include some of the following courses and topics:


This course covers the cultures, traditions, theology, and expressions of Islam. Students explore various ethical and moral issues as well as the different legal systems of Islam. The history and evolving traditions are complex and studied in detail.

Middle Eastern History

How the history, culture, traditions and legal systems evolved throughout specific historical periods in certain Middle Eastern regions are studied in these courses. The courses can be intensive, exploring how the existing systems stem from the past and change over time.

Languages in the Middle East

Students may be required to study and gain proficiency in at least one of main contemporary Middle Eastern languages. Arabic, Turkish, Persian or Hebrew are common options, though school offerings differ.

Society, Religion and Gender in the Middle East

This course covers the societal effects of Islam as the core ideological basis of the Middle East. Social, ethical and moral issues across regions are studied in detail. Women's studies topics with respect to women from Middle Eastern regions may be explored.

Conflict Studies in the Middle East

This course deals with understanding the causes of major conflicts through various societies in the Middle East. Courses may cover history, religious studies, and politics. Courses often center on the ongoing Arab-Israeli conflict in particular.

Basic requirement for admission into the program.

Requirements for this degree are somewhat common across colleges. GRE/TOEFL may be required. GPA needs to be stated as well although this can vary from program to program. Knowledge of a Middle Eastern language is not mandatory but is preferable. Letters of recommendation and a candidate's statement of purpose may be considered. All aspects of an applicant's form are taken into account while considering admissions, including relevant study abroad experience.

If you have an interest in understanding the vast and complex Middle Eastern region - both culturally and politically - then this program is the one for you. Specialized career options like ones in diplomatic relations and human rights are good options for a master's holder in this area. Since the Middle East is a source of rich and diverse cultural, religious and political traditions, one can take this degree for academic interest as well or use it a stepping stone into a PhD program or continuing studies.

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