There are two tracks for students interested in minoring in Middle East Studies at Smith. On a student’s transcript, either track will be listed as “Minor: Middle East Studies”
- Minor in Middle East Studies
- Minor in Arabic Language
1. Requirements for the Minor in Middle East Studies
Six semester courses are required for the minor in Middle East studies:
- One language course in college-level Arabic or modern Hebrew
- One course on classical Islam or pre-modern (prior to 1800) Middle Eastern history
- One course on modern Middle Eastern history, contemporary Middle Eastern politics, economics of the region, sociology or anthropology of the Middle East, or modern/contemporary Islamic thought
- Three electives in Middle Eastern religions, literatures, arts, history and/or the social sciences (all under consultation with academic adviser)
Only the second semester of the beginner's language sequence counts as one of the six courses required for the minor, though students may earn course credit toward her overall Smith degree requirements for the full year.
Additional language study of Arabic and Hebrew at the intermediate and advanced levels at Smith or within the Five College Consortium is strongly encouraged. Students may apply to the Middle East Studies Committee for funding of summer language study (e,g., Arabic, Farsi, Hebrew, Turkish).
Apart from language classes, no more than two courses may be taken from the same department or program, and normally no more than three courses can be taken away from Smith.
Courses taken at area institutions or abroad may count towards the minor; please consult an adviser from the program. Courses taken in fulfillment of the minor must be taken for a letter grade; students who elect to take a course S/U may not count that course towards the major.
Students who wish to conduct independent research may approach her adviser for permission to enroll in MES 400 (Special Studies). MES 400 is a research intensive course, available only to qualified juniors and seniors, and would serve as one of the electives.
Courses taken towards the minor in Middle East Studies or the minor in Arabic must be taken for a lettr grade. Courses taken for an S/U grade do not count towards the minor.
2. Requirements for the Minor in Arabic
Six semester courses are required for the minor in Arabic
- At least six courses (4 credits each) taught in Arabic. Students may count only the second semester of Elementary Arabic towards the minor.
- Students must complete the equivalent of a full year of both intermediate Arabic and Advanced Arabic.
- Capstone: At least one course, offered in Arabic, should be a non-language course which focuses on a topic or issue. Such courses, which may consist of a special studies, might include Media Arabic, Arabic literature, Arabic translation, Arabic Linguistics (syntax, semantics, pragmatics, discourse analysis), Aspects of Arabic Culture, Arab Film; and Arabic religious or philosophical texts.
- Special studies in Arabic may count for as many as two of the six courses.
- Courses in Arabic dialects offered by any of the Five Colleges or by the Five College Center for the Study of World Languages count toward the minor, If a course offered by the FCCSWL is worth less than 4 credits, students will have to make up the credit shortfall elsewhere.
- Courses taught in English about the Arab world may not count toward the minor.
- Students are encouraged to fulfill some of the requirements towards the minor in an Arabic-speaking country, either during a semester or summer of Study Abroad. Courses taken outside Smith College or the Five College Arabic Program in Arabic language or in Arabic in any discipline must be approved by the head of the Arabic program at Smith (and by the student’s adviser).
Smith College does not offer a major in Middle East Studies.
Students have the option of designing a self-designed major pursuant to the guidelines and approval of the Subcommittee on Honors and Independent Programs (SHIP).
Students interested in this option work with an adviser from the Program in Middle East Studies in designing a major and should keep in mind the following broad guidelines:
- Self-designed majors require the approval of two different departments or programs at the college (one of which must be Middle East Studies); your adviser would need to be a a faculty member appointed to the Program in Middle East Studies;
- The Program in Middle East Studies will consider a proposal for a self-designed major no earlier than the spring semester of the sophomore year, and only after a student has completed at least a full year of a Middle Eastern language and demonstrated other course work that demonstrates sustained interest in the Middle East;
- Self-designed majors will achieve advanced proficiency in a Middle Eastern language, which entails at least three full years of college-level language study by the time of graduation;
- Self-designed majors in Middle East Studies must be interdisciplinary. Normally this includes study of the religion, history, politics, cultures (literature, film, music, art), and national/ethnic diversity of the region; students should take at least one course with a primary focus on the Middle East beyond the Arab world (Iran, Israel, Turkey;
- Students will complete a self-designed major with a capstone course focused on some aspect of the Middle East Studies (a seminar offered by a member of the Program, a research special studies, or an honors thesis)
- Given that this is a self-designed major, there are no required courses; students develop an appropriate program of course work with the adviser, subject to the approval of the director of the Program who is responsible for signing off on the proposal for a self-designed major.