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Minor, Middle East Studies: Curriculum

The Middle East studies minor at Northwestern University in Qatar provides students with a critical understanding of this crucial region’s cultures, histories, societies, politics, intellectual contributions, and mediated representations.

The repertoire of course offerings also offers a foundational literacy of developments affecting the Middle East, defined for practical purposes as the region roughly bounded by Egypt, Turkey, Iran, and the Arabian Peninsula. But global issues essential for understanding the region, such as decolonization, orientalism, gender, or religious revival, frequently draw upon the study of themes and regions that do not always fit the Eurocentric mapping of the “Middle East.”

Note: Courses may not be offered every semester. It is important to consult early with your academic adviser to plan a course of study.

Requirements Overview

The minor requires six courses, which must meet the following requirements:

Core Courses

Core courses are those that offer a broad introduction to the Middle East and familiarize students with key academic themes involved in the study of Middle East societies. Core courses should be taken at NU-Q.


Elective courses are those that have 50 percent or more of course content related to the Middle East. Courses that are not listed below, whether taken at another university or newly created courses at NU-Q, would be subject to the Middle East Studies Committee approval.

Elective courses offered at NU-Q:

Independent Studies

Independent Studies taken with a professor with expertise in the field of Middle East studies may count as electives pending approval from the Middle East studies committee.

Language Courses

The minor encourages proficiency in Arabic language or another Middle East language (Persian or Turkish, for example), but does not require language training. NU-Q students desiring Arabic language coursework will find slots available at Georgetown University, Carnegie Mellon University, or the HBKU Translation and Interpretation Institute. Middle East language courses can only count for one qualifying elective courses. Native proficiency does not count, but content courses offered in Arabic (or another Middle East language), such as “Arabic for Media,” could count as an elective course pending committee approval.

Speaker Series

The Middle East Studies Committee will host an annual speaker series. The events will be open to the NU-Q community, and the wider public, and will highlight NU-Q’s critical engagement with the field. They will also help to build community among faculty and students studying the Middle East. Students who are receiving the ME Minor are asked to be present at such events, and may be asked to serve as public discussants or to introduce guest speakers.

Senior Portfolio

Beginning in the academic year 2017-2018, students will complete a portfolio that provides an overview of their course of study relating to Middle East studies. The portfolio should 1) find a way of thematically connecting course content, and the Middle East studies speaker series if applicable, 2) highlight notable projects in particular courses, and 3) explore possibilities of further inquiry in the field. The portfolio must contain substantive content of previous or ongoing work in the field of Middle East studies.

Students will present their portfolio to committee members and their student colleagues, normally during the spring of their senior year. Students should provide a draft of their portfolio to the Middle East studies chairperson two weeks in advance of their presentation. Student portfolio presentations may be open to the public.

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