Islamic and Near Eastern Studies, AM

Master's Candidacy

To earn a master’s degree at Washington University, a student must complete all courses required by their department; maintain satisfactory academic progress; fulfill all academic and residence requirements; and file an Intent to Graduate. For a general layout of master’s degree general requirements in Arts & Sciences, including an explanation of Satisfactory Academic Progress, students should review the Master’s Degree Academic Information page of the Arts & Sciences Bulletin.

Program Requirements

  • Total Units Required: 36
  • Degree Length: 4 Semesters / 2 Years
    • Note: Students must be enrolled in 9 graduate credits each semester to retain full-time status. As students complete their course work, if enrolled in fewer than 9 graduate credits, they must enroll in a specific Arts & Sciences graduate course that will show 0 units but does count as full-time status. Students should connect with their department to ensure proper enrollment prior to Add/Drop.

Master of Arts in Islamic and Near Eastern Studies

The AM in Islamic and Near Eastern Studies offers students an opportunity for dedicated interdisciplinary study of the history, literatures and cultures of the Middle East from the Middle Ages to the present. It is designed for students who ideally have some college-level preparation in the field and who wish to deepen their expertise in preparation for a PhD program. It is also well-suited for those planning on professional careers in education, law, publishing, business, government and private agencies whose work touches upon some aspect of Islamic and Near Eastern Studies. Our faculty offer graduate-level instruction in Islamic and Middle Eastern history; Islam in world history; Islamic religion and law; the anthropology of Islam; premodern Muslim political theory and practice; Middle Eastern urban studies; and both classical and modern Arabic literatures. Admission to the AM program normally requires Arabic language proficiency equivalent to one year of college-level study. After a typical two years of courses and prior to receiving the AM degree, students will be expected to have successfully completed third-year Arabic.

Thesis Requirements/Details

Students may elect to graduate with or without writing a master's thesis. The master's thesis, which is usually about 80 to 100 pages long, represents original work of highly polished quality and is significantly more substantive than a research paper. (For guidelines, please refer to the Master's Thesis Guide issued by the Office of Graduate Studies, Arts & Sciences.) Instead of the thesis, students may decide to (re)submit and defend two significantly revised research papers written in the program, each of which should be at least 30 pages long.

Master's students planning to graduate with a thesis:

First Year
  • End of spring semester: Approach a primary thesis advisor (who may be, but does not have to be, the academic advisor)
Second Year
  • Fall and spring semesters: Enroll in JIMES 591 Directed Writing: Thesis
  • First week of spring semester: Confirm, in conversation with the academic advisor, a thesis committee of three readers, and schedule the oral defense
  • Friday before spring break: Final draft of the thesis due to the thesis advisor
  • End of March to early April: Oral defense

Master's students planning to graduate without a thesis:

Second Year
  • First week of fall semester: Meet with advisor to discuss graduation plans
  • First week of spring semester: Meet with advisor to determine the two research papers, select the three members of the defense committee, agree on submission deadlines, and schedule the defense
  • End of March to early April: Oral defense

Required Courses

  • A minimum of 36 credits from graduate-level courses, which may include up to 6 units transferred from another institution (Note: First- or second-year language classes do not count toward these 36 credits.)
  • The successful completion of third-year Arabic
  • The ability to use Arabic source material and scholarly articles as demonstrated in at least one major seminar paper
  • A second major seminar/research paper to be written either in a second seminar or in an independent study supervised by one of the faculty associated with the program (Note: Students have the option of writing a master's thesis in place of the two major research papers; please refer to Policies and Timelines below.)
  • At the end of their program of study, the successful completion of an oral examination, lasting no more than one hour, based on either the two research papers submitted (and revised) for this purpose or the master's thesis

Minimum Grade Requirement: B-

Contact Info