Middle Eastern Studies Concentration

Designed for careers in international relations, diplomacy; nonprofits and NGOs; government, military, politics, and more


Middle Eastern Studies Concentration

This concentration allows students to gain in-depth knowledge of the Middle East and develop postgraduate expertise in the region's history, culture, and politics. Students not only engage in readings and discussions from a distance but also gain practical experience of studying abroad in the region. The concentration provides a foundation for careers in international relations/diplomacy; nonprofits and NGOs; government and think tanks; military; politics; journalism; law; and more.

Core Curriculum (3 courses)

  • IAS 5902 Global Political Turbulence
  • IAS 5912 Global Economic Turbulence
  • IAS 5922 Global Social Turbulence

Field of Concentration

  • International Security Studies
    • IAS 5433 International Relations in the Middle East
    • IAS 5453 Comparative Politics in the Middle East
    • IAS 5483 Minorities in the Middle East

Electives (1 course in the non-concentration field)

Area Studies (3 courses focusing across or within regions of the world)

  • Courses to be selected from a list maintained by the department. Examples include:
    • IAS 5153 Chinese Foreign Policy
    • IAS 5213 Politics of the European Uniony
    • IAS 5353 Latin American International Relations
    • IAS 5403 Humanitarianism and Africa

Global Affairs Practicum

  • IAS 5803 Global Affairs Practicumcy

Education Abroad Experience

  • Location and substantive focus varies summer to summer.

Course Descriptions

Global Political Turbulence
This is one of three core courses in the M.A. in Global Affairs program focused on aspects of global turbulence. The Global Political Turbulence course explores the sources, consequences, and implications of turbulence in the international political system. This will include nation-states, international organizations like the UN, and international nongovernmental organizations (NGOs). It will examine political turbulence in a global context, as well as turbulent affairs in each region of the world. We will concentrate on the political turbulence that characterizes global affairs today and will highlight turbulent relations in each region of the world.
Global Economic Turbulence
This is one of three core courses in the M.A. in Global Affairs program focused on aspects of global turbulence. The Global Economic Turbulence course explores the international economy, including international markets and international organizations like the IMF and the World Bank.
Global Social Turbulence
This is one of three core courses in the M.A. in Global Affairs program focused on aspects of global turbulence. This course examines the layered causes and consequences of social turbulence around the world. It explores how people on the ground interact with each other and the world around them. Additionally, students will study how people react to societal and environmental changes.
International Relations in the Middle East
This course surveys how the modern states of the region were constructed by the European powers and local authorities following the destruction of the Ottoman and Persian empires in WWI. Concentrates on two regional conflicts, the Arab-Israeli conflict, and the Gulf conflict, and discusses how policy could have been improved and what the U.S. should be doing in the Middle East today.
Comparative Politics in the Middle East
This course focuses on the historical issues of state formation and emergence of the modern Middle East; the contemporary question or persistent authoritarianism from social, economic, and political perspectives; and aspects of the U.S. involvement in the Middle East.
Minorities in the Middle East
This course will discover the Middle East's heterogeneity by examining the experiences and changing positions of minorities since the rise of Islam. Specific topics will include the non- Muslims in classical Islamic and Ottoman societies, the rise of nationalism, Kurds and other Muslim ethnic minorities, Jews, Drūzīs and other heterodox Muslim minorities, Middle Eastern Christians, and the Baha'is.
Chinese Foreign Policy
Provides a comprehensive introduction to Chinese foreign policy. Examines several key issues and concepts, including China's external relations prior to "Liberation" in 1949, international relations theory, the history of the PRC's foreign relations, and vital foreign policy issues confronting China in the 21st century.
Politics of the European Union
This course examines the historical process of European integration, the institutional structures of the EU, its global significance, and major areas of controversy such as economic and monetary union and free movement of people across borders.
Latin American International Relations
This course is a survey of Latin American international relations. The first third of the course surveys the history of the hemisphere’s international relations with an emphasis on U.S.-Latin American relations. The last two-thirds focus on post-Cold War issues in hemispheric affairs and adopts an interdisciplinary method. The course aims to impart a skill set appropriate for careers in international relations such as human rights lawyers, journalists, international engineers, NGO program managers, international fund managers, or diplomats at the Organization of American States.
Humanitarianism and Africa
The course explores the longstanding need of Westerners to "help" Africans, examines the historical basis of this particular mode of thought and how it has changed over time, and seeks to understand how Western humanitarian intervention shaped and, perhaps more important, was shaped by Africans.
Global Affairs Practicum
This course satisfies the practicum requirement for the M.A. degree in Global Affairs. All students are expected to engage in a research project resulting in a written document that examines, analyzes, and critiques a specific government or international policy. The paper should ultimately propose specific policy recommendations that are intended to be an improvement upon the current policy. The project may be conducted under the auspices of the Diplomacy Lab. The projects are intended to contribute to the policymaking process by offering relevant research on topics of interest to the U.S. State Department.