Middle Eastern Languages & Cultures: Middle Eastern Literatures & Societies, MA

In addition to the MA degree awarded within the PhD program, Middle Eastern Languages and Cultures (MELC) offers an independent (terminal) MA degree in Middle Eastern Literatures and Societies. MELC’s graduate program in Middle Eastern Literatures and Societies offers advanced study of the languages, literatures, and societies of the  Middle East, including aspects of Islamic civilization, in modern and pre-modern settings.

Students admitted to the MA program are assigned a faculty advisor to guide their studies. Courses, selected in consultation with the advisor, will normally be completed in three semesters. All students, regardless of their concentration, must master at least one of the languages in which the primary sources of MELC's subfields are written. Standards vary by subfield.

View the University’s Academic Rules for Research Master's Programs.


A minimum of 12 course units are required for graduation.

  • Coursework
  • Reading proficiency examination in one modern language of scholarly research
  • MA Final Exams (three)
    • One exam on mastery of a language in which primary sources are written
    • Two exams selected from two of the following three groups:
      • Group 1: Pre-modern Arabic or Persian Literature and Modern Arabic or Persian Literature
      • Group 2: Pre-modern Middle East history and Modern Middle East history
      • Group 3: Islamic thought
  • Thesis or two research papers

Some MA students apply for MELC’s PhD program. However, admission to the MA program or successful completion of the MA does not provide a guarantee of admission to the PhD program.

The degree and major requirements displayed are intended as a guide for students entering in the Fall of 2024 and later. Students should consult with their academic program regarding final certifications and requirements for graduation.