Middle East and North African Studies (0325)

Required Courses: 11 courses with a grade of “C” or higher, of which a minimum of 7 must be taken at Boston University. Majors are required to take one broad introduction to the region chosen from List A, at least three humanities courses chosen from List B, and at least three social sciences courses chosen from List C. The four remaining courses are electives: these may include any from the three lists not used to fulfill the above requirements; language courses from List D as specified below; any other courses on the MENA region (including “topics” courses) offered throughout the University; and/or senior honors work. Also required is a one-credit mini-seminar, CAS ME 101 “Issues in MENA Studies.” By petition with advisor’s consent, students may also count relevant courses from Consortium schools and non-BU study abroad programs. At least three of the 11 courses counted for the major must be at or above the 400 level. To facilitate direct cultural knowledge and in-depth research on the region, students must study one or more Middle Eastern languages. These courses comprise List D. At least six semesters of ME language courses are required, unless the student enters with background in a ME language (Arabic, Hebrew, Persian, or Turkish). All majors must demonstrate fourth-semester proficiency (by completing L_ 212 or higher) in one ME language, as well as taking at least two ME language courses past 212 or in a different language. Students who are certified bilingual in one ME language must complete two semesters of courses in a different ME language or languages. Courses at the 212 level or higher in the student’s first ME language, and at the 112 level or higher in a second or subsequent ME language, may also be counted electives for the major.

It is recommended that majors take advantage of one or more BU study abroad programs (Rabat program, Haifa program, Istanbul exchange, Beirut exchange) or another appropriate course of study in the region.
Honors in the MENA Studies major may be earned by completing two semesters of independent senior honors work and presenting an original research paper (thesis) in written and oral form to a committee of faculty readers. The committee will consider both the thesis and the result of the oral examination to determine whether the student will receive honors in the major. A grade of B+ or better in each semester is also required to receive honors. While it will normally require two on-campus semesters of research and writing, in special cases a one-semester honors project can grow out of research begun during a semester of study abroad or service learning in the MENA region. Students doing honors work will present their work at an annual symposium to which all Middle East faculty and fellow majors will be invited.

List A (Introduction to the Region):

  • AH 220 Islamic Art and Architecture
  • XL 223 Introduction to Comparative Literature: Middle Eastern Literature
  • AN 317 Power and Society in the Middle East
  • AN 319 Anthropology of Muslim Cultures and Politics
  • HI 387 Introduction to the Middle East
  • HI 382/IR 328 Turko-Persia in the Twentieth Century
  • IR/GE 382 Understanding the Middle East

List B (Humanities):

  •   AH 220 Islamic Art and Architecture
  •   AH 313 Early-Modern Islamic Art and Architecture
  •   AH 314 After Genghis Khan: Art and Architecture in Central Asia and Iran
  •   AH 317 From Morocco to Timbuktu: Art and Architecture at the Saharan Crossroads
  •   AH 428 Seminar: Islamic Art
  •   AH 541 Ottoman Art and Architecture
  •   AH 540 Europe and Islam
  •   LF 456 The Postcolonial Novel
  •   LH 250 Masterpieces of Modern Hebrew Literature
  •   LH 283 Israeli Culture Through Film (English Translation)
  •   LH330 Israeli Popular Music
  •   LH 350 Hebrew Narrative
  •   LH 351 Styles and Meaning of Hebrew Poetry
  •   LH 453 Israeli Culture Through Film (in Hebrew)
  •   LT 281 Istanbul at the Crossroads
  •   LY 281 Contemporary Arabic Literature
  •   LY 284 Arabs Write War
  •   LY 350 Introduction to Arabic Literature
  •   LY 441 1001 Nights in World Literary Imagination
  •   LY 470 Topics in Arabic Literature
  •   LY 471 Topics in Arab Culture and Arabic Language
  •   LZ 380 Persian Epic
  •   LZ 381 Rumi and Persian Sufi Poetry
  •   XL 223 Intro to Comparative Literature: Middle Eastern Literature
  •   XL342 Travel Writing and the Muslim World
  •   XL 386 African Cinema
  •   RN 104 World Religions: Western (Judaism, Christianity, Islam)
  •   RN 201 Hebrew Bible
  •   RN 212 Christianity
  •   RN 214 Islam
  •   RN 216 Judaism
  •   RN 220 The Holy City: Jerusalem in Time, Space, & Imagination
  •   RN 301 Varieties of Early Christianity
  •   RN 316 Modern Islam
  •   RN 323 Classical Jewish Thought
  •   RN 331 Zionism and the State of Israel
  •   RN 334 Dead Sea Scrolls
  •   RN 340 The Quran
  •   RN 341 Islamic Mysticism: Sufism
  •   RN 345 Islamic Law
  •   RN 434 Representations of Muhammad
  •   RN 435 Women, Gender, and Islam

List C (Social Sciences):

  • AN 307 Turkey & Middle East in Comparative Perspective
  • AN 317 Power and Society in the Middle East
  • AN 319 Anthropology of Muslim Cultures and Politics
  • AN 320 Women in the Muslim World
  • AN 525 Ritual and Political Identity
  • AN 547 Muslim Societies and Islamic Civilizations
  • AR 209 The Near Eastern Bronze Age
  • AR 221 Archaeology of the Islamic World
  • AR 341 Archaeology of Mesopotamia
  • AR 342 Archaeology of the Holy Land
  • AR 343 Anatolian Archaeology
  • AR 532 Studies in Near and Middle Eastern Archaeology
  • HI 354 (RN 346) History and Religion: North African Issues (Rabat program)
  • HI 378 – Armenia from Antiquity to the Middle Ages
  • HI 379 – Modern Armenian History and Literature
  • HI 381 (IR 397) History of Modern Iran
  • HI 382 (IR 328) Turko-Persia in the Twentieth Century
  • HI 385 (IR 329) History of Premodern Iran
  • HI 387 Introduction to the Middle East
  • HI 389 Americans and the Middle East
  • HI 392 The History of Israel: an Introduction
  • HI 393 Topics in the History of Israel
  • HI 484 Revolutionary Change in North Africa and the Middle East
  • HI 485 Selected Problems in the Modern Middle East
  • HI 486 Islamic History
  • HI 591 (IR 591) The Making of the Modern Middle East
  • HI 592 The Birth of a State: Israel 1945-55
  • · HI 593 Youth on the Agenda: Roles and Images of Young People in the Jewish Nation
  •   HI 594 The Armenian Genocide
  •   HI 595 Morocco: History on the Cusp of Three Continents
  •   HI 596 (AH 539, AN 548, and RN 563) Muslim Societies: An Interdisciplinary History
  •   IR 325 The Great Powers and the Eastern Mediterranean
  •   IR 382 (GE 382) Understanding the Middle East
  •   IR 383 Modern North Africa
  •   IR 503 (PO 570) The United States in the Middle East
  •   IR 504 The Persian Gulf/Arabian Peninsula
  •   IR 507 (PO 507) Islam and Politics
  •   IR 508 Islamic Political Movements and US Policy
  •   IR 509 (PO 573) Islam in Middle East Politics
  •   IR 511 The Middle East Today
  •   IR 514 Major Themes in the Middle East Peace Process
  •   IR 558 (PO 588) – Turkey and the European Union
  •   IR 561(PO 561, RN 561) – Religion and International Relations
  •   IR 587 Political Economy of the Middle East
  •   PO 560 Politics and Society in North Africa and the Middle East
  •   UHC HI 101 War for the Greater Middle East

List D (Middle Eastern Language Courses):

  • LY 111-112, 211-212, 303-304, and 403-404 First- through eighth-semester


LY 572 Arabic Translation and Interpreting


  • LH 111-112 and 211-212 First- through fourth-semester Hebrew
  • LH311 Advanced Modern Hebrew: Voices in Israeli Society
  • LH 312 Advanced Modern Hebrew: Biblical Voices in Modern Israel


  • LZ 111-112 and 211-212, LZ 303 First- through fifth-semester Persian


  •   LT 111-112, 211-212, and 303 First- through fifth-semester Turkish