Oct 05, 2022  
USC Catalogue 2022-2023 
    
USC Catalogue 2022-2023

Middle East Studies (BA)


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This major is an interdisciplinary degree with an emphasis on the pressing problems of globalization and the environment of the peoples, cultures, and societies of the Middle East. Its courses offer students interested in exploring the richness and complexity of the Middle East, broadly defined as extending from Morocco through Iran, a framework for developing both expertise and wide-ranging critical perspectives on the region’s past, present and future. The variety of courses allows students to build on their firm grounding in at least one of the region’s languages and pursue their research interests in their capstone projects. It offers a concentration in Iranian Studies for those who would like to deepen their knowledge in the field.

Learning Objectives for the Middle East Studies Major:

  1. Offer foundational knowledge of the geography, cultures and history of the Middle East and North Africa.
  2. Provide option to pursue concentration in Iranian Studies.
  3. Offer rigorous training in a range of social science and humanities approaches from history, economics, political science, geography, and international relations to literary and cultural criticism.
  4. Develop critical thinking skills that enable the student to place recent and current regional events in context.
  5. Enhance students’ ability to question non-scholarly accounts of the region’s past and present. 
  6. Deliver firm grounding in at least one of the region’s languages: fourth semester proficiency in Arabic, Hebrew or Persian.
  7. Train students to conduct informed research on the Middle East and/or Iran.

Nine total courses are required for the major. No more than two courses may be counted toward this major and another major. Students participating in USC Overseas Studies programs should contact the department to discuss course selection for the major. Students must meet with a faculty mentor from the department upon declaring a major in Middle East Studies.

I. Language


All MDES majors must demonstrate fourth semester competency in a Middle Eastern language. This can be achieved through placement, transfer credits from other institutions (subject to approval by the MDES Curriculum Committee), from study abroad, or through successfully completing the level IV Arabic (ARAB 252 ), Hebrew (HEBR 315 ) or Persian (IRAN 250 ) courses at USC. Students who place out of the requirement to take ARAB 252 , HEBR 315  or IRAN 250  must take an additional elective course.

II. Required Course - Lower Division


All students must take one of the following two courses.

III. Required Courses - Upper Division


All students must take the following two courses.

VI. Elective Courses


Students must also take one upper-division course, chosen from the list below. Students who place out of the requirement to take ARAB 252 , HEBR 315  or IRAN 250  must take two elective courses.

Note:


Concentration I and II courses may not be double counted as elective courses. MDES 490  and MDES 492  may only be taken by departmental approval.

Iranian Studies Concentration


I. Language


Students wishing to pursue an Iranian Studies concentration must demonstrate fourth-semester proficiency in the Persian language. This can be achieved through placement, transfer credits (subject to approval), from study abroad, or through successfully completing the level IV Persian (IRAN 250 ) course at USC. Students who place out of the requirement to take IRAN 250  must take an additional elective course.

II. Orientation Courses


All students must take the following courses:

III. Required Upper Division


All students must take the following course:

VI. Capstone Project


Students must take the following course. After taking at least one upper-level course, students are required to produce a substantial piece of original and informed research employing sources in the Persian language. 

Honors Program


Candidates for the BA in Middle East Studies may receive a designation on their transcripts of departmental honors.

Students interested in pursuing MDES’s honors track should begin planning for this by the start of the fourth or fifth semester. This means that before your senior year, you will have already taken an MDES course in which you have written a substantial research paper.

Admission to the honors program is required.

Prerequisites: 3.33 overall GPA; 3.5 GPA or better in courses in the major; a minimum grade of B+ in MDES 301g ; completion of at least one upper-level MDES course (400 level) requiring a seminar paper at the time of admission; and submission of an application form to the department’s Director of Undergraduate Studies (DUS). Prior approval of the thesis adviser and/or DUS is required for any modification of these requirements.

Required for departmental honors: The student must maintain the GPA requirements stated above and successfully complete the MDES 492  Honors Thesis. In semesters when MDES 492  is not offered, students may, with program approval, substitute MDES 490  (independent study) as constituting an honors seminar equivalent.

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