Middle Eastern Studies (BA)

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Program Description

The Department of Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies (MEIS) focuses on the past and present of a vast and culturally diverse region of the world that extends from North Africa to Central Asia and from the Mediterranean to the Indian Ocean. It adopts interdisciplinary and comparative approaches to Middle Eastern societies from antiquity to the present, with particular focus on the period after the emergence of Islam.

A Middle Eastern Studies major offers students the opportunity to master one of the regional languages, including Arabic, Hindi, Persian, Turkish, and Urdu. Students also acquire an interdisciplinary understanding of this pivotal area of the world by studying with the department’s specialists in history, anthropology, political science, literature, law, religious studies, and language.

In addition to the courses listed, students are encouraged to select cross-listed courses in other departments and programs that complement the department’s offerings, such as anthropology, art history, comparative literature, Hebrew and Judaic studies, history, politics, religious studies, and sociology.

Honors Program

Any student majoring in the department who has spent at least two full years in residence at the College of Arts and Science, has completed at least 60 credits of graded work in the College, and has both a cumulative and a major GPA of 3.65 may apply to pursue honors in the Middle Eastern Studies major. The requirements are:

  • Complete all major requirements.
  • Complete at least two graduate-level courses with a GPA of 3.0 (these courses may be used to satisfy part of the major requirements); students are encouraged to complete the interdepartmental Honors Thesis Seminar when offered.
  • Write an honors thesis of 50 to 60 double-spaced, typed pages under the supervision of an MEIS faculty member, for which up to 4 credits of independent study credit may be awarded (MEIS-UA 997 Independent Study, MEIS-UA 998 Independent Study). The subject of the honors thesis and the faculty supervisor are chosen in consultation with the director of undergraduate studies.


The department offers the following awards for excellence:

  • The Baba-e-Urdu Prize, for excellence in Urdu studies
  • The Rumi-Biruni Prize, for excellence in Persian studies
  • The Evliya Chelebi Prize, for excellence in Turkish studies
  • The Ibn Khaldun Prize, for excellence in Arabic studies
  • The Premchand Prize, for excellence in Hindi studies
  • The Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies Prize, presented to a graduating senior in the honors program
  • The Jordan Curley Memorial Writing Prize


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