Middle Eastern Literary Studies Track

Gain the highest level of training in textual and cultural analysis together with a strong background in Middle Eastern literary traditions. 

About the Track

The Middle Eastern Literary Studies track is designed for the study of one or more Middle Eastern literary traditions in an historical and analytical manner. The track accommodates the study of classical and modern Arabic and Persian literatures as well as modern Turkish literature. Student interested in Persian literature may also want to consider applying to the Roshan GIDP in Persian and Iranian Studies.

Students in this track choose a primary literature of study, a secondary literature within MENAS, and a minor field which may be either a literary tradition outside of MENAS, or another academic discipline connected with the student’s area of research. You are required to develop a strong competence in methods of literary study by taking relevant courses within MENAS or in other departments. You are also encouraged to go beyond the national literature framework as much as possible by taking courses in multiple literary traditions, in non-literary modes of cultural representation, and in academic disciplines outside of literary studies.

Course Requirements

You will complete the core Ph.D. major requirements, as well as:


Complete 2 approved courses in literary theory in MENAS or other departments. Suitable methodology courses in other departments include:

  • English 515: The History of Literary Theory and Criticism: Major Trends of the 20th and 21st Centuries
  • English 596B: Postcolonial 
  • French 511: Topics in Literary History, Criticism, and Theory
  • French 573: Semiotics and Language
  • Spanish 571: Topics in Literary Theory & Criticism 

Primary Literature

Complete 3 primary literature courses (at least 1 classical and at least 1 modern)

Secondary Literature

Complete 1 secondary literature courses.


Complete 2 MENAS approved electives.


Complete 3 courses for your minor in a non-MENAS literature or another discipline.