A rack of slippers at a Moroccan market; photo courtesy of Tom ParadiseA rack of slippers at a Moroccan market; photo courtesy of Tom Paradise

Majors and Minors

The Middle East Studies (MEST) Program offers a combined-major in Middle East Studies.  Many MEST students choose to co-major in a department that houses affiliated faculty, such as Anthropology, Geography, History, International Studies, or Political Science, though any major can be combined with Middle East Studies to add a regional focus to your academic program.  The MEST Program also offers a Minor in Middle East Studies.

Program Requirements:

  • MEST 2013 Introduction to Middle East Studies (3 hours)
  • MEST 4003 Middle East Studies Colloquium (3 hours)
  • Arabic Language Requirement (6 hours)

Students must complete 6 hours of Arabic language beyond ARAB 2016. Courses approved by the MEST director and completed in a summer intensive Arabic program or study-abroad program in an Arabic speaking country may substitute for all or part of this requirement.

  • 3 MEST Core Courses in one field/discipline (minimum 9 hours)

Students may choose 3 courses from the MEST Core Courses list either in their primary major's department, or in another academic field. Students desiring to use upper level Arabic courses to fulfill this requirement (ARAB4016 and above) must take a total of 3 ARAB courses in order to satisfy this requirement; this may total more than 9 hours.

  • 3 elective MEST Core Courses (minimum 9 hours)

Students may choose 3 courses from the MEST Core Courses list to use as electives.  Students desiring to use upper level Arabic courses to fulfill this requirement (ARAB4016 and above) may do so; this may total more than 9 hours.

To count for MEST credit, courses not on the list of MEST Core Courses must be approved by the student’s MEST major adviser and the MEST director. Individualized readings, directed research courses, or courses in a second Middle Eastern language may count as MEST core courses with the approval of the MEST major adviser and MEST director.

Students seeking MEST credit for courses taken within a study abroad program must seek approval from the MEST director, and must provide a course syllabus for consideration.

Total Hours Required: 30 semester hours

Program Requirements:
  • MEST 2013 Introduction to Middle East Studies (3 hours)
  • MEST 4003 Middle East Studies Colloquium (3 hours)
  • Arabic Language Requirement (6 hours)

Students must complete 6 hours of Arabic language beyond ARAB 2016. Courses approved by the MEST director and completed in a summer intensive Arabic program or study-abroad program in an Arabic speaking country may substitute for all or part of this requirement.

  • 2 elective MEST Core Courses (minimum 6 hours)

Students may choose 2 courses from the MEST Core Courses list to use as electives.  Students desiring to use upper level Arabic courses to fulfill this requirement (ARAB4016 and above) may do so; this may total more than 6 hours.

To count for MEST credit, courses not on the list of MEST Core Courses must be approved by the student’s MEST major adviser and the MEST director. Individualized readings, directed research courses, or courses in a second Middle Eastern language may count as MEST core courses with the approval of the MEST major adviser and MEST director.

Students seeking MEST credit for courses taken within a study abroad program must seek approval from the MEST director, and must provide a course syllabus for consideration.

Total Hours Required: 18 semester hours

The Honors Program in Middle East Studies gives junior and senior students of high ability the opportunity to enroll in enriched courses and conduct independent research culminating in an honors thesis. In addition to satisfying the general Fulbright College requirements for graduation and the basic eligibility requirements for honors as established by the Honors Council, candidates for honors in Middle East Studies must complete 12 hours of honors credit in partial satisfaction of requirements for the co-major. One to 6 of these hours may be thesis hours (MEST 399V).

The preferred method for satisfying the remaining hours is to enroll in the colloquium at least once for honors credit (MEST 4003H) and to take relevant honors colloquia or graduate courses (with permission) in one of the departments contributing to this interdisciplinary area study. The thesis committee shall include a representative from the major discipline (in the case of multiple majors, from the discipline contributing most significantly to the topic). Successful completion of these requirements will be recognized by the award of the distinction “Middle East Studies Scholar Cum Laude” at graduation. Higher degree distinctions are recommended only in exceptional cases and are based upon the whole of the candidate’s program of honors studies.

Students who are interested in the Middle East Studies program or are in need of advising on MEST-specific courses and requirements should contact MEST Program Coordinator Nani Verzon to set up an appointment.

Credit for MEST-related courses taken outside the University of Arkansas (study abroad, transfer credits, etc.) must be evaluated by the MEST director and approved to count toward fulfillment of MEST major and minor requirements.  In the case of Arabic language courses, please contact Adnan Haydar, Director of the U of A Arabic Program.

Students should also arrange appointments with the Fulbright Advising Center for advising on their general University requirements and progress toward graduation.