Middle East Studies/Arabic provides a multidisciplinary approach to university study through the languages, cultures, and history of the Middle East. Students combine the depth and disciplinary strength of Arabic language ability with the breadth of area knowledge of the Middle East; gain a strong background in modern Middle East history, politics, geography, cultures, and religion; study overseas in BYU’s advanced Arabic language program which emphasizes fluency in reading newspapers, listening to and understanding Arabic news broadcasts, and in speaking an Arabic dialect; develop the ability to research, analyze, and write in a variety of formats; and acquire an appreciation for the cultures of the region and understand the challenges of the region.
Where can I learn more about majoring in Middle East Studies/Arabic?
Interested students should meet with either the Middle East Studies/Arabic faculty coordinator, Professor Quinn Mecham or one of the counselors at the Kennedy Center Advisement Center (273 HRCB).
How do I declare a major in Middle East Studies/Arabic?
Go to the Kennedy Center Advisement Center (273 HRCB), where the secretaries will assist you. Seniors must meet with an academic advisor before approval to switch to the major will be granted.
What are the major’s requirements?
See the BA in Middle East Studies/Arabic page in the BYU Undergraduate Catalog.
What knowledge and skills may I expect to gain as a Middle East Studies/Arabic major?
For the expected Learning Outcomes for the Middle East Studies/Arabic major, click here.
STUDY ABROAD REQUIREMENT
The major requires one semester of advanced Arabic language study taught in the region with a BYU program. Third-year Arabic classes are only taught in the study abroad program, where students will complete the advanced Arabic classes required for the major.
The Middle East Studies/Arabic minor allows students who have completed an internship or a study abroad in the Middle East—or simply have a love for the Middle East’s people and cultures—to expand their knowledge of the area and receive a formal credential signaling their international expertise. Requiring 19 hours beyond the GE language requirement, a minor in Middle East Studies/Arabic is a perfect way to complement a degree in just about any field.
Recent experience has proven that Middle East Studies/Arabic majors and minors who have completed internships fare significantly better when applying for jobs or graduate school. The gold standard is spending a semester or summer interning in the Middle East.
If finances or life circumstances make it impossible to leave Provo, you can still have an outstanding internship experience through local providers. Visit the Internships page for more information.
CLUBS AND HONOR SOCIETIES
Middle East Studies Arabic Students (MESAS), Model United Nations, International Society, foreign language clubs, choirs, and honor societies. See the clubs page.
A degree in Middle Eastern Studies/Arabic prepares students for a variety of academic and career opportunities. Students with this degree go on to a wide range of graduate school programs, ranging from professional programs like a JD, MBA, or MPA, to PhD or Master’s degrees in fields like political science and international development. Students who choose to enter the workforce immediately after graduation find careers with the U.S. State Department and other government agencies, as well as with nongovernmental organizations (domestic and international), think tanks, aid and development organizations, refugee organizations, human rights organizations, and so forth. Students interested in any of these (or other possible) paths should consult closely with faculty and the Kennedy Center advisement staff.
MESA faculty meet each year as a whole to oversee the major and to assess needed changes to the major and minor. This group helped draft the founding documents for the major in 2003 and have devoted effort to offering our students an excellent experience since. MESA faculty consistently have made changes to the major curriculum to tighten the major sequence, add required classes to strengthen the focus on writing and research, and refine the Arabic language program.