Middle East Studies

Elliott School of International Affairs

Master of Arts (M.A.)
Location(s): Foggy Bottom - Main Campus

Program Overview

The Middle East is one of the world’s most important and challenging regions, where conflict seems chronic but peace elusive, resources are abundant but sustainable development difficult, and where the roots of major religions and global terrorism can be found. There are few issues in international affairs that do not involve the Middle East.

The Master of Arts curriculum includes a range of courses covering the history, politics, economics, international relations, and cultures of the societies and nations of the Middle East. In consultation with the program director, each student will develop a program of study that combines a broad overview of the region through a set of core courses, along with a more specialized field based on the student's specific academic and career interests. In addition, completion of the M.A. in Middle East Studies requires demonstrated oral and reading proficiency in a language of the Middle East region.

The MA. program in Middle East Studies is supported by the Elliott School’s Institute for Middle East Studies.  Its Director is Professor Marc Lynch, a prominent scholar whose blog is featured on ForeignPolicy.com, and its core faculty includes both established leaders in their fields such as Nathan Brown (Political Science) and Dina Khoury (History), and outstanding junior faculty spanning a wide range of academic disciplines. The Institute’s programming is enhanced by a million dollar gift from the Amir of Kuwait and by a partnership with the Middle East Policy Forum, run by former Ambassador Edward “Skip” Gnehm.

Admission Requirements

Admission deadline:

Fall: January 7th - Fellowship & Application Deadline
 

Spring: October 1st - Fellowship & Application Deadline

Standardized test scores:

GRE/GMAT test-optional

Recommendations required: 

Two (2) letters are required. Applicants should submit one (1) academic letter from a professor and one (1) professional reference.

Prior academic records:

Transcripts are required from all colleges and universities attended, whether or not credit was earned, the program was completed, or the credit appears as transfer credit on another transcript. Unofficial transcripts from all colleges and universities attended should be uploaded to your online application. Official transcripts are required only of applicants who are offered admission and choose to enroll.

If academic records are in a language other than English, English language translations must be provided. The English translations alone should be uploaded into the online application. Official transcripts and certified English translations will be required of applicants who are offered admission and choose to enroll.

Statement of purpose:

All applicants are required to submit an essay of approximately 500 words that answers one of the two questions below:

State your purpose in undertaking graduate study at the Elliott School. As part of your statement of purpose, describe your academic and research interests, career objectives, how a degree from the Elliott School will enable you to achieve your goals, and what unique skills, talents and/or perspectives you will bring to your program. Please be specific.

- OR -

Please discuss an issue of international importance you wish to address in your professional career. Please include how the Elliott School and the academic program to which you have applied will prepare you to address this global issue.

Additional requirements:

A resumé or curriculum vitae is required.

High intermediate coursework in an approved Middle Eastern Language is required at the time of application. Approved languages for the M.A. in Middle East Studies are: Arabic (Modern Standard Arabic), Persian, Hebrew, Kurdish, and Turkish.

Prerequisites:

Academic coursework in an approved Middle Eastern language, which will prepare students to complete the program’s language requirement*, is required at the time of application. This can be demonstrated by:

Study that is equal to four semesters of university-level coursework or equivalent.
Completion of formal language training as part of employment (ex. Peace Corps, JET, etc.).
Growing up in a household where the language is spoken.

Approved languages for the M.A. in Middle East Studies are: Arabic (Modern Standard Arabic), Persian, Hebrew, Kurdish, and Turkish.

*Students need to have a strong foundation in a foreign language before enrolling to be successful in completing the language requirement during the program.

International applicants only:

International Applicants may be required to submit official English Language tests scores with their application. Please see the Elliott School's English Language Requirements for guidance on whether you need to take the TOEFL/IELTS/PTE. Please send official TOEFL scores to institution code 5246.

The minimum English Language Test Requirements can be found below:

Eligible for Admission & requires EAP Courses:
IELTS- 7.0 overall score, no band score below 6.0
TOEFL- 100 (internet test) 600 (paper test)
PTE- 68

Eligible for Admission & Exempt from EAP Courses**:
IETLS- 7.0 overall score, no band score below 6.5
TOEFL- 105 (internet test) 650 (paper test)
PTE- 72
**Spring applicants must receive at least these scores to be considered for admission.

Please review International Applicant Information carefully for details on required documents, earlier deadlines for applicants requiring an I-20 or DS-2019 from GW, and English language requirements.

Supporting documents not submitted online should be mailed to:
Office of Graduate Admissions
 The Elliott School of International Affairs
 The George Washington University
 1957 E Street, NW, Suite 301
 Washington, DC 20052

Contact for questions:
 [email protected] ~ 202.994.7050 ~ 202.994.9537 (fax)
 9:00 am – 5:00 pm, Monday through Friday