Program of Study (CAS Bulletin)
MajorThe Middle Eastern and Islamic studies (MEIS) major requires ten 4-point courses. It consists of two components: language study and non-language courses.
Language studyTo obtain the B.A. degree with a Middle Eastern and Islamic studies (MEIS) major, students must meet the College of Arts and Science (CAS) language requirement in Arabic, Persian, Turkish, Hindi, or Urdu. This means (1) studying one of these languages through at least the intermediate level (four semesters) at NYU, (2) demonstrating the completion of equivalent course work elsewhere, or (3) satisfying the CAS language requirement by exam in one of these languages. Under exceptional circumstances, the director of undergraduate studies may exempt a student from having to fulfill the language requirement, in which case the student will be required to take ten MEIS non-language courses to complete the major. In any event, every student must always complete at least ten MEIS-approved courses to satisfy requirements for the major.
Non-language course requirementsIn addition to the language requirement, majors must successfully complete at least six MEIS courses distributed across distinct fields. The six MEIS courses are to be distributed as follows:
1. Two Core CoursesTo ensure broad knowledge of issues in the field, all majors must take two "core courses" among their six non-language courses. It is recommended that students take these courses before they take seminars and topics courses. Core courses are as follows:
1. MEIS-UA 690: The Emergence of the Modern Middle East
2. MEIS-UA 697: Palestine, Zionism, and Israel
3. MEIS-UA 728: Women and Gender in Islam
4. MEIS-UA 711: Literature and Society in the Middle East
5. MEIS-UA 750: Middle East Politics
* The department may choose to designate additional courses as core courses and will announce them accordingly.
2. One Topics/Seminar CourseAlso, among the six non-language courses, all majors must take at least one advanced undergraduate seminar; MEIS often offers these under the "topics" rubric (e.g. MEIS-UA 688: Topics in Middle East History). Also, with the permission of the instructor, this requirement may be fulfilled with a graduate seminar.
Distribution fieldsAll majors must take these six non-language courses (including the core and topics courses) in a manner that is distributed across the following fields:
1. Two courses from the MEIS history list
2. One course from the MEIS literature list
3. One course from the MEIS religion list
4. Two elective courses from the MEIS course list of the undergraduate's choosing
Students who wish to minor in Middle Eastern and Islamic studies must complete either (1) at least four non-language courses (16 points), including one of the core courses listed above; the courses must be offered or cross-listed by MEIS and approved by the director of undergraduate studies or their MEIS adviser, or (2) four courses (16 points) in Arabic, Persian, or Turkish, provided that these courses are not also used to satisfy the CAS foreign language requirement.
After consultation with the director of undergraduate studies, transfer students may be allowed to apply up to two transfer courses (8 points) toward the minor.
Awards for Excellence in Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies
- The Rumi-Biruni Prize, for excellence in Persian studies
- The Ibn Khaldun Prize, for excellence in Arabic studies
- The Evliya Chelebi Prize, for excellence in Turkish studies
- The Premchand Prize, for excellence in Hindi and Urdu studies
Internship ProgramMEIS majors may, with permission of the director of undergraduate studies, pursue an internship for 2 or 4 points (MEIS-UA 980, 981). The application form is available at
EligibilityAny student majoring in the department who has spent at least two full years in residence at the College of Arts and Science, who has completed at least 60 points of graded work in the College, and has a cumulative GPA of 3.65 and a major GPA of 3.65.
Requirements(1) Complete all major requirements
(2) Complete at least two graduate-level courses with a GPA of 3.0 (these courses may be used to complete part of the major requirements)
(3) Earn no grade lower than a C in a Middle Eastern and Islamic studies course; and (4) Write an honors paper of 50 to 60 double-spaced, typed pages under the supervision of an MEIS faculty member, for which up to 4 points of independent study credit may be awarded (MEIS-UA 997, 998). The subject of the honors paper and the faculty supervisor will be chosen in consultation with the director of undergraduate studies.