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The Minor in Middle East Studies

The Middle East studies minor at Smith provides students with the opportunity to complement a major with a concentration of courses that treat the region in its historical, political, social and cultural complexity. The minor provides the opportunity to study the region in an interdisciplinary fashion, with attention to key fields of knowledge.


Six semester courses are required.

Language (1 course)

Completion of at least one year of college-level Arabic or modern Hebrew. Only the second semester of the beginner's language sequence counts as one of the six courses required for the minor, though students earn course credit towards 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 petition the MES Committee to substitute the minimum requirement of a year of Arabic or Hebrew with the study of another Middle Eastern language (Farsi, Turkish, etc).

Breadth Requirements (2 courses)

A course on classical Islam or pre-modern (prior to 1800) Middle Eastern history, broadly defined. (Courses do not necessarily have to be offerings from the history department, but must be historically oriented.)

A course on modern history, contemporary politics/economics/cultures/sociology/anthropology or modern/contemporary Islamic thought.

Electives (3 courses)

In consultation with their adviser, students may choose additional electives in religion, literature, arts, and/or history and the social sciences.

Students who wish to conduct independent research may approach an 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.

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.