Modern Middle East Studies Major

Why Major In Modern Middle East Studies?
The Middle East is growing in importance on the global stage, and as such is a valuable field of study for any number of future opportunities for Yale graduates. Students may begin with a general interest in the rich culture and history of the region and later pursue careers in government, international relations, journalism and peacemaking.

The major is strengthened by

  • Yale faculty who focus on the modern Middle East, in Yale College, as well as Yale’s professional schools (Divinity, Law, and Medicine).
  • Language training in Arabic, Persian, Turkish, and Hebrew through the advanced level.
  • Vibrant extracurricular programming, including lectures, films, conferences, and cultural events.
  • Growing initiatives in Iranian Studies, Turkish Studies, Health, and Conflict Studies.
  • Affiliated programs such as the Middle East Legal Studies Seminar (Yale Law School) and the Yale Center for Faith and Culture (Yale Divinity School).

The Major
The major offers students the possibility to focus on the culture, history, religion, politics, and society of the Modern Middle East in its full geographical breadth using any one (or more) of its four major languages: Arabic, Hebrew, Persian, or Turkish. It consists of twelve term courses:

Foundational Courses
Students complete one course in each of three groups: 1) Modern Thought; 2) Classical Thought; and 3) Seminar on the Modern Middle East.

Elective Courses
Students take six courses examining aspects of culture and thought, history, religion, politics and society, focusing on at least two different sub-regions and from two or more departments.

Language Courses and Requirements
Students must achieve advanced language and proficiency in one of the four dominant languages of the Middle East: Arabic, Hebrew, Persian, or Turkish. This can be completed through coursework at the 3rd and 4th year levels, or by passing a departmental examination.

Senior Essay
All students in the major undertake a senior essay that involves serious use of materials in one or more of the four modern Middle East languages.

Study Abroad
Students are encouraged, but not required, to engage in serious study-abroad programs, including research and internship experiences in the region. Information on programs, as well as funding opportunities, is available through the director of undergraduate studies and CMES.

Questions? Contact the Director of Undergraduate Studies: 
Travis Zadeh