Undergraduate Middle East & North African Studies

Major in Middle East and North African Studies

Middle East and North African Studies (MENA) trains students to develop critical and analytical thinking on the Middle East and the Maghreb through an interdisciplinary, transnational approach. The MENA major draws on a number of departments and programs across Tulane’s School of Liberal Arts to offer a wide array of courses introducing students to the rich history, layered politics, diverse cultures, linguistic, and religious traditions of a complex region. This background enables students to transcend simplistic generalizations and stereotypes about the region and its people while promoting students’ global literacy in an increasingly interconnected world. The MENA major prepares students to pursue careers in government, policy, trade, research, and a variety of other fields.

Course Requirements

Students must complete at least ten courses (30 credits minimum) from an approved list of Middle East-related courses. These ten courses must be distributed as follows:

  1. Core Courses.

    Students must take the following three courses: 1

    • HISM 2200 History of Islam to 1400
    • HISM 2210 History of Modern Middle East, 1750 to Present
    • JWST 3220 Arab-Israeli Conflict or POLI 4670 Politics of Arab-Israeli Conflict or HISM 3220 Arab-Israeli Conflict (Methods). POLI 3550 Conflict Mgmt in Arab-Israeli may be substituted.

    Students also must take one of the following two courses:

    • POLC 3340 Middle East Comparative Politics or
    • POLI 4660 Middle East Security
  2. Language Courses 2

    Students must take at least one course in Arabic beyond ARBC 2030 Intermediate Arabic (normally, ARBC 3150) or at least one course in Hebrew beyond HBRW 2030 Intermediate Hebrew I (normally, HBRW 2130 Intermediate Hebrew II).  

  3. Electives

    Students must select at least five elective courses from the approved electives list. Additional electives may be added with permission of the Program Director. These must be advanced content courses, at least one of which must be at the 4000 or 6000 level.

Notes on Course Requirements.

1 HISM 2200 and HISM 2210 are offered at least once every other year. They must be taken in the first semester that they are offered after the student enters the program.

2 Students who demonstrate proficiency in Arabic, Hebrew, Turkish, or Persian language in a suitable manner can substitute another Middle East-related course from the approved list for this requirement. Turkish and Persian are not offered at Tulane.

MENA courses at Tulane

  1. Language courses
    • ARBC 1010 Elementary Arabic I
    • ARBC 1020 Elementary Arabic II
    • ARBC 2030 Intermediate Arabic I
    • ARBC 3010 Modern Arab Culture and Conversation
    • ARBC 3150 Advanced Arabic
    • ARBC 3170 Media Arabic
    • ARBC 3210 Arabic in IR & Diplomacy
    • ARBC 3220 Intro to Arabic Literature
    • HBRW 1010 Elementary Hebrew I
    • HBRW 1020 Elementary Hebrew II
    • HBRW 2030 Intermediate Hebrew I
    • HBRW 2040 Intermediate Hebrew II
    • HBRW 3100 Advanced Hebrew I
    • HBRW 3110 Advanced Hebrew II
  2. Other courses
    • Core courses
      • HISM 2210 History of the Modern Middle East since 1750
      • HISM 2220 History of Islam to 1400
      • JWST 3220 Arab-Israeli conflict or POLI 4670 Politics of Arab-Israeli Conflict or HISM 3220 Arab-Israeli Conflict (Methods)
      • POLI 4341 Middle East Comparative Politics
      • POLI 4660 Middle East Security
    • Electives
      • ANTH 3470 Many Faces of Islam
      • FREN 4810 Woman Writers of the Arab World
      • FREN 4810 Francophone Literature of the Maghreb
      • FREN 4811 Morocco in Film and Literature
      • HISM 3910 Sex/Gender in Middle East
      • HISM 6910 Ottoman Empire and its Legacy
      • HISM 6910 Modern Turkey past and present
      • HISM 6910 State and Society in the Modern Middle East
      • HISM 6910 WW I & the Making of the Modern Middle East
      • HISM 6910 Religion and Nationalism in the Modern Middle East
      • JWST 3740 Israel: Culture, Politics, History
      • JWST 4500 History of Zionism
      • JWST 4810 History of Israel through Film and Literature
      • POLI 3020 Islam and Politics

Arabic Studies Minor at Tulane

Standard Arabic has an estimated 206 million speakers, while colloquial Arabic is spoken by a total of over 400 million, which makes it the fifth most widely spoken language in the world. Arabic classes at Tulane highlight the richness of Arabic culture and literature, as well as its practical applications in the global political economy.

Minor Requirements

The Arabic minor consists of 5 courses for a minimum of 15 credits, distributed as follows:

Two core courses:

  • ARBC 2030: Intermediate Arabic*
  • ARBC 3150: Advanced Arabic

Three electives from the following list:

  • ARBC 3060: Business Arabic
  • ARBC 3170: Media Arabic
  • ARBC 3220: Introduction to Arabic Literature
  • ARBC 3250: Arab Modern Culture
  • ARBC 3300: Arabic for International Relations and Diplomacy

If a student wishes to complete two or more minors, no courses counting toward the student’s one minor will count toward the student’s other minor(s). Courses taken abroad that the student wishes to count toward the Arabic minor will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

*ARBC 2030 will count toward the minor provided students do not use it to fulfill the SLA language requirement. If students wish to count 2030 toward the SLA language requirement, they will need to take 5 courses beyond 2030.

Links to the Arabic program at Tulane University:

Tulane New Wave
Higher Education Tribune
Tulane Hullabaloo

For more information, please contact:
Edwige Tamalet Talbayev, etamalet@tulane.edu