M.A. Degree Requirements

Core Requirements

All M.A. students complete:

  • MENA 595D Middle East Studies: Approaches, Themes and Controversies
  • One Graduate Course in Middle Eastern History
  • One Graduate Course in Islamic Studies
  • One Course in Gender or Culture in the Middle East

You will enroll for either the thesis or pre-professional/general track.

Thesis Track

  • 33 units
  • Three years of a Middle Eastern language
  • Thesis (MENA 910)

Pre-Professional/General Track

  • 33 units
  • Two years of Middle Eastern language
  • Master’s Report (MENA 909)

Concentrations

Choose from seven basic concentrations:

  • Middle Eastern Literatures (Arabic, Persian, Turkish)
  • Islamic Studies
  • Gender and Society in the Middle East
  • Linguistics of Middle Eastern Languages
  • History of the Middle East
  • Middle East Conflict Studies
  • Topics in Middle Eastern Studies. This option allows students to create a self-designed concentration with the approval of the Director of Graduate Studies).

Prerequisites

Prior to enrolling in the M.A. Program you are expected to have completed the equivalent of:

  • MENA 277A: History of the Middle East 600-1453
  • MENA 277B: History of the Middle East: Modern Middle East
  • MENA 334: Islamic Thought

Any deficiencies should be fulfilled during your first year of graduate work.

Transfer Credit

No more than six graduate units from institutions other than the UA can be transferred toward a degree program; and must be approved by the Graduate Advisor.

Independent Study

You may apply three units of Independent Study (599, 699) to your degree requirements. All Independent Study units must be approved in advance by the Director of Graduate Studies. In exceptional circumstances, the Director of Graduate Studies may approve an additional three units of Independent Study. Courses outside the department (not cross listed with MENA) may be approved by the Director of Graduate Studies on a case-by-case basis.

Language

First and second year language units cannot be applied to the total number of units required for the degree, unless they are at the 500-level. There is one exception to this rule: In the General Middle East Studies Track, 500-level dialect classes cannot be applied to the total number of units required for the degree if they are being used to fulfill the Middle Eastern language requirement (see General Middle East Studies track for more information).

Students who have native or near-native fluency in a Middle Eastern language must take 6 units of that language in advanced linguistics or literature courses if they wish to fulfill their Middle Eastern language requirement with the language in which they are fluent.

Thesis Track

You must complete a minimum of 33 units of course work. You'll enroll in either 3 or 6 units of Thesis research (MENA 910) in your final semester(s).

You must achieve 3rd year language proficiency in Arabic, Hebrew, Persian, or Turkish. Dialect courses do not count towards fulfilling this requirement.

By the end of the second semester of enrollment, you must assemble a thesis committee of three faculty members, one of whom serves as the thesis advisor, and must also have filed your Master's Plan of Study (login to UAccess Student, then select GRADPATH to submit your plan online) in consultation with and approval of the Graduate Advisor. At least two members of this committee must be tenure-track professors in MENAS, and the committee must be approved by the Graduate Advisor.

Your thesis advisor will approve the appropriate subject matter of your thesis. The thesis must include research that utilizes primary sources in a Middle Eastern language. Primary sources can include historical works, media outlets, internet sources, survey data and/or interviews. The thesis should address a gap or problem in the scholarly literature, and be aimed at an academic audience. An appropriate thesis length is 75-90 pages. You are responsible for scheduling an oral defense of your thesis and coursework with your committee. 

Students who wish to continue graduate work in a Ph.D. program should choose the thesis track.

General/Pre-Professional Track

The track in General Middle East Studies is designed for students seeking to develop the language and analytical skills necessary for advancement in non-academic careers in government, NGOs, and business, as well as a solid understanding of the modern Middle East. It is tailored for students who do not plan on pursuing a Ph.D. after their completion of the M.A. in Middle Eastern and North African Studies.

You must complete a minimum of 33 units. The final departmental paper counts as 3 units (MENA 909).

You must achieve 2nd year language proficiency in Arabic, Hebrew, Persian, or Turkish. Second-year language proficiency is achieved by successfully completing four semesters of the focus language. Students whose focus language is Arabic may alternatively enroll in 3 semesters of Modern Standard Arabic plus one sequence (two semesters) of an Arabic dialect (Egyptian, Levantine, or Moroccan). The dialect units may not be applied to the total requisite sum of 33 units for the degree if they are being used to fulfill the language requirement.

By the end of the second semester of enrollment, you must assemble a departmental paper committee of three faculty members, one of whom serves as the departmental paper advisor, and must also have filed their Master's Plan of Study (login to UAccess Student, then select GRADPATH to submit your plan online) in consultation with and approval of the Graduate Advisor. At least two members of this committee must be tenure-track professors in MENAS, and the committee must be approved by the Graduate Advisor.

Your departmental paper advisor will approve the appropriate subject matter of your paper. The paper must include research that utilizes primary sources, these sources can be in a western language. Subject matter should reflect an issue raised in the secondary literature and can be addressed to educated non-specialists. An appropriate departmental paper length is 35-50 pages. Committee Members read the paper and grade it as Pass, High Pass or Fail. A defense of the paper is not required.