Dual Ph.D. MENAS/Anthropology

About the Program

The Dual Ph.D. Program in MENAS and Anthropology at the University of Arizona is the first program in the United States to provide a formal institutional setting for simultaneous doctoral training and professional certification in the two disciplines. The program builds on the long traditions of excellence and interdisciplinary dialogue that have energized both departments for decades. It involves faculty from both departments, as well as affiliated professors in other departments on campus, who share a vision for interdisciplinary research focusing on Sociocultural or Linguistic Anthropology and MENAS at the University of Arizona. 

This program builds upon the complimentarity and affinity of the two fields, and the University of Arizona's nationally recognized strength in both, to train and certify uniquely qualified scholars for a rapidly globalizing world in which complex inter-dependencies are redefining relations between the West and the Middle East. From Anthropology, students will gain a conceptual and analytical apparatus for studying the complexity and diversity of cultures. They will also receive training in the theory and method of ethnographic field work and comparative research. From MENAS, students will receive rigorous language training available in Arabic, Hebrew, Persian, and Turkish, and scholarly expertise in histories, literatures, religions, and the material and popular culture of Middle Eastern societies. This opportunity to combine comparative and theoretical breadth with linguistic and textual depth, and to develop research methods under the supervision of the core faculty, attracts the best students in both fields to the program.

This program attracts the best students in both fields to a unique opportunity combining comparative and theoretical breadth with linguistic and textual depth, while developing critical research methods.

    Admission to the Dual Degree Program

    You must apply to and be accepted by both the MENAS and the School of Anthropology to qualify for the dual degree program. Only students who have completed an M.A. in Anthropology, MENAS, or a related field prior to enrollment in the MENAS/Anthropology dual degree program will be accepted. See our application page for details on how to apply.

    You need to demonstrate intermediate proficiency in one Middle Eastern language at the time of admission. An interdepartmental committee from MENAS and Anthropology will review and make a recommendation on any student who has been accepted to both departments and who has indicated that they wish to earn the dual degree. For fall admission, this should occur in the spring before the April 15 deadline for student acceptance of admission offers.


    You will follow a curriculum of courses in each discipline that will provide first rate qualification in each discipline, while enjoying significant flexibility to develop innovative trans-disciplinary projects on the Middle East and world of Islam using a wide variety of research techniques and analytical approaches including fieldwork, textual analysis, and archival research. Students and faculty will frequently participate in other interdisciplinary programs at the University of Arizona including those of the Center for Middle Eastern Studies, the Ph.D. program in Middle Eastern Histories, the Bureau of Applied Research in Anthropology, and the program in Women's Studies. 

    Overall Course Requirements

    Students in the dual-degree program complete a total of 105 units:

    • MENAS Requirements - 27 units
    • Anthropology Requirements - 27 units
    • Additional Shared Requirements - 27 units
    • Shared Dissertation Units - 24 units

    No more than 9 units of dissertation credit may be taken in any given semester.

    MENAS Core Requirements (27 units)

    • MENA 595D: Middle East- Approaches, Themes and Controversies (3 units)
    • Language Course for 3rd Year Proficiency* (6-8 units)
    • 5 Elective Courses: 1 each, Gender/Society; Islamic Studies; History plus 2 additional (15 units)
    • 1 Independent study (1 unit)

    *3rd year Arabic MSA is worth 8 credits but 3rd year Persian, Turkish, and Hebrew are only 6 credits. Those pursuing the latter three languages will have to find two more units. Taking an additional 3-unit course will provide those two units and eliminate the need for a one-unit independent study.  

    Anthropology Core Requirements (27 units)

    • ANTH 608A: History of Anthropological Theory I (3 units)
    • ANTH 608B: History of Anthropological Theory II (3 units)
    • ANTH 605: Research Methods (3 units)
    • ANTH 609: Mixed Methods (3 units)
    • ANTH 511: Anthropology of Religion (3 units)
    • ANTH 696B: Islam & Modernity (3 units)
    • MENA/ANTH 696J: Ethnography of the Middle East (3 units)
    • 2 Electives (at least one outside student’s anthropological subdiscipline) (6 units)

    Other Courses (27 units)

    Middle Eastern and North African Studies

    • MENA 502A: Economic History of the Islamic World (3 units)
    • MENA 503: Art and Architecture of the Islamic World (3 units)
    • MENA 530A: Language and Society in the Middle East (3 units)
    • MENA 544: Islamic Mysticism (3 units)
    • MENA/ARB 548: Arabic Literature in English Translation (3 units)
    • MENA 563: Gender Issues and Women's Literature in the Middle East (3 units)
    • MENA 566: The Middle Eastern City and Islamic Urbanism (3 units)
    • MENA 580: The Middle East in the Twentieth Century (3 units)  
    • MENA 584: History of the Arab-Israeli Conflict, 1800 to Present (3 units)
    • MENA 585B: Social, Cultural and Political History of Iranian Plateau: 7th Century – Present (3 units)
    • MENA 590: Women in Middle Eastern Society (3 units)
    • MENA 595D: Middle East (3 units)
    • MENA 596B: Special Topics in Near Eastern Studies (recent offering: Arabic Multimedia) (3 units)
    • MENA 596G: Islamic Law and Society (3 units)
    • MENA 596M: Middle East: Topics in History and Civilization (3 units)
    • MENA 696Y: Islam, Ethnicity and Nationalism (3 units)
    • MENA 640: Gender Issues in Middle Eastern Studies (3 units)
    • MENA 696Y: Islam, Ethnicity and Nationalism (3 units)


    • ARB 524A/B: Conversational Levantine Arabic (6 units)
    • ARB 526: Introduction to Arabic Linguistics (3 units)
    • ARB 527A/B: Colloquial Moroccan Arabic (3 units)
    • ARB 539A/B: Egyptian Arabic (6 units)
    • ARB 584A/B: Intermediate Levantine Arabic (6 units)
    • ARB 596B: Iraqi Arabic (3 units)
    • ARB 595A: Modern Arabic Prose (3 units)
    • ARB 595B: Classical Arabic Prose (3 units)
    • ARB 595C: Classical Arabic Poetry (3 units)


    • ANTH 524A: Political Ecology (3 units)
    • ANTH 528A: Anthropological Demography (3 units)
    • ANTH 534: Reproduction, Politics, and Household Economics (3 units)
    • ANTH 536A: Medical Anthropology (3 units)
    • ANTH 536B: Ethnomedicine (3 units)
    • ANTH 538A: Women's Health in Global Perspective (3 units)
    • ANTH 548: Writing Culture (3 units)
    • ANTH 565: Women in International Development (3 units)
    • ANTH 576: Language in Culture (3 units)
    • ANTH 580: Historical Comparative Linguistics (3 units)
    • ANTH 583: Sociolinguistics (3 units)
    • ANTH 585: Language in Face to Face Interaction (3 units)
    • ANTH 612: Anthropology of Modernity (3 units)
    • ANTH 613: Culture and Power (3 units)
    • ANTH 620: Linguistic Field Techniques* (3 units)
    • ANTH 631: Anthropology and Development (3 units)
    • ANTH 675A/B: Anthropology and International Health (3 units)
    • ANTH 679: Language and Ethnography (3 units)
    • ANTH 680: Foundations in Linguistic Anthropology* (3 units)
    • ANTH 696B: Seminar in Sociocultural Anthropology (topics vary by semester) (3 units)
    • ANTH 696C: Seminar in Anthropological Linguistics (topics vary by semester) (3 units)


    • HIST 545: Women In Islamic History (3 units)
    • HIST 572: History of Medieval India (6 units)
    • HIST 573: History of Modern India and Pakistan: 1750-Present (3 units)HIST 579: The Ottoman Empire to 1800 (3 units)
    • HIST 595E: Struggle and Survival: Modern Mid East and North Africa, c. 1850 - Present (3 units)
    • HIST 596C: Women and the Literature of Identity in Modern Middle East and North Africa (3 units)
    • HIST 695M: Advanced Studies in Middle Eastern History (3 units)
    • HIST 696O: History and Historiography in Colonial North Africa (3 units)

    Judaic Studies

    • JUS 552: Israeli Women (3 units)


    • LING 515: Phonetics* (3 units)
    • LING 554: Structure of a Middle Eastern Language (3 units)

    Political Science

    • POL 541: Arab-Israeli Conflict (3 units)

    Gender and Women's Studies:

    • GWS 586: Transnational Feminisms (3 units)

      * Required of students in anthropology specializing in anthropological linguistics. 

    Transfer Credit

    Graduate coursework in MENAS earned at the University of Arizona as part of an M.A., and up to 12 units earned in non-degree status, may be applied to the Ph.D. coursework requirement. Up to 33 units of graduate coursework may be transferred from another institution. A request to transfer must be submitted to the Graduate College, in consultation with the Graduate Advisors of both departments, by the end of the first year. Many of these transfer units may be applicable to requirements in either of the degree programs, or may count towards the additional 27 units required of the student.  

    Doctoral Plan of Study

    In conjunction with your major professors or advisors, you are responsible for developing a Plan of Study during your first year in residence, to be filed with the Graduate College no later than your third semester in residence. The Plan of Study identifies (1) courses you intends to transfer from other institutions; (2) courses already completed at the University of Arizona which you intend to apply toward the graduate degree; and (3) additional course work to be completed in order to fulfill degree requirements. The Plan of Study must have the approval of the your major professor (Committee Chair) and department heads (or Directors of Graduate Studies) from both the Anthropology Department and from the MENAS before it is submitted to the Graduate College.


    You must achieve proficiency in Modern Standard Arabic, Hebrew, Persian, or Turkish. Third-year language proficiency is achieved by successfully completing six semesters of the focus language. Second year (or intermediate) proficiency must be achieved in a second Middle Eastern Language and reading proficiency is required in French, German, or a relevant European language.

    Qualifying Examination

    A qualifying examination or diagnostic evaluation may be required to demonstrate acceptability to pursue the doctorate as well as to determine areas of study where further course work is necessary. The examination should be taken during the first semester of residence and preferably during the first two weeks of residence.

    Comprehensive Examination

    Comprehensive exams will be taken at the end of coursework. The committee should include two tenured or tenure-track faculty from Anthropology and two from MENAS.


    A total of 24 units of dissertation hours must be taken in addition to the 81 hours of coursework. The dissertation committee will be composed of at least two faculty from Anthropology and two from MENAS and should include content from both fields. A proposal must be approved by the student’s entire doctoral committee within six months of the completion of the Comprehensive Exams.


    Students accepted into the program will be eligible for Teaching Assistantships for MENAS language and General Education courses, and research assistantships in the departments of Anthropology and MENAS, as well as FLAS fellowships and research assistantships in the Center for Middle Eastern Studies. Neither department, however, guarantees funding for students nor is there any obligation to match the funding provided by another department. More information on financial aid can be found on the graduate funding page.


    To meet the minimum Graduate College residence requirement, you must complete a minimum of 34 units of graduate credit in residence at the University of Arizona, (24 units of dissertation plus 12 units of regular graded coursework taken the University of Arizona). “In residence” is defined as units offered by the University of Arizona, whether or not they are offered on campus.

    Time Limitation

    All requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy must be completed within 5 years of passing the Comprehensive Exam. Should a student not finish within that time period, he or she may be allowed to retake the Comprehensive Exam with permission of the program, and then proceed to complete other requirements (e.g., the dissertation).