M.A. Program

We offer an M.A. program in modern Middle Eastern Studies and joint M.A. programs that combine the study of the Middle East with Journalism, Museum Studies, Library Science and Business. We cooperate closely with the Department of Middle Eastern Studies, which offers a separate program of study leading to the Ph.D. degree.

Our program focuses on the contemporary political economy and cultures of the region and the historical processes that have shaped the present. Courses cover modern history and politics, as well as specialized topics that reflect areas of faculty research. These areas currently include: questions of economic and political rights, law and society, gender politics, Arabic fiction writing, Iranian literary culture, the anthropology of Arab cities, Ottoman and Arab state formation, Egyptian social history, and modern Iran and Central Asia. Courses are also available on pre-modern Islamic history, literature, and philosophy, and on the ancient Near East.

We pay special attention to language training, with state-of-the-art instruction in Arabic, Persian, Hebrew, and Turkish, as well as Hindi/Urdu and ancient Near Eastern languages. Many students also take intensive summer language programs in the U.S. or abroad.

Our M.A. program is designed for

  • Those thinking of entering a Ph.D. program but wanting first to explore different disciplines or advance their knowledge of the region and its languages
  • Those planning a career in fields such as journalism, public service, cultural organizations, human rights, or political advocacy and seeking to understand the region's politics and history and to engage with questions of culture, social transformation, and economic justice.


The MA program in Near Eastern Studies has three elements:

  • A coherent sequence of courses on the region, totaling 40 credit points
  • A demonstrated ability in one modern language of the area
  • A master's thesis or report written under the supervision of an adviser

The program includes an optional internship course. The degree is normally completed within two years (four semesters) of full-time study.

Language Requirement:

To complete the degree, you must demonstrate proficiency at the upper-intermediate level in Arabic, Hebrew, Persian, or Turkish. (Other languages may be considered as meeting this requirement with approval of the director of the DGS.) Those with no language background can satisfy the requirement by completing four semesters (16 credit points) of language training at NYU; however, only two of those semesters (8 undergraduate language credits) can be counted as points towards the degree. Students who have prior language training or who take an intensive language course in the summer of their first year can meet the requirement by testing at an intermediate level of proficiency, or by enrolling in and completing an advanced class. Native speakers with fluency in reading, writing, listening, and speaking may waive this requirement with the permission of the DGS.

Master's Thesis or Report:

For a list of recent/past Master's Thesis topics, click here.