The program has three elements: (1) a coherent sequence of courses on the region, totaling 32 points; (2) a demonstrated ability in one modern language of the area; and (3) a master’s thesis or report (or other project developed in consultation with the Director of Graduate Studies) written under the supervision of an adviser. The program includes an optional internship course. The degree is typically completed in two years (four semesters) of full-time study; students may also, with the approval of the Director of Graduate Studies, complete the program on a faster and more intensive timeline, or they may study part-time.
Course of Study: The 32 points of coursework include two required courses, Problems and Methods in Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies, MEIS-GA 1687, and History of the Middle East, 1750-Present, MEIS-GA 1642, and a distribution requirement. The distribution requirement consists of at least one course each from two disciplines other than history, such as, but not limited to, anthropology, comparative literature, economics, media studies, politics, or sociology. With the approval of the Director of Graduate Studies, an advanced history seminar may be substituted for MEIS-GA 1642. Students select the remaining four courses (16 points) according to their individual research interests, in consultation with the Director of Graduate Studies.
Language Requirement: To complete the degree, students must demonstrate proficiency at the upper-intermediate level in Arabic, Hebrew, Persian, or Turkish. (Other languages may be considered as meeting this requirement with the approval of the Director of Graduate Studies.) Students with no language background may satisfy the requirement by completing four semesters (16 points) of language training at NYU. While undergraduate language courses (beginning and intermediate levels) will often be necessary to complete the degree, their credits will not count toward the 32-point MA requirement. Students who have prior language training or who take an intensive language course in the summer following their first year may satisfy the requirement by testing at an upper intermediate level of proficiency or by enrolling in an advanced class. Native speakers with fluency in reading, writing, listening, and speaking may waive this requirement with the permission of the Director of Graduate Studies. The program encourages all students to pursue language training through the advanced (graduate) level and graduate-level advanced language courses are available in Arabic, Hebrew, Persian, or Turkish.
Master’s Thesis or Report: The master’s thesis should generally have the format, style, and length of a substantial scholarly article in a Middle Eastern studies field. Alternatively, it can have the format and style of a professional report, with a length and substance similar to a scholarly article. In either case, it must present the author’s own research and relate this to existing scholarly understandings of the topic or field. Other final projects can be devised according to a students’ professional ambitions, with approval of the DGS. Students should begin discussing possible topics for the thesis or report by the end of their first year and should select a topic and an adviser, in consultation with the Director of Graduate Studies, before the end of their third semester. Students are encouraged to conduct research on their topic during the summer following their first year.
Internships: The internship program draws on the resources of New York City as a center of international politics and culture. Internships provide practical training in the kinds of research and report writing required for careers in public and nongovernmental service, policy research, cultural affairs, and political advocacy. The internship program enables students to make professional contacts in fields they are interested in joining and to share their skills with organizations as they explore a particular field or issue. Organizations providing internships include (but are not limited to) human rights organizations, United Nations agencies and missions, media organizations, policy research groups, and other nongovernmental organizations. The internship involves 10-15 hours of work per week during one semester. Students receive up to 4 points toward the degree by registering for Internship, NEST-GA 2996. They must submit weekly progress reports on their internship project as well as mid- and end-of-semester reports.
Concentration in Advanced Language Proficiency: The Master of Arts program in Near Eastern Studies with a concentration in Advanced Language Proficiency allows students room in their plan of study to pursue 8 additional graduate-level language credits toward their degree, thereby encouraging advanced and literary proficiency in a Middle Eastern language. Students must complete 40 points of graduate coursework, 32 points of Near Eastern studies as noted above plus 8 additional points of graduate level language or literature courses.
Concentration in Museum Studies: The Master of Arts program in Near Eastern studies with a concentration in museum studies is designed for those who intend to pursue careers in museums and cultural organizations and for those currently employed in the field who wish to acquire formal training. Students must complete 40 points of coursework, 24 points of Near Eastern studies (including ths same two required courses and distribution requirement as above) and 16 points of museum studies courses. Students must complete two of: History and Theory of Museums, MSMS-GA 1500, Museum Collections and Exhibitions, MSMS-GA 1501, and Museum Management, MSMS-GA 1502. Students must also complete 8 points of museum studies electives. In addition to the courses, students choosing the concentration must complete a full summer internship in a museum or cultural institution (non-credit). All other requirements are the same as in the general M.A.
Concentration in International Relations: The Master of Arts program in Near Eastern Studies with a concentration in International relations prepares students for careers as professionals, practitioners, and scholars in the field of international relations; the concentration is designed to train students as Middle East area specialists for future work in government service, think tanks, multilateral organizations, private corporations, consulting firms, or non-governmental organizations. Students must complete 40 points of graduate coursework, 24 points of Near Eastern studies (including ths same two required courses and distribution requirement as above), and 16 points of international relations courses, including International Relations, INTRL-GA 1700, Global and International History, INTRL-GA 1600, and 8 points of international relations electives. All other requirements are the same as in the general M.A.