The MA in Middle East and Islamic Studies introduces students to the major methodological and theoretical issues and debates in the study of the Islamic tradition and of Middle Eastern societies. The program situates the study of the Middle East and Islam within a globalized world. The curriculum covers topics of recent scholarly significance including political Islam, the political economy of business-government networks, the relationship between "resource wars" and the "war on terrorism," new diasporas and transnational Muslim communities in the “West,” and the changed geopolitical environments of Muslim and Middle Eastern countries. The degree prepares students for a variety of post-graduate opportunities in academia, government, and an expanding job market for people with this expertise.

Admissions

Applicants to all graduate programs at George Mason University must meet the admission standards and application requirements for graduate study as specified in Graduate Admissions. For specific information, see Application Requirements and Deadlines on the departmental website.

Policies

For policies governing all graduate degrees, see AP.6 Graduate Policies.

Banner Code: LA-MA-MEIS

Degree Requirements

Total credits: 30

Core Courses

MEIS 500Critical Issues and Debates in Middle East and Islamic Studies3
HIST 575Approaches to Middle East and Islamic History3
RELI 644Islamic Texts and Contexts3
Select one methods course from the following:3
Methods in Anthropology
The Study and Writing of History
Methods and Logic of Social Inquiry
The Scientific Method and Research Design
Approaches to the Study of Religion
GOVT 632Politics and Societies of the Middle East3
Total Credits15

Language Proficiency

Prior to graduating, students must demonstrate professional competency in one of five major languages of the Middle East and Muslim world: Arabic, Persian, Turkish, Hebrew, or Urdu.

A waiver for this requirement may be received either through 1) documentation verifying primary language of instruction at either the high school or university level in respective foreign language; transcripts showing coursework at the advanced level in respective foreign language or 2) an examination with an appropriate faculty/examiner designated by the director in consultation with the program's steering committee.

Electives

In addition to the following list, electives may include special topics courses when relevant, directed readings and research, study abroad courses, internships, and other courses with the approval of the program director. Students who choose to complete a research project or write a thesis take 3 or 6 fewer elective credits. 

Select five electives from the following:15
Regional Ethnography (when topic is Middle East and North Africa)
Special Topics in Art History and the Decorative Arts (when topic is Middle Eastern or Islamic art)
Topics in Art History (when topic is Middle East or Islamic art)
World Religions, Diplomacy, and Conflict Resolution
Conflict and Religion
Seminar in Global Culture (when topic is Middle East or Muslim world)
Topics in North African Francophone Literature and Culture
Special Topics (when topic is a language of the Middle East or Muslim world)
Special Topics (when topic is a language of the Middle East or Muslim world)
Issues in Regional Geography (when topic is Middle East)
Advanced Seminar in Comparative Politics (when topic is the Middle East or a Muslim world region)
Islam and Politics
Problems in Middle Eastern History
Graduate Internship in Middle East and Islamic Studies
Directed Readings in Middle East and Islamic Studies
Special Topics in Religious Studies (when topic is Islam or Muslim communities)
Muslim Comparative Theologies: Sunni-Shi`i Religious Thought
Islam and Human Rights
Islamic Biomedical Ethics
Total Credits15

Optional Research Project or Thesis

Research Project

Students choosing to complete a research project take one of the following courses, and one less elective.

Select one from the following:3
Political Science Research Project
Directed Research and Writing in History
Independent Study
Master's Research Project
Research Project in Middle East and Islamic Studies
Total Credits3

Thesis

Students who choose to write a thesis should be aware of the policies governing theses as stated in AP.6.9.3 Master's Thesis. They must follow the thesis enrollment policy of the university and once enrolled in MEIS 799 Thesis Research and Writing in Middle East and Islamic Studies, maintain continuous enrollment.

Students choosing to complete a thesis take 6 fewer credits of electives.

Six credits of6
Thesis Research and Writing in Middle East and Islamic Studies
Total Credits6

Bachelor's Degree (selected)/Middle East and Islamic Studies, Accelerated MA

Overview

Highly-qualified undergraduates pursuing a BA in select majors (listed below) may apply to the accelerated master's degree in Middle East and Islamic studies. If accepted, and depending on their undergraduate major, students will be able to earn a bachelor's degree in their chosen major and a master's degree in Middle East and Islamic studies after satisfactory completion of 144 credits, sometimes within five years. See AP.6.7 Bachelor's/Accelerated Master's Degrees.

Students in an accelerated degree program must fulfill all university requirements for the master's degree. For policies governing all graduate degrees, see AP.6 Graduate Policies.

Selected Majors

It is preferred, though not required, that the student have a minor in Middle East studies or Islamic studies.

Application Requirements

Applicants to all graduate programs at George Mason University must meet the admission standards and application requirements for graduate study as specified in Graduate Admissions. For information specific to the accelerated MA in Middle East and Islamic studies, see Application Requirements and Deadlines.

Accelerated Option Requirements

While undergraduate students, accelerated master's students complete two graduate courses as indicated on their Accelerated Master's Program Application with a minimum grade of 3.00 in each course. Once admitted to the accelerated master's pathway, students must maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.25 in all course work. Upon completion and conferral of the undergraduate degree in the semester indicated in the application, they submit the Bachelor's/Accelerated Master's Transition Form and are admitted to graduate status.

Select two courses from the following:6
Critical Issues and Debates in Middle East and Islamic Studies
Approaches to Middle East and Islamic History
Politics and Societies of the Middle East
Islamic Texts and Contexts
Total Credits6

As graduate students, accelerated master's students have an advanced standing. They must meet all master's degree requirements except for the two courses (6 credits) they completed as undergraduates. Students must begin their master's program the semester immediately following conferral of the undergraduate degree.

Reserve Graduate Credit

Students may take up to 6 additional graduate credits as reserve graduate credit. These credits do not apply to the undergraduate degree. To apply these credits to the master's degree, students should use the Bachelor's/Accelerated Master's Transition Form.

Select up to 6 additional graduate credits from the following:6
Critical Issues and Debates in Middle East and Islamic Studies
Approaches to Middle East and Islamic History
Advanced Seminar in Comparative Politics (when content focus is the Middle East)
Islam and Politics
Islamic Texts and Contexts
Total Credits6

The ability to take courses, including ones not listed above, for reserve graduate credit is available to all high achieving undergraduates with the permission of the department. Permission is normally granted only to qualified Mason seniors within 15 hours of graduation. Permission is normally granted only to qualified Mason seniors within 15 hours of graduation. See AP.1.4.4 Graduate Course Enrollment by Undergraduates.