The Master of Arts in North African and Middle Eastern Studies (NAMES) offers an intensive study of social sciences and humanities courses focusing on North Africa and the Middle East combined with an equally intensive study of Modern Standard Arabic. The course also includes the opportunity for direct contact with the realities of the field and with social actors and stakeholders. The program takes advantage of the school’s faculty expertise in the region, as well as their experience in teaching diverse student bodies. The program is intended to address the needs of students who want to become specialists in this region by learning about its culture, history, economy, and politics. Students come from different academic backgrounds, including International Studies, International Relations, Political Science, Anthropology, Economics, Sociology, Mediterranean Studies, and Middle Eastern Studies.
Intended Learning Outcomes
Graduates of the NAMES program are expected to (1) demonstrate knowledge of the history and society (including religions) of the NAME region; (2) be able to analyze critically contemporary issues in the region using social science theories and methods; (3) be able to write critically and analytically on issues of the region; (4) be able to critically read materials on the region and assess the theoretical orientation of the author; and (5) be able to read, write, and speak Arabic to the minimum level of completion of Intermediate Arabic II.
All candidates must submit formal applications to the University. Preselected applicants will be invited to take an oral interview (distance interviews can be arranged upon request). Selection criteria include a BA degree with a GPA of 3.0 or equivalent. Non-native speakers of English or those who do not have a degree from an English medium university are required to have a minimum TOEFL score of 550 (or equivalent) for full-time enrollment in the program; applicants with scores between 500 and 549 may enroll in the AUI Language Center on either a full time or part-time basis. During their English language training, they cannot take any content courses, but may, if they so desire, take Arabic language courses. Ideally, candidates should also have one year of Arabic language study. Students who do not meet this requirement (based on an AUI’s Arabic placement test) may take the intensive Beginning Arabic 1 and 2 during the Arabic and North African Studies (ARANAS) summer program preceding the beginning of the NAMES program, which should bring them to the level required.
The normal duration of the program is two full-time semesters. A minimum of 30 graduate credit hours is required for graduation. In addition, students have to submit and defend a Master’s thesis.
After admission decisions are made, the admissions committee will evaluate each candidate’s academic record to determine which, if any, undergraduate foundation courses the student will take. These courses may be taken online. The procedures for seeking exemptions to assigned foundation courses are explained in the SHSS Graduate Student Handbook.
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