MA Program in Middle Eastern Studies

The Center administers interdisciplinary Master’s degree programs featuring a core language and area studies curriculum supplemented by coursework from across the University’s divisions and professional schools. The two-year program plan enables students to benefit from the University’s singularly intensive approach to language pedagogy. With substantial scholarship assistance available - over 90% of second year students receive full tuition scholarship awards - the Master’s program in Middle Eastern Studies offers affordability in addition to rigor. The program also offers maximum flexibility for students to specialize in fields of their choice. Students work closely with faculty in a wide range of fields, including anthropology, political science, Islamic studies, literature, public policy, economics and business, history, theology, and philosophy. MA program alumni are successful in many professional fields and in gaining admission to top doctoral programs.

MA Program Degree Options

MA in Middle East Studies

This two-year program is specifically designed for students who wish to obtain a broad knowledge of the Middle East through intensive language study and maximum interdisciplinary flexibility. It allows the student to complete two years of intensive study in Arabic, Persian, Hebrew, or Turkish language or literature as well as languages of the ancient Near East including Ancient Egyptian, Akkadian, and Comparative Semitics. The interdisciplinary nature of the overall program allows for students to enroll through either the Division of the Social Sciences or the Division of the Humanities. For more information about the M.A. in Middle Eastern Studies program, please see the degree requirements page. 

Joint Program in Public Policy and Middle Eastern Studies

This dual degree program addresses the needs of students wishing to acquire a solid background in modern Middle Eastern languages, history, and civilization while developing their abilities in policy analysis in preparation for professional careers in scholarly, educational, governmental, non-governmental, and business environments in the United States and abroad. This program requires fourteen courses in the Center for Middle Eastern Studies and thirteen in the Harris School of Public Policy. Applicants for the joint program must apply to both the Harris School and the Division of the Social Sciences separately. Joint degree students cannot enroll through the Humanities Division; they must apply through the Social Sciences Division

Joint Program in Business Administration and Middle Eastern Studies

Benefiting from the combined strengths of the Center and the Graduate School of Business -- one of the finest business schools in the country -- this three-year program helps students gain a firm grasp of the languages, history, and social institutions of the Middle East while acquiring the basic skills for careers in international business. To apply for the joint M.A. in Middle Eastern Studies/Masters in Business Administration students must apply through the Chicago Booth School of Business.

Dual BA and MA Degree Program for University of Chicago Students

Students in the College may pursue the Master of Arts degree in Middle Eastern Studies leading to the award of a four-year undergraduate degree and a two-year graduate degree after five (5) years of studies at the University of Chicago. Undergraduate students who wish to complete concurrently the Bachelor of Arts and the Master of Arts degree in Middle Eastern Studies in five years should begin by discussing this option with the College BA/MA Adviser and with the BA Adviser in their major, followed by a conversation with the Deputy Director for Academic Programs of the Middle Eastern Studies.

The dual BA/MA is distinct from the 4+1 (UChicago Advanced Scholars) enrollment option. Students with questions should contact either or, depending on whether they are applying through the Humanities or Social Sciences Division.

Program Contacts

Director of the MA Program
Paul Walker (

Director of the Ancient Track MA Program
Brian Muhs (

Mustafa Kaya (

Carl Shook (

Kathryn Bandy (

For further information on the Center’s M.A. programs, see the Degree Requirements page or contact the Center for Middle Eastern Studies, Pick Hall 201, 5828 S. University Ave., Chicago, IL 60637; telephone: 773.702.8297.