Modern Middle Eastern Studies Major and Minor
There has rarely been a time in which an in-depth understanding of the languages, cultures, history, and politics of the contemporary Middle East has been more important. This new interdisciplinary degree is designed to allow students to specialize in the Middle East as a region of the world and human experience by combining course work using both social scientific and humanistic approaches, underpinned by relevant language skills. Students will work with faculty committed to supporting interdisciplinary, applied, research-oriented advanced study. The major gives students opportunities to work on problems of politics, policy, history, ideology, social thought, economic development, and international relations. Note: We currently do not offer graduate degree programs.
The major will consist of at least twelve course units to be distributed as follows:
(2) Language: Four course units in one Middle Eastern language (for example, Arabic, Hebrew, Persian, or Turkish), including at least two course units at the intermediate (second year) level or above.
(3) Regional coverage: Three course units. Students must take at least one of the list of foundational courses in Modern Middle Eastern Studies approved by the associated faculty (here). At least one course should be centered on a culture other than that associated with the language selected in (2). One or two of these may also be courses about the Middle East region in general.
(4) Two seminar courses requiring significant research papers.
The Honors Program
Honors in Modern Middle Eastern Studies requires a thesis in addition to the basic requirements listed above. The honors thesis will be written over the course of the senior year under the supervision of an advisor selected from the Modern Middle Eastern Studies standing faculty. At the end of the first semester, S (satisfactory) or U (unsatisfactory) grade will be given, which will be replaced upon the completion of the thesis at the end of the senior year. Depending on the student's focus, this may involve the application of language skills acquired in the first three years. The thesis must receive a grade no lower than “A-” for the student to receive honors.
At least six course units on the Middle East, to be chosen from the published list of relevant courses, and including the following:
(1) Two courses from the Humanities
For the Major Program up to four courses may be transferred from other institutions (including Study Abroad courses), subject to approval. For the Minor, two courses may be transferred. Language credits may only be transferred upon successful completion of a Penn-administered proficiency test.
Double Majors and Minors
For double majors the number of course units for the major remains at twelve. A maximum of four course units may be double-counted toward this major and another.
For double-minors the number of course units remains six. Two course units may be double-counted.
The advisor for the Major and Minor in Modern Middle Eastern Studies is Professor Firoozeh Kashani-Sabet, Director of the Middle East Center and Associate Professor of History: firstname.lastname@example.org. Affiliated faculty also play a vital role in advising students on coursework, independent studies, and the completion of an honors thesis.
Declaring a Major or a Minor
Penn Graduates on the MMES Major
"The MMES major provided me with the flexibility to pursue my own interests while giving me a solid and broad foundation for understanding the Middle East region. I cannot stress enough how very helpful the faculty, staff and graduate students were in guiding me to develop my many academic interests into something substantive and academically challenging." More...