Minor in Middle Eastern Studies

Middle Eastern Studies at MIT offers students the opportunity to explore the connections among culture, society, politics, economics, technology, and environment in the Middle East, including North Africa. MIT offers a number of subjects open to undergraduates that provide a variety of perspectives on the ancient, Islamic, and modern Middle East. The goal of the HASS Minor Program in Middle Eastern Studies is to lead the student from the basic language into survey subjects and then into more focused studies of individual countries or specific historical periods, and to encourage analysis of the main methodological and conceptual issues in Middle Eastern Studies.

The minor consists of six subjects (at least three of which must be MIT subjects), arranged in four areas of study:

  • Area I: Language
  • Area II: Humanities and the Arts
  • Area III: Social Sciences
  • Area IV: Historical Studies

Subjects in Middle Eastern Studies are also available from Harvard University and Wellesley College through cross-registration. Students must receive permission from the minor advisor prior to registering for a class at another institution.

Five of the six subjects taken for the minor may be counted toward the eight-subject HASS Requirement. Of these five, at most one may count toward the distribution component of the HASS Requirement. Of the six subjects required for the minor, at least four cannot be counted toward a major or another minor.

Area I: Language 1
Two intermediate (Levels III and IV) subjects in one of the following Middle Eastern languages are required: Arabic, Hebrew, Persian, Turkish.24
Select four subjects from at least two of the following areas: 248
Area II: Humanities and the Arts
Select from among the following:
Building Islam
Women and Gender in the Middle East and North Africa
Area III: Social Sciences
Select from among the following:
Communities of the Living and the Dead: the Archaeology of Ancient Egypt
Archaeology of the Middle East
Israel: History, Politics, Culture, and Identity
or 17.567
Israel: History, Politics, Culture, and Identity
Cities in the Middle East: History, Politics and Society
Women and War
Area IV: Historical Studies
Select from among the following:
Islam, the Middle East, and the West
The Modern Middle East
Modern Iran: A Century of Revolution
Palestine and the Arab-Israeli Conflict
Minorities and Majorities in the Middle East
Total Units72

The advisor may also approve other Middle Eastern languages, such as Armenian, Greek, or Kurdish. Because MIT does not offer instruction in these languages, students may satisfy the Area I language requirement at Harvard University or Wellesley College. They may also satisfy the language requirement at other institutions, provided they receive permission in advance from the minor advisor. Students who can demonstrate competence beyond the intermediate level may either take two more advanced language subjects (highly recommended) or two more subjects from Areas II, III, and IV.


For students who are not required to take Area I subjects and opt not to take advanced language subjects (see footnote 1 above), all six subjects for the minor must be taken from Areas II, III, and IV, with at least one subject from each area.

The subject list above is not exhaustive. Additional information can be obtained from the History Office, Room E51-255, 617-253-4965, or from the SHASS Dean's Office, 4-240, 617-253-3450.