The Master of Arts 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
GOVT 632Politics and Societies of the Middle East3
Select one methods course from the following:3
Methods in Anthropology
Interdisciplinary Research Methods
The Scientific Method and Research Design
The Study and Writing of History
Methods and Logic of Social Inquiry
Theories and Methods in the Study of Religion
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 (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
Topics in Folklore Studies
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 Comparative World History
Problems in Middle Eastern History
Graduate Internship in Middle East and Islamic Studies
Directed Readings in Middle East and Islamic Studies
Issues 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 (any)/Middle East and Islamic Studies, Accelerated MA

Overview

Highly qualified undergraduates may be admitted to the bachelor's/accelerated master's program and obtain a BA/BS in a chosen major and an MA in Middle East and Islamic Studies in an accelerated time-frame after satisfactory completion of a minimum of 138 credits.

See AP.6.7 Bachelor's/Accelerated Master's Degree for policies related to this program.

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.

BAM Pathway Admission 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 Polices and Bachelor's/Accelerated Master's Degree policies. For information specific to this accelerated program, see Application Requirements and Deadlines on the departmental website.

Students will be considered for admission into the BAM Pathway after completion of a minimum of 60 credits and with a minimum overall GPA of 3.50.

Students who are accepted in the BAM Pathway will be allowed to register for graduate courses after successful completion of a minimum of 75 undergraduate credits.

Accelerated Master's Admission Requirements

Students already admitted in the BAM Pathway will be admitted to the MA program, if they have met the following criteria, as verified on the Bachelor's/Accelerated Master's Transition form:

  • Minimum overall GPA of 3.50
  • Completion of at least one core course in the MA in Middle East and Islamic Studies with a minimum grade of B
  • Minimum grade of B in each advanced standing course
  • Successfully met Mason's requirements for undergraduate degree conferral (graduation) and completed the application for graduation

Accelerated Pathway Requirements

To maintain the integrity and quality of both the undergraduate and graduate degree programs, undergraduate students interested in taking graduate courses must choose from the following:

Advanced Standing courses (up to 12 credits with a minimum grade of B in each)

MEIS 500 Critical Issues and Debates in Middle East and Islamic Studies (3 credits)
HIST 575 Approaches to Middle East and Islamic History (3 credits)
RELI 644 Islamic Texts and Contexts (3 credits)
GOVT 632 Politics and Societies of the Middle East (3 credits)
ANTH 650 Methods in Anthropology (3 credits)
GLOA 605 Interdisciplinary Research Methods (3 credits)
GOVT 500 The Scientific Method and Research Design (3 credits)
HIST 610 The Study and Writing of History (3 credits)
SOCI 620 Methods and Logic of Social Inquiry (3 credits)
RELI 630 Theories and Methods in the Study of Religion (3 credits)

Reserve Graduate Credit courses (up to 6 credits) taken while an undergraduate and will only count for the graduate degree program

ANTH 635 Regional Ethnography (3 credits) (when topic is Middle East and North Africa)
ARTH 599 Special Topics in Art History (1-6 credits) (when topic is Middle Eastern or Islamic art)
ARTH 699 Topics in Art History (3 credits) (when topic is Middle East or Islamic art)
CONF 653 World Religions, Diplomacy, and Conflict Resolution (3 credits)
ENGH 591 Topics in Folklore Studies (3 credits)
ENGH 665 Seminar in Global Culture (3 credits) (when topic is Middle East or Muslim world)
FREN 553 Topics in North African Francophone Literature and Culture (3 credits)
FRLN 550 Special Topics (3 credits) (when topic is a language of the Middle East or Muslim world)
FRLN 551 Special Topics (3 credits) (when topic is a language of the Middle East or Muslim world)
GGS 533 Issues in Regional Geography (1-6 credits) (when topic is Middle East)
HIST 535 Problems in Comparative World History (3 credits)
HIST 585 Problems in Middle Eastern History (3 credits)
MEIS 599 Issues in Middle East and Islamic Studies (3 credits)
RELI 591 Special Topics in Religious Studies (3 credits) (when topic is Islam or Muslim communities)
RELI 645 Muslim Comparative Theologies: Sunni-Shi`i Religious Thought (3 credits)
RELI 646 Islam and Human Rights (3 credits)
RELI 660 Islamic Biomedical Ethics (3 credits)

For more detailed information on coursework and timeline requirements see AP.6.7 Bachelor's Accelerated Master's Degree policies.