FAQ for Undergraduate

Major and Minor in Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies (MEIS):

Frequently Asked Questions

Updated: June 2014


Note: DUGS = Director of Undergraduate Studies


1) How do I declare a major or minor?

First, read over the requirements: click here

Next see the department administrator, who will provide you with a form that you must fill out and then you will be entered into the system. The office is on the second floor of the Kevorkian Building (255 Sullivan Street) on the corner of Sullivan Street and Washington Square South.

2) How am I cleared for registration?

Before the registration period, you must see the DUGS for one of your majors to be cleared. If you have two majors, you can be cleared by either DUGS. If you are an MEIS minor, you do not need to be cleared by the MEIS DUGS. It is always good to discuss your plans for upcoming semesters with the MEIS DUGS to ensure that you are in good standing to graduate with a major or minor in MEIS.

3) Can I study abroad?

Yes. Note that you have the option to study at one of the many NYU global campuses (e.g. Abu Dhabi or Tel Aviv) or at a non-NYU program. For NYU programs see: http://www.nyu.edu/global/global-academic-centers1.html

For non-NYU programs you must do your own research or see the DUGS or your language instructors for suggestions. NOTE: For non-NYU programs, you also must also receive permission from the College of Arts and Sciences before you go abroad, this will ensure that your credits will transfer to NYU. Currently you may see Dean Kalb for the relevant forms and clearance.

4) What level language course should I take?

Students typically begin with Elementary I. However, if you have already studied the given language, you may take a placement exam to see if you can place into a higher level. For Arabic, consult with Prof. Ahmed Ferhadi (af3@nyu.edu). He typically holds placement exams on the first Friday of the semester (i.e. in September or January). These are the only opportunities to take the placement exam, so contact him ASAP. For Turkish see Prof. Sibel Erol (sibel.erol@nyu.edu), for Persian contact Prof. Mehdi Khorrami (mmk4@nyu.edu), for Hindi contact Prof. Gabriela Ilieva (gni1@nyu.edu), and for Urdu contact Prof. Tahira Nagvi (tn9@nyu.edu). For additional information on the language programs, see Language Programs.

5) Can I take independent studies?

Yes, but only if a faculty member is willing to supervise the independent study. Please note that you must fill out the form on this webpage: Forms

6) Can CCC courses count towards the major or minor?

Yes, if the course is taken with one of the faculty at MEIS, you may count it towards the major. Often they count as a history course, but sometimes they may count as a religion course.

7) Can I receive course credit for an internship?

Yes, if a student is doing an unpaid internship during the school year or the summer and it is related to some aspect of the Middle East studies, the DUGS may approve the internship for course credit counting towards the major or minor. Please see the form for internships, for additional information: Forms

8) Can I study Hindi or Urdu as part of an MEIS major or minor?

You may study Hindi or Urdu as your language for the MEIS major.  However, note that the only languages that can count for the MEIS language minor(4 courses in a single language) are Arabic, Persian, and Turkish.  If you want to study Hindi or Urdu for a minor, you must do a South Asia Minor.  You should consult the following webpage: Minor in South Asian Studies

9) What should I do to ensure my major and minor is complete for graduation?

You should meets with the DUGS 1-2 semesters before graduation to ensure that you have completed all your requirements.  Other than that, the DUGS will ensure that the registrar's office (and Albert) is informed that you have completed the requirements of the major or minor.

10) Can I study abroad?

Yes, students are allowed to study abroad either at non-NYU programs or NYU sites.  For information on non-NYU programs talk to the DUGS or your professors for advice.  To study within NYU's Global Network University system, we recommend the Arab Crossroads program at NYU-Abu Dhabi ( http://nyuad.nyu.edu/en/academics/undergraduate-programs/majors/arab-crossroads.html

11) Who shall I see if I have additional questions?

You should contact the DUGS. 


FAQs for Majors:


1) How many courses do I need for the major?

All students must take at least 10 courses to earn a major. 

2) What are the distribution fields?

All majors must take two "core courses" among their six non-language courses.  It is recommended that students take these courses before they take seminars and topics courses. Core courses are as follows:

1. MEIS-UA 690: The Emergence of the Modern Middle East

2. MEIS-UA 697: Palestine, Zionism, and Israel

3. MEIS-UA 728: Women and Gender in Islam

4. MEIS-UA 711: Literature and Society in the Middle East

5. MEIS-UA 750: Middle East Politics

*The department may choose to designate additional courses as core courses and will announce them accordingly.

One Topics/Seminar Course

Also, among the six non-language courses, all majors must take at least one advanced undergraduate seminar; MEIS often offers these under the "topics" rubric (e.g. MEIS-UA 688: Topics in Middle East History).  Also, with the permission of the instructor, this requirement may be fulfilled with a graduate seminar.

Distribution fields

All majors must take these six non-language courses (including the core and topics courses) in a manner that is distributed across the following fields:

1. Two courses from the MEIS history list 

2. One course from the MEIS literature list 

3. One course from the MEIS religion list 

4. Two elective courses from the MEIS course list of the undergraduate's choosing   The distribution of the courses is typically 4 language courses in a single language (i.e. from Elementary I to intermediate II) and 6 non-language courses.

NOTE: The non-language courses you take must satisfy the distribution requirements (click here).


3) How can I work towards getting honors?

Beginning in the third year, students who are earning top grades and are motivated to work on an independent project should consider working towards honors. The requirements for honors are as follows: http://meis.as.nyu.edu/object/meis.honors

Students should consult with the DUGS as well as potential faculty that can advise them on their research interests.

4) What is a “topics” course?

Majors must take at least one “topics” course among their 10 courses. These are seminars that typically meet once a week, are small (less than 15 students), and are designed for more advanced students. Some topics courses have “topics” in their title, but some do not. Consult with the DUGS if you have any questions. Typically students take these topics courses in their junior or senior year. Graduate seminars often count as topics courses. Advanced language courses may also count towards topics courses.

5) Can I count a course from another major towards my MEIS major?

MEIS allows students to count only 1 course that is already being used for another major or minor. IMPORTANT: Students should consult with their advisor in their other major as well to ensure that double counting is allowed in their other major or minor.


FAQs for Minors:

1) How many courses do I need for the minor?

All minors must take 4 courses to earn a minor. These 4 courses may be either 4 language courses or 4 non-language courses.

2)  What are the requirements for the non-language minor?

Please review our new requirements by clicking here.

3) What are the requirements for the language minor?

Language minors must take four courses (16 points) in Arabic, Persian, or Turkish, provided that these courses are not also used to satisfy the CAS foreign language requirement. 


4) Can I combine language and non-language courses for the minor?


No!!!  You must take 4 non-language OR 4 language courses to complete one of the two minors.   You can not, for instance, take 3 language course and 1 history courses.