Middle Eastern Studies

The Middle Eastern studies concentration introduces students to the study of the diverse, culturally rich, and increasingly complex part of the world that currently includes the Arab world, Iran, Israel, and Turkey, recognizing the interconnectedness of peoples and cultures and locating their significance in wider global contexts. The concentration facilitates the interdisciplinary study of the Middle East, encouraging students to combine courses in sociology/anthropology, religion, history, and political science, among other disciplines.


The concentration in Middle Eastern studies provides students with the opportunity to study the ways in which members of Middle Eastern cultures have understood and interpreted the world, as well as the way in which others have interpreted the Middle East. As students explore the experiences, values, intellectual and artistic achievements, and social and cultural processes that make up the Middle Eastern cultures, they gain a fuller understanding of the significance of these communities’ contribution to the larger world.



The Middle Eastern studies concentration requires a minimum of five courses. Courses must deal in a significant and disciplined manner with one or more aspects of Middle Eastern culture or history. At least one course must be taken on campus. Typically, courses taken on the Term in the Middle East and a course on Global Semester count toward the concentration. Many courses offered by relevant departments at the American University of Cairo and Bogazici University, among other semester abroad destinations, count toward the concentration.

Courses taken abroad should be certified by the director of the Middle Eastern Studies Concentration as fulfilling the appropriate course requirements.


Students are strongly encouraged to take advantage of the many opportunities to study in the Middle East through St. Olaf international programs, including: Global Semester, Term in the Middle East, the ACM Semester in Middle Eastern and Arabic Language Studies in Amman (Jordan), Semester at Bogazici University (Istanbul, Turkey), or Semester at American University in Cairo (Egypt).