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MA 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.


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.


  • 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.

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.