The MA in Near Eastern Studies has three elements:
- A coherent sequence of courses on the region
- A demonstrated ability in one modern language of the area
- A master's thesis or report written under the supervision of an adviser
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 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 article in a scholarly journal. Alternatively, with the approval of your thesis advisor, it could have the format and style of a substantial professional report, of the kind that might be commissioned by an NGO or international organization, or a creative project such as a film. In either case, it must present your own research and analysis and relate them to existing scholarly and/or professional understandings of the topic.
You should begin thinking about possible topics for your thesis during your first year in the master's program. We encourage you to take courses offered by faculty who may be able to work with you on your thesis or who may be able to suggest research areas or topics. When you meet with the Director of Graduate Studies (DGS) toward the end of the spring term of your first year to discuss fall courses, you should discuss possible thesis ideas. You should try to use the summer between your first and second years in the program to develop your thesis topic and, if possible, conduct preliminary research.
In the fall semester of your second year you must define your thesis topic and, in consultation with the DGS, select a faculty thesis advisor as well as a second reader. As early in the semester as possible you should develop, in consultation with your thesis advisor, a brief proposal discussing your research project, how it relates to the existing literature on the topic, and the sources or materials you plan to work with, including a bibliography. When your proposal is approved by your advisor – in any case no later than the end of the fall semester – you must submit to the DGS a copy of your proposal as well as a thesis proposal approval form to be signed by your advisor and your second reader; this form will also serve as confirmation that your advisor and second reader are willing to work with you on your thesis.
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 2997. They must submit weekly progress reports on their internship project as well as mid- and end-of-semester reports.