Middle Eastern Studies Degree Programs

Undergraduate Studies

Bachelor of Arts and a minor

The Middle Eastern Studies Program offers interdisciplinary bachelor of arts major and a minor in Middle Eastern Studies through The College of Arts and Sciences. 

>> Visit the College of Arts and Sciences website for information about the minor and major in Middle Eastern Studies.


Graduate Studies

Certificate of Advanced Studies in Middle Eastern Affairs

Please see the Course Catalog for information on the Certificate of Advanced Study in Middle Eastern Affairs.

Program Description

The Certificate of Advanced Studies in Middle Eastern Affairs is available to Syracuse University students in all graduate programs who are looking to supplement their degree with a strong foundation in the region's culture and politics or to prepare for a career involving regional specialization. The certificate is administered and awarded by the Maxwell School. Students are required to complete at least twelve credits: a single three-credit required course and nine credits in the form of approved electives chosen from affiliated departments within the University and/or approved extracurricular experience. 

Obtaining the Certificate

Students interested in obtaining the Certificate of Advanced Studies in Middle Eastern Affairs should consult the list of required and elective courses and other credit-bearing activities. Application for the Certificate should be made by first consulting with the student’s Faculty Advisor who will determine whether the student can pursue the Certificate consistent with the requirements of his/her degree program, and then by speaking with the Director of the Certificate Program, Professor Yüksel Sezgin. 

Faculty Listing

Faculty:  Lamis Abdelaaty, Carol Babiracki, Hossein Bashiriyeh, Zachary J. Braiterman, Erella Brown, Michal Downie, Miriam Fendius Elman, Carol Fadda-Conrey, Ken Frieden, Rania Habib, Timur Hammond, Susan Henderson, Violette Humsi, Jeanette S. Jouili, Amy Kallander, Tazim R. Kassam, Osamah F. Khalil, Amos Kiewe, Natalie Koch, Jaklin Kornfilt, Sandra D. Lane, Dana M. Olwan, Kara Richardson, Robert A. Rubinstein, Yüksel Sezgin, James W. Watts, Yael Zeira, Corri Zoli

Administrative Steps

Two forms must be filled out and delivered to the Middle Eastern Studies Program to complete this application stage:

1. Students who have completed at least six credits of related coursework in Middle Eastern Studies should complete the Graduate Enrollment Internal Admission Application form to receive admission to the program. Once completed, the form should be submitted to Havva Karakas Keles (hkarakas@syr.edu) at the Moynihan Institute (346-E Eggers Hall) who will pass it on to the Graduate Enrollment Management Processing Center (716 E. Washington Street). Please note that the “Program Code” for the Certificate in Middle Eastern Affairs is MI17CAS.

2. The Program of Study form (PDF) has to be signed by the student’s advisor and by Professor Sezgin (100 Eggers Hall). The Program of Study will be held by Havva Karakas Keles until all the requirements for the certificate (twelve credits) are complete. Havva Karakas Keles will submit this form to the Graduate School (304 Lyman Hall) in a timely manner before the student's expected graduation date so that the documents and information can be gathered as the graduation date approaches.

Please also remember that a Graduate Diploma Request Form must be completed through MySlice during the semester the student will graduate. Students must complete a separate form for each of their degree programs as each results in its own degree date and diploma.

The Program Director will recommend granting the Certificate to students who have met all of the requirements (while maintaining a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0 for all classes taken toward it) and who are in good standing in their graduate school or department.

Student Learning Outcomes

1. Analyze main social, political and religious properties, and modern history of the Middle East or the evolution of political thought and the ways in which social theories can be applied to the study of the region
2. Demonstrate fair knowledge of one of the four main languages in the region
3. Examine the Middle East region’s cultural diversity
4. Use a variety of methodological and theoretical approaches from the humanities, social sciences, and/or related professions in the study of the Middle Eastern region

Program Requirements

Twelve credits in four courses must be earned to be eligible for the certificate. These must include:
1. The choice of one of the program’s two foundational graduate-level courses
(substitutions may be made in some cases with permission from the Director):

  • MES 682 - Social Theory and Middle East Politics
  • MES 644 - Israel and Palestine: Historical Approaches

2. Nine Total Elective Credits
Nine total elective credits chosen from the list of affiliated classes, the University’s language offerings, experiential education, and study abroad. The following classes have already been approved by the program:

  • ARC 735 - Islamic Architecture
  • EST 670 - H2O in Middle East:Issues&Opps*
  • MES 644 - Israel and Palestine: Historical Approaches
  • MES 668 - Middle East in Anthropological Perspective
  • MES 682 - Social Theory and Middle East Politics
  • MES 684 - International Relations of the Middle East
  • MES 707 - Culture in World Affairs
  • REL 607 - Ancient Religious Rhetoric
  • REL 625 - Pluralism in Islam
  • REL 628 - Muslim Rituals, Practices, and Performances
  • REL 676 - Religion and Jewish Literature
  • IRP/MES/PSC 600.1 - Religion, Law, and Human Rights in Comparative Perspective* (Offered during Summer at the University's Strasbourg Center in France)

* Courses added in 2021

Credits Towards the Certificate

In addition to these affiliated classes, students may also earn credits towards the Certificate in the following ways:

  • A maximum of six credits of any regional language courses at the 600 level (i.e., 620).
  • Extracurricular experience (i.e., internships) that may count for between one and three credits (with the approval of the Program Director).
  • A maximum of six credits of graduate-level Middle East-related independent study or special topics courses.
  • A maximum of six credits of relevant, departmentally-approved coursework taken at another university. The Middle Eastern Studies Program, the Maxwell School and Syracuse University presently have established student exchange relationships with the American University in Cairo (Egypt), Bahçesehir University (Turkey), Bogacizi University (Istanbul, Turkey), An Najah University (Nablus, Palestine), and the Interdisciplinary Center (Herzliya, Israel).

Prerequisite:

In order to enroll in the Certificate program, you must be a matriculated Syracuse University graduate student in good standing and have completed at least six credits of coursework in related classes.

Extracurricular Opportunities

  • Internships: Graduate students can receive a maximum of three credits for an internship in any governmental/non-governmental organization based either in the region or outside which deals strongly with the Middle East. For a list of available opportunities, contact the program director.
  • Fieldwork: The Moynihan Institute of Global Affairs at the Maxwell School usually allocates one or two annual summer research grants for Maxwell doctoral students. The purpose of the award is to provide students the opportunity to gather data, undergo advanced language training, and increase competitiveness of future proposals for funding. Grants range from $1,000 to $3,000 and will be assigned on merit. Grant awardees register and receive credit for an independent study course (typically three credits). Students who have secured outside sources of funding may also submit proposals for fieldwork through independent study.
  • Other Awards:  MESP Young Scholar Prize is awarded annually to the best essay by a graduate student at the University dealing with any aspect of the Middle East. The author of the winning paper is presented with a certificate and a $500 prize.