Major Overview

The study of the Middle East has become a lens through which one can begin to understand the world at large. Over the last 35 years, international events like the Arab Spring and Iran’s Green Movement, have incited increased inquiry into this region’s history, religion, politics, international relations, sociology, geography, economics, culture, and literature. Issues like the economic might and political muscle of the Gulf States, the implications of the rise of political and radical Islam in the world, and growing Islamophobia in the West require scholarly investigation. Within this major, you will use the social sciences and the humanities to observe and engage with the broad Middle East, as a region composed of countries with important distinctions and similarities, which has had a significant impact across the globe.  


The educational goals for this major are as follows:

  • You will develop competency with the historical, political, religious, economic, geographic, and cultural landscape of the Middle East.
  • You will acquire the skills necessary to investigate, analyze, and deconstruct the role and impact of Middle East political, economic, and cultural developments on the globe.
  • You will become effective communicator of Middle Eastern modern history, causes, issues, and cultures to the world.
  • You will gain a working level of fluency in Arabic.

Learning Environment

In each of your courses, you will be introduced to the actors and factors that make up the countries in the Middle East, as well as the interaction of each country with one another and with the international community. Instead of merely picking courses from any discipline that might slightly relate to the Middle East, we want to help you create a multidisciplinary foundation for your understanding of the region that includes language acquisition, since we believe that understanding the Middle East requires knowledge of a language of the region. 

Major Components
Build Your Degree

With every single one of our majors, you’ll find a carefully curated medley of core courses and electives, which will provide you with the tools you need to establish an unshakeable foundation in the principles and concepts fundamental to your growth within your disciplines of choice. Many majors also enable you to specialize further within the broader area of study.

Core Courses

Core Courses

We aim to help you develop a range of skills, capacities, and modes of inquiry that will be crucial for your future since employers and graduate schools are looking for the critical thinking and innovative problem-solving skills that are associated with a liberal arts education, including sophisticated writing abilities, willingness to pose difficult questions, and an understanding of the historical and cultural contexts surrounding a topic or decision. 

Scroll to Core Courses



Choose among the major's elective courses to discover specific research areas that will inform the direction in which you choose to take your studies of the region. 

See all Major Electives

Core Courses

The Middle East Pluralities core courses, which you must take as part of the major requirements, will provide you with the tools you’ll need to ground your present and future studies. Your introduction to the fundamentals of Middle East Pluralities will help pave the way for your successful completion of other Middle East Pluralities courses.

HI1006 World History From 1500

This course provides an introduction to world history from the early modern period to the late twentieth century. Students will attain a sound grasp of the world history approach through study of the political, economic, and social connections and networks generated within and among these societies.

AB1010 Elementary Arabic I

This course is designed to familiarize beginners with the Arabic alphabet system and Arabic writing as well as provide the basis for limited conversation.

AB1020 Elementary Arabic II

AB 1020 seeks to give students grammar basics with which they can start to structure their knowledge and practice and make comparisons with other linguistic systems they know. The two conjugations, the two kind of sentences and other material allows the students to go further and to progress in organizing the new lexicon in order to produce sentences in Standard Arabic. The domain covered by the course starts from everyday life and aims to reach fundamental description vocabulary for all kind of documents : dialogs, texts, songs, maps, school documents, proverbs, etc.

AB1030 Intermediate Arabic I

After studying the principles of morphological derivation which makes the students able to structure their understanding of the vocabulary production system, the course focuses on producing small texts expressing the students’ opinion and description of the material seen during the sessions. AB 530 gives the opportunity to go beyond simple contact and to interact in Arabic within the fields covered by the different documents. The field covered by the didactic documents broadens out to short authentic texts, short articles and literary production, as well as authentic documents such as letters, cards, advertisings, announcements…

AB1040 Intermediate Arabic II

Starting from the acquired grammar knowledge (specially the morphological derivation), AB 1040 works on going into more specialized vocabulary in various fields such as intellectual conversation, objective description, expressing one’s opinion, etc. Besides, this course pursues production skills, so the students can grow linguistically in handling of Arabic and acquiring a more detailed lexical mass.

ME2010 Situating The Middle East I

The Middle East is a region of great diversity with different histories, cultures, languages and populations. It constitutes nevertheless a systematic entity, with close interrelations, and many common political, cultural and socio-economical challenges. The course will explore the cultural, political, ethnic and geographical realities of the region (historically and in the present). It will present as well the ongoing debates and themes in major political and cultural circles.

ME2035 Situating The Middle East II

This course covers the religious, cultural and linguistic diversities in the Middle East and North Africa. It exposes students to and familiarizes them with the origin of these diversities and traces its impact and influence on the modern Middle East. The Islamic identity of the region, its signifier, from the eyes of those outside the region is closely examined. The second part of the course turns to the rich linguistic and cultural diversities of the region, their origin, particularities, and their contributions to the identities of different groups. The role of linguistic diversity as both a unifying and a divisive force will be examined, and the region’s homogeneity and heterogeneity and the socio-political implications of cultural institutions are further explored through its literature, painting, calligraphy, food cultures and customs of dress.

ME2040 Encounters Between The Middle East And The West

The “Middle East” and the “West” (as two political/cultural entities) have been involved in a long history of conflicts, concurrence, hegemony, and fascination. The course will explore the different aspects of the contemporary Middle East/West relation, and will explain its origins and historical evolution.

HI3050 History Workshop

The History Workshop is a course in the historian's craft that will give students an opportunity to learn about the discipline of history. Students learn how to pose researchable questions(problematiques), to gather evidence, and to present their findings before an audience of their peers in a seminar setting. May be taken twice for credit.

PO3072 Politics Of The Middle East

Introduces the contemporary politics of the Middle East, from Turkey and Iran to the Atlantic Ocean, including all the Arab countries of West Asia and North Africa as well as Israel. Focuses on political trends (nationalism and religious fundamentalism), key historical experiences and traumatic events (wars and revolutions), and the interference of world powers that contributed to shaping this sensitive area.

ME4095 Senior Project

A Senior Project is an independent study representing a Major Capstone Project that needs to be registered using the Senior Project registration form. (Download: