Graduate Program

Robert Hueckstedt

Director of Graduate Studies

137 New Cabell Hall
Office Hours: M/W 3:00 PM - 5:00 PM, F 4:00 PM - 5:00 PM
(434) 243-8228
rah2k@virginia.edu

 

MESALC’s multi-dicsiplinary MA degree is intended for students seeking graduate-level training in Middle Eastern or South Asian languages and an in-depth knowledge of the Middle East (including North Africa) or South Asia. It has been used by our students either as a stepping stone to a PhD program or as a way to acquire the necessary knowledge and skills for government or non-government work. Like our sister programs in East Asian Studies and European Studies, the MA program in Middle Eastern and South Asian Studies emphasizes language skills and cultural knowledge and sensitivity. We try to help students get to the point of being able to understand these parts of the world from the inside.

Students choose either the Middle East or South Asia as their regional focus, and Arabic, Hebrew, Hindi, Persian, Urdu, or Sanskrit as their regional language. Those accepted into the Middle East side of the program are required to enter with at least a second-year proficiency in Arabic, but students focusing on Persian or Hebrew may apply without previous language study. No previous language training is required for those accepted into the South Asia side of the program.

Students in Middle Eastern Studies will attain at least a third-year competency in Arabic or at least a two-year competency in Persian or Hebrew. Students in South Asian Studies will attain at least a second-year competency in Hindi, Urdu, or Sanskrit. Both Middle Eastern and South Asian Studies students will complete a total of 30 course credits, including nine graduate-level courses in their regional focus (27 credits in courses numbered 5000 or above, selected with the approval of the Director of Graduate Studies), and fulfill all the requirements for MESA 8995, a 3-credit research seminar (that students will normally take in the final semester of their program), including a thesis (on a topic determined in consultation with the Director of Graduate Studies). This degree is intended to take two years, but students may be able to complete it in less time, provided they are able to fulfill all the requirements. Students who study the full four semesters will have enough room in their schedules to fulfill the requirements for a certificate if desired. The areas in which such a certificate is possible are Africana Studies, American Studies, Digital Humanities, Environmental Humanities, and Gender and Sexuality Studies.

Admission Requirements

Applicants must satisfy the general admission requirements of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. For applicants concentrating in Middle Eastern Studies with Arabic as their language, two years of successful study at the college level in Arabic are required. For applicants concentrating in Middle Eastern Studies with Persian or Hebrew as their language, no previous study is required. For applicants concentrating in South Asian Studies no previous language study is required. In addition, acceptance into the MA program in MESALC will depend upon the applicant's undergraduate performance and promise of future success. If you are eligible to apply to the Bridge to the Doctorate program, which would provide some financial aid, you are encouraged to do so. See http://graduate.as.virginia.edu/bridge-doctorate.

Graduation Requirements

  • Successful completion of the second year of the student's chosen language (Persian, Hebrew, and South Asian languages) or successful completion of the third year of Arabic;
  • 27 credits from regional studies courses at the 5000-level or above to be selected with the approval of the Director of Graduate Studies and to satisfy the following distribution requirements (note that third-year Arabic language courses do not count toward these requirements nor do the first two years of study in any other language):
    • 3 credits from a course on the history of the region;
    • 3 credits from a course on religion in the region;
    • 3 credits from a course on the politics of the region; and
    • 3 credits from an upper-level literature course related to the region; and
    • 18 credits of further study of the language, the region or one's primary discipline. These courses will be chosen in consultation with the Director of Graduate Studies, who meets with every student at least once per semester.
  • MESA 8995, the MA research seminar, which will involve completion of a thesis (on a topic to be determined in consultation with the Director of Graduate Studies).

Example Curricula

Potential Curricula for MA Students in Middle Eastern Studies

This sample curriculum assumes that an incoming student has an interest in Arabic and has already completed two years of college-level Arabic.

Year 1, Semester 1 Year 1, Semester 2
ARAB 5010 ARAB 5020
HIME 7011 HIME 7021
RELI 5400 ARAB 5240
Year 2, Semester 1 Year 2, Semester 2
ARAB 5830 ARAB 5840
PLIR 7650 PETR 5220
PLCP 5410 MESA 8995

 

Potential Curricula for MA Students in South Asian Studies

This sample curriculum assumes that an incoming student has an interest in Urdu but no previous study of the language.

Year 1, Semester 1 Year 1, Semester 2
URDU 1010 URDU 1020
HISA 5021 RELH 5053
SATR 5110 PLCP 8561
SAST 6071 SATR 7300
Year 2, Semester 1 Year 2, Semester 2
URDU 2010 URDU 2020
HISA 7011 HISA 9021
ANTH 5620 MESA 8995

Instructions for Applying for Graduate Study in MESALC

Applications are now being accepted for graduate study toward an MA degree in Middle Eastern or South Asian Studies at the University of Virginia. The deadline for submitting your application (with all supporting materials) is 1 May, but we will consider any applications that come in before then, and we encourage early applications.

 

The following procedures obtain for submitting an application:

  • Begin by going to the Admissions Website for the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS).
  • To use the GSAS online application system, you must first set up an account. Where the account registration form asks for "Academic Department/Program," click the DOWN arrow and select "Middle Eastern and South Asian Studies (MA)."
  • Then complete the application form online. Some tips:
    • Specialization and Application Semester: In the section called Application Information, you will again need to elect the Intended Program and Degree ("Middle Eastern and South Asian Studies (MA)"). This time you will also need to select "Not Applicable" for the Specialization box (since our degree does not have separate specializations.
    • Recommendation Letters: The online application system REQUIRES you to put in information about (at least) two references (writers of recommendation letters).
    • Writing sample: This does not have to be in the field of Middle Eastern or South Asian Studies. Give us a five to ten page example of your best academic writing.

“The information contained on this website is for informational purposes only. The Undergraduate Record and Graduate Record represent the official repository for academic program requirements. These publications may be found at http://records.ureg.virginia.edu/index.php.”