European and Mediterranean Studies (BA)

Department Website

Program Description

The Center for European and Mediterranean Studies (CEMS) offers an interdisciplinary major and minor focusing on patterns of contemporary politics, culture, and society or recent history in Europe and the Mediterranean region. Majors may elect to write a senior honors thesis where they work one-on-one with a CEMS faculty member to conduct research. Advanced knowledge of a European language and a semester of study in one of NYU’s European sites are required of all majors to help ensure a deeper understanding of a particular country in the European or Mediterranean region. The minor is open to all students, and is especially suited to majors in European languages, history, or the social sciences.

CEMS offers and supports a wide array of activities, including lectures, workshops, and conferences dealing with both Western and Eastern Europe and the Mediterranean region. Both the major and minor are designed for students seeking pre-professional training for careers in international business and finance, diplomacy, international law, and cultural organizations focusing on Europe and the Mediterranean. Alumni have also pursued graduate and PhD studies in a variety of fields, as well as legal education.

General Information

With the guidance of the European and Mediterranean studies adviser, students prepare a preliminary program outline at the time they declare their major. Although there are no formal tracks, courses are normally organized around the interests of a student in one of two ways:

  • an emphasis on European and Mediterranean societies (past and present)—their challenges and policies;
  • or an emphasis on European and Mediterranean cultures (past and present)—their ideas, values, and artistic and literary trends.

The program enables students to organize their courses around a practical or theoretical challenge in contemporary or historical European society or culture that is applicable to one or several countries. Examples of such challenges include: the changing impact of politics on culture and social cleavages; changing patterns of religious expression in Europe; literary expression and social change in Europe; the European approach to urban problems; migration and ethnicity in Europe; equality and inequality in Europe; democratic transition in Europe; and European approaches to the environment. For honors track students, the challenge will serve as the basis for the senior honors thesis.

Honors Program

A degree in European and Mediterranean studies with honors is awarded to students who complete the nine courses (36 credits) in the Program of Study, who maintain a GPA of 3.65 (both overall and in the major), and who successfully complete original research leading to an honors thesis. The honors thesis, which counts as the tenth course for the major (40 credits total), is researched and written while registered in EURO-UA 998 Independent Study during the spring semester of the student’s senior year under the supervision of a program faculty member. The thesis topic and the faculty adviser are first chosen in consultation with the instructor of the advanced seminar EURO-UA 950 Contemporary Europe, taken during the fall semester of the student’s senior year. The average length of the thesis is 40-60 pages.

BA/MA Program

This program offers qualifying majors in European and Mediterranean studies the opportunity to earn both the BA and the MA degrees at reduced tuition cost. By completing some of their graduate requirements while still undergraduates, students can finish the program in five years.

Majors may apply for admission to the program after they have completed at least 48 credits in the College, but not more than 96 credits or six semesters. Applications are reviewed by the Graduate Admission Committee of the Center for European and Mediterranean Studies using the normal criteria for the MA program, except that applicants are not required to take the GRE. The committee bases its decision on students' undergraduate records and recommendations of NYU instructors.

Eight graduate courses are required. For majors who completed the honors program, the master's thesis may be a revision of the senior honors thesis.


New York University's Office of Undergraduate Admissions supports the application process for all undergraduate programs at NYU.  For additional information about undergraduate admissions, including application requirements, see How to Apply