The Comparative Cultures major provides students with a strong, broad foundation to understand and analyze the wide range of cultures of the Near and Middle East, including Central Eurasia. Students examine the diversity and unity of these cultures through time and across geographies. The program includes two years of language study: Arabic, Persian, Turkish, modern Hebrew, and Turkic (including Uzbek or Uygur) are offered. Students enhance their understanding of the region through elective courses and hands-on research opportunities, culminating in a student-driven independent research project. Alumni succeed in careers in a variety of fields such as public service, education, law, business and entrepreneurship, and medicine.
Admissions, Advising & Student Resources
Please see our Undergraduate Programs section for information about applying to the program, career paths, scholarships, and other student resources.
Introductory language courses are available in the fall or summer quarters. Students should sign up for introductory courses as early as possible in order to fulfill the major’s language requirement. If you have previous experience studying a language, see our information on language placement and proficiency exams.
Note: Courses cannot be duplicated and used in multiple areas of the degree. Twenty-two (22) credits must be taken in-residence at the Department of Middle Eastern Languages and Cultures.
The degree totals 72 credits and requires:
- Gateway to the Middle East (MELC 101)
- One introductory (200-level) course on the Middle East
- Two years or its equivalent (as evidenced by an examination) of one of the following Middle Eastern languages: Arabic, Persian, Turkish, Modern Hebrew, Uzbek (or other appropriate languages approved by the Undergraduate Advisor)
- Seminar in Middle Eastern Languages and Cultures (MELC 491). All final-year students are required to take MELC 491 during their final Autumn quarter.
- Capstone Essay (MELC 498). All final-year students in this track are required to write a capstone essay during their final Winter or Spring quarter following completion of MELC 491.
- Twenty five (25) credits of upper division supporting MELC courses at the 300-level or above (a maximum of 15 credits of approved exceptions is acceptable)