The Middle East & North African (MENA) Studies major capitalizes on BU’s remarkably strong offerings in Middle Eastern languages and many aspects of Middle Eastern and North African culture and politics. Students take courses in the humanities, social sciences, and significant study of languages (Arabic, Hebrew, Persian, and Turkish) of the MENA region. MENA Studies works well on its own or as a double major with International Relations.
Majoring in MENA Studies
The MENA major requires 11 principal courses comprising one broad introduction to the region, three humanities courses, three social science courses, and four electives. Students are required to complete six semesters of an approved language and may use some language courses as electives as well.
For the MENA Studies course list, please refer to our Undergraduate Academic Advising page under Current Course Schedules.
The Language Requirements:
MENA Studies majors are required to complete at least six semesters of language study in Arabic, Hebrew, Persian, and/or Turkish, except where a student has prior proficiency in a Middle Eastern language. In that case, at least two semesters of the first language or an additional MENA language are required.
It is possible to “mix and match” languages: All majors must demonstrate fourth-semester proficiency (by completing L_ 212 or higher) in one ME language, as well as take at least two more ME language courses: either above 212 in the same language or at any level of 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 as electives for the major.
Honors in MENA Studies
Honors in MENA Studies 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 of CAS IR 401/402 is required for the award of honors. For more information, please refer to the Middle East & North Africa studies bulletin.