B.A. in Middle East Studies

Bachelor of Arts in Middle East Studies

This major is an interdisciplinary degree which draws on courses from anthropology, classics, economics, history, international relations, Judaic studies, linguistics, political science and religion. It offers students interested in exploring the richness and complexity of the Middle East, broadly defined as extending from Morocco through Iran, a framework for developing both expertise and wide-ranging critical perspectives on the region’s past, present and future. The variety of courses will allow students to tailor their choices to a range of possible emphases. Two options are also available regarding language study. The first, which is strongly recommended for all students, but especially for those who seek to pursue a career using Middle East studies, stresses the importance of a regional language (at this point, Arabic, Hebrew or Persian), along with other disciplinary offerings. The second allows students to gain an in-depth understanding of the region, but without the requirement of a regional language.

Requirements for the degree are: HIST 180 (an introductory survey course) which is a prerequisite for the major. Students must also take: a) seven more courses, six of which must be upper-division courses, chosen from MDES courses or from the list below; b) an eighth course, which may be either an upper-division course from the MDES courses or from the list below or the fourth semester of Arabic or Hebrew for those studying a regional language.

No more than two courses may be counted toward this major and another major.

 

Required CoursesUnits
HIST 180 The Middle East 4

 

Seven of the following courses, six of which must be upper-division courses:

MDES 250: Persian IV*

MDES 252: Arabic IV*

MDES 312: Iran in the Middle Ages

MDES 313: Modern Iran

MDES 320: Advanced Persian I

MDES 322: Advanced Arabic I

MDES 324: Classical Persian Literature

MDES 325: Modern Persian Literature

MDES 333: Colloquial Arabic: Regional Dialects

MDES 334: Media Arabic

MDES 350: Advanced Persian II

MDES 352: Advanced Arabic II

MDES 454: Classical Arabic

MDES 461: Topics in Ancient Iranian Languages and Cultures

Many of the following courses are also cross-listed under MDES.

ANTH 327: Anthropology of the Middle East and Islam

ANTH 335: Comparative Muslim Societies

CLAS 349g: Ancient Empires

CLAS 360: Classical Arabic Literature in Translation

CLAS 378: Ptolemaic Egypt

ECON 322: Economic History and Modernization of the Middle East

ECON 342: Economic Development of the Middle East

FREN 448m: Islam in France [conducted in French]

HIST 324: Islam in Russia and the Soviet Union

HIST 379: Arabs in America

HIST 382: The Middle East 500-1500

HIST 383: The Modern Middle East

HIST 384: Popular Culture in the Middle East

HIST 480: Seminar in Middle East History

IR 362: The International Relations of the Contemporary Middle East

IR 463: Islam and Arab Nationalism

IR 464: U.S. Policy Towards the Middle East: 1950 to the Present

JS 361: Scripture and Polemic in Judaism, Christianity and Islam

JS 378: Jewish Magic in the Ancient World

POSC: 351 Middle East Politics

POSC: 363 Middle East Political Economy

REL: 302 Religions of Ancient Egypt and the Near East

REL: 315 Thought and Life of Islam

REL: 316 Women and the Islamic Tradition

REL: 317 Ancient Near Eastern Myth and Literature

REL: 394 Archaeology of Egypt and the Near East

REL: 402 Cultural Heritage, Religion and Politics in the Middle East

REL: 414 History of Islamic Law

REL: 494 Lab Methods and Theories in Archaeology

 

*Counts as an upper division course.

Learning Objectives

See what Middle East majors learn:

/mesp/learning-objectives/

Spring 2015 Courses

Arabic:

MDES 122: Arabic I

MDES 152: Arabic II

MDES 222: Arabic III

MDES 252: Arabic IV

MDES 322: Advanced Arabic I

MDES 334: Media Arabic

MDES 352: Advanced Arabic II

Persian:

MDES 150: Persian II

MDES 220: Persian III

MDES 250: Persian IV

MDES 350: Advanced Persian II

Iranian Studies:

ARLT 100g: Kings and Heroes, Villains and Saints,

In Medieval Persian Literature

MDES 312: Iran in the Middle Ages

MDES 313: Modern Iran

Middle East Studies:

HIST 382: The Middle East 500-1500

HIST 382: The Middle East 500-1500

IR 362: International Relations of the Middle East

IR 363: Middle Eastern Political Economy

IR 463: Islam and Arab Nationalism

HIST 480: Seminar in Middle East History

Advisement

Majors in the Middles East Studies Program (MESP) can work closely with faculty.  Please contact Alison Nevarez to find out how.

  • USC Middle East Studies Program
  • Taper Hall 449
  • 3501 Trousdale Parkway
  • Los Angeles, CA 90089-0151
  • Images courtesy of Ed Ou Photography and USC Dornsife Office of Overseas Studies