Skip to main content

Mid-Eastern Studies Minor

Photo: Hagia Sophia and Sultan Ahmed Mosque. Istanbul, Turkey. Attribution: Julian Nitzsche via Wikimedia Commons

The contemporary Middle East encompasses at least seventeen countries bounded by Iran in the East and Egypt in the West. This multi-ethnic region is populated by communities speaking five major languages: Hebrew, Arabic, Persian, Kurdish and Turkish.

The Middle East has been a region of global importance since the dawn of history. The world’s oldest civilizations of the Mesopotamia and ancient Egypt thrived here; Christianity, Judaism, and Islam emerged from this region; and the philosophical and scientific achievements of Middle Easterners during the Middle Ages enabled early European learning. With the rise of modern Western empires, imperial conquests and colonialism, the complexity of the region’s relationship with the West deepened. The discovery of oil in the 20th century opened important avenues, and situated the Middle East as a vital player in the modern world economy and global politics. Post-9/11, the Middle East has again become a region of strategic importance to the US. These significant historical, cultural, political, and economic factors have resulted in a mushrooming of academic and professional opportunities that require expertise in the Middle East.

Why Middle Eastern Studies?
    • Jobs: The State Department is eager to hire Middle East experts. The military is impressed by new recruits that know about the Middle East. The United Nations, the Peace Corps and the Foreign Office prefer candidates with degrees that testify to their knowledge of other regions and cultures.
    • Free money and free education: The US Government offers multiple scholarships for language training and study abroad in the Middle East.
    • Emerging Markets and Rapid Economic Growth: Qatar’s per capita GDP is 250% that of the United States. The per capita GDP of other Gulf states also far suprasses that of the US. The growing financial market of the oil-rich Gulf are constantly attracting well-qualified foreigners with cultural competence in the Middle East. The next new hire could be you!