George Mason’s program in Middle East and Islamic Studies (MEIS) equips students with the tools and analytical skills for understanding major issues and debates in the study of the Middle East, Islam, and Muslim societies. Students study historical and contemporary aspects of society, economy, politics, and culture from both regional and global perspectives—with a strong emphasis on theory and methodology.
Students develop an understanding of the diverse dynamics and complex forces that shape modern Middle East realities. Going beyond security concerns, the program emphasizes the need for an understanding of the region’s history as a foundation for further in-depth inquiry.
Today, more than ever before, the politics of the Middle East play a significant role in America’s activities at home and abroad. The interdisciplinary Middle East and Islamic Studies Program at George Mason provides students with a firm grounding in the history, politics, and culture of this important region.
Under the guidance of internationally recognized faculty, students develop an understanding of the diverse dynamics and complex forces that shape modern Middle East realities. The courses are supplemented by a variety of events, community activities, and study abroad opportunities. The program reflects the vast diversity of this region that includes the Arab world, Israel, Iran, and Turkey.
The Middle East and Islamic Studies Program does not simply imitate existing programs that have proliferated throughout the United States in the past few years. Going beyond security concerns, Mason’s program emphasizes the need for an understanding of the region’s history as a foundation for further in-depth inquiry. It situates the Middle East within a globalized world by exposing students to such topics as the Internet, satellite TV and the new media, and the political economy of business-government networks.
Students have the opportunity to examine new Middle East diasporas and transnational communities in the West, as well as the role of the Middle East in a changing geopolitical environment marked by the rise of China, India, and the re-emergence of Russia.
Middle East and Islamic Studies Programs
The interdisciplinary MA in Middle East and Islamic Studies offered by the College of Humanities and Social Sciences introduces students to the major issues and debates in the study of the Middle East, Islam and Muslim societies. Students study historical and contemporary topics--as well as theory and methodology--from both regional and global perspectives.
The express goal of this program is to situate the study of the Middle East and Islam within a globalized world. Accordingly, the curriculum covers topics of recent scholarly significance including the Arab Uprisings and transitions in the Middle East, new media, political Islam, the political economy of the Middle East, the relationship between “resource wars” and the “war on terrorism,” new diasporas and transnational Muslim communities in the ‘West,’ and the changed geopolitical environments of Muslim and Middle Eastern countries.
Highly qualified undergraduates in pursuing a BA in select majors may apply to the accelerated master’s degree in Middle East and Islamic studies. This interdisciplinary graduate degree prepares students for a variety of post-graduate opportunities in academia, government, and an expanding job market for people with this expertise.
The College of Humanities and Social Sciences offers a minor in Islamic Studies designed for students interested in the societies, cultures, history, and politics of the Islamic world. It offers students the opportunity to study the many societies that have significant Muslim populations. These societies are not just in the Middle East. They stretch from North Africa to Southeast Asia and beyond. They include Europe as well as North America.
Today, more than ever before, Middle East politics has become intertwined with American politics and the lives of many Americans. The minor in Middle East studies is designed to equip undergraduates with a firm multidisciplinary grounding in the region, its history, and its international relations.