Dec 03, 2022  
USC Catalogue 2018-2019 
USC Catalogue 2018-2019 [ARCHIVED CATALOGUE]

Middle East Studies (BA)

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This major is an interdisciplinary degree that draws on courses from classics, comparative literature, economics, French, history, international relations, Judaic studies, political science and religion. It offers 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 will allow students to tailor their choices to a range of possible emphases.

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 of Middle East Studies 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 MDES language faculty), from study abroad, or through successfully completing the level IV Arabic (ARAB 252 ), Hebrew (HEBR 315 ) or Persian (IRAN 250 ) courses at USC.

II. Required Courses

All students must take the following two courses.

III. Concentration I

Students must choose one course from this concentration.

V. Elective Courses

Students must also take four upper-division courses, chosen from the list below. Students who place out of the requirement to take ARAB 252 , HEBR 315  or IRAN 250  must take five elective courses. Departmental permission is required should a student want to apply more than three foreign language courses toward the major.


Concentration I and II courses may not be double counted as elective courses.

Honors Program

Candidates for the BA in Middle East Studies may receive a designation on their transcripts of departmental honors. 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 HIST 180 ; 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 MDES undergraduate faculty adviser. Prior approval of the thesis adviser and/or department chair 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 department approval, substitute MDES 490  (independent study) as constituting an honors seminar equivalent.

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