Graduate Programs

The Master of Arts in modern Middle Eastern and North African Studies is an interdisciplinary course of study designed to develop advanced competence in the language courses of the region, deeper understanding of the MENA region, and research and writing skills appropriate for a graduate student. 

Students must complete a minimum of 30 credit hours at the graduate level including courses in Middle Eastern history, Middle Eastern and North African Studies Colloquium Series, and advanced language courses of the region—Arabic, Armenian, Hebrew, Persian, and Turkish. Students must also fulfill the U-M graduate school's residence, grade and time requirements as stated in the Horace H. Rackham School of Graduate Studies Policies and Procedures.

Degree Requirements

  • A minimum of 30 hours graduate level course work, distributed over three to five fields (maximum 15 hours in one field) such as: anthropology, history, history of art, languages and literatures, political science, religion and civilization, and sociology.
  • Two terms of Middle Eastern history, equivalent to History 442 and History 443.  One or both terms of this requirement may be waived by the Center’s graduate advisor if comparable courses were taken at the undergraduate level. If the courses are waived, students must choose alternate approved history courses.
  • MENAS 493 (Comparative Perspectives of the Middle East and North Africa) 
  • MENA 695 (Study of the Middle East)
  • A minimum 3rd year level of a modern language of the region through either course work or demonstrated competence. No graduate credit is given for language courses below the 400 level and thus will not count toward the 30 required hours.
  • A research essay (thesis) equivalent to a substantial term paper, submitted for approval by two faculty members, OR, with the Center director's approval, a non-essay option of 36 hours of graduate level courses.

Students must also fulfill the graduate school's residence, grade and time requirements as stated in the Horace H. Rackham School of Graduate Studies Policies and Procedures.

Thesis Requirements

The Master’s thesis should be at least 50 typed, double-spaced pages, but is not to exceed 100 pages. The student must either use primary sources or a theoretical framework to organize the material in an original way. Students should expect to have to make revisions recommended by their readers.

Procedure

The student must select a thesis advisor during the first year on campus. The thesis advisor will be the primary reader, responsible for guidance with respect to the overall content, quality and style of the thesis. The primary reader will also monitor the progress of the research and writing. The secondary reader is responsible for overall content, quality and style of the thesis.

The student will submit a one-page prospectus and supporting bibliography to each reader and the Center Director. Both readers will be asked to submit to the Center their written approval of the prospectus.

The student will submit the thesis in final form to each reader and to the Center Director. Both readers will be asked to submit to the Center their written acceptance of the completed thesis.

Deadlines

  • The Master’s Thesis may be submitted either in the Fall or Winter term of the student’s final year. Students planning to graduate in the spring/summer terms should make arrangements well in advance to ensure the availability of faculty readers.
  • Notify the Center of your primary reader (thesis advisor) before the end of your first year on campus.
  • Notify the Center of your thesis topic and primary and secondary readers using the “Approval Prospectus” forms and submit the one-page prospectus and supporting bibliographies by the middle of the term (7 weeks after classes begin) preceding the term of graduation to the Center and the two readers.
  • Submit a draft of the thesis by the middle of the final term of residence to your two readers.
  • Submit three copies of the revised thesis, one to the primary reader, one to the secondary reader, and one to the Center director for approval.
  • Submit two signed “Thesis Approval” forms indicating approval, from both your primary and secondary readers, to the Center director before the first day of the examination period of the final term of residence for final approval.

Dual Degree

Graduate students interested in a dual degree must apply to and be admitted by both schools, using their respective application forms and indicating that the application is being made to the dual program.

Dual Degree Program- Law School

Students may pursue concurrent work in the program in Modern Middle Eastern and North African Studies and the Law School leading to the MA and JD degrees. This dual degree program recognizes the growing need for specialists who combine training in law with knowledge of the Middle East and gives students the opportunity to take advantage of expanding employment opportunities brought about by increased United States governmental and commercial relations with the countries of the Middle East and North Africa. The program is arranged so that all requirements for both degrees may be completed in three and one-half to four years of concurrent enrollment.

Dual Degree Program- Business School

The School of Business Administration and the Rackham School of Graduate Studies offer a dual degree program enabling a small number of qualified persons to pursue concurrent work in business administration and Modern Middle Eastern and North African Studies leading to the MBA and MA degrees. The program is arranged so that all requirements for both degrees are completed in two and one-half years of enrollment.

Individualized Dual Masters Degrees

It is possible for students to pursue dual degrees even when there is no formal joint degree program in place.  Self-initiated dual degrees can be developed when that is the most appropriate way to prepare a student for their career.  In recent years, MENAS students have initiated their own dual degree programs with The School of Public Health and The Gerald R Ford School of Public Policy.  

How to apply:

CMENAS coordinates admissions with the Rackham School of Graduate Studies. Please consult their information for prospective students and how to submit an application and transcripts.

The application deadline is January 15. 

In addition to both submitting transcripts and completing the Rackham School of Graduate Studies application, applicants must also submit the following to CMENAS:

  • Statement of Purpose (typed, double spaced, maximum 2 pages)
  • Curriculum vitae
  • Writing Sample (typed, double spaced, maximum 20 pages)
  • Personal Statement (typed, double spaced, maximum 2 pages)
  • Official transcripts from all postsecondary institutions attended
  • 3 letters of recommendation
  • GRE test scores

All above materials should be sent by the application deadline to:

The Center for Middle Eastern and North African Studies
Attention: Graduate Admissions
University of Michigan
1080 South University Avenue, Suite 3603
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1106

For questions about the CMENAS graduate degree program including application process and degree requirements, please contact the Graduate Academic Advising at ii-gradadvising@umich.edu; for general inquiries about MENAS, contact cmenas@umich.edu.