Middle East–North Africa Studies


Frederick "Rick" Colby, Program Director
Oregon Consortium for International and Area Studies
175 Prince Lucien Campbell Hall
5206 University of Oregon
Eugene, Oregon 97403-5206

The Middle East and North Africa region is home to a wide range of peoples and cultures and has a crucial place in the history of societies and cultures. It is also in the midst of grave instability and unrest, which has global consequences.

The Middle East–North Africa studies minor is a broad examination of the Middle East and North Africa region. The minor requires a minimum of 24 credits and one of three concentrations: language study, study abroad, or research. The minor is designed to offer flexibility so that students may focus on particular areas of interest while providing them with an introduction to critical issues in the contemporary Middle East and North Africa.

Participating Faculty

Michael Allan, comparative literature

Judith R. Baskin, religious studies

Diane Baxter, anthropology

Shaul Cohen, geography

Rick Colby, religious studies

Jane Cramer, political science

Alex Dracobly, political science

Stephen Dueppen, anthropology

Hanan Elsherif, religious studies

David Frank, honors college

Deborah Green, Judaic studies

David Hollenberg, religious studies

Angela Joya, international studies

Farhad Malekafzali, political science

Michael Malek Najjar, theater arts

Lindsey Mazurek, history

Stephen Shoemaker, religious studies

Priscilla Southwell, political science

David Wacks, Romance languages

Anita Weiss, international studies

Minor in Middle East–North Africa Studies

Students must satisfactorily complete a minimum of 24 credits of course work. Courses applied toward the minor must be passed with a C– or better or P (pass). Of the 24 credits, a minimum of 20 must be graded. Students must take a minimum of 16 credits in residence. In addition, students must complete an area of concentration (language, study abroad, or research). Some credits toward the concentration may be used to satisfy the 24 credits of course work, as described below.


ANTH 250Introduction to Middle East Studies4
Choose one of the following:4
Geography of the Middle East and North Africa
Development and the Muslim World
Special Studies: [Topic] (Crisis in the Middle East)
Literature and Society 1
Comparative Comics 1
COLT 461
Cultural Intersections: [Topic] 1
Studies in Identity: [Topic] 1
Elective courses16
Total Credits24

Electives. Of the 16 required credits in elective courses, 8 must be drawn from social science courses and 8 must be drawn from humanities courses, as listed of below. Confer with a program advisor to determine other applicable courses not listed below. Check for courses with Middle East–North Africa (MENA) themes listed in the Schedule of Classes each term; courses listed under MENA count toward the minor. In addition, students may petition the director of the minor for the inclusion of other applicable MENA-related courses that have at least 50 percent Middle East–North Africa content.

A minimum of 12 credits must be in upper-division courses (300 or 400 level). No more than 8 elective credits from any one department may count toward the minor. Courses must be taken from a minimum of three departments.

The social science and humanities elective course lists are not exhaustive, as new courses are added periodically. Other courses may count toward these requirements. See the program advisor and/or the Middle East-North Africa studies entry in the Schedule of Classes for up-to-date information.

Social Science Electives
  • Archaeology of Egypt and Near East (ANTH 342)
  • Experimental Course: [Topic] (CRES 410) (Working Abroad)
  • Israel and Palestine (CRES 435)
  • Geography of the Middle East and North Africa (GEOG 209)
  • Honors College Social Science Colloquium: [Topic] (HC 431H) (The Politics of Human Rights)
  • Honors College International Cultures Colloquium: [Topic] (HC 434H) (Middle East Peace)
  • The Crusades (HIST 322)
  • The Iraq War (HIST 450)
  • Islam and Global Forces (INTL 323)
  • Development and the Muslim World (INTL 423)
  • Israelis and Palestinians (JDST 340)
  • Special Studies: [Topic] (PS 399) (Nuclear Politics of the Middle East)
Humanities Electives
  • Second-Year Arabic (ARB 201), Second-Year Arabic (ARB 202), Second-Year Arabic (ARB 203)
  • Language and Culture (ARB 301), Language and Culture (ARB 302), Language and Culture (ARB 303)
  • Introduction to Arabic Culture (ARB 253)
  • Reading Classical Arabic (ARB 331)
  • Arab Cinema (ARB 353)
  • Literature and Society (COLT 231) (if taught by Michael Allan)
  • Comparative Comics (COLT 370) (if taught by Michael Allan)
  • (COLT 461) (if taught by Michael Allan)
  • Studies in Identity: [Topic] (COLT 470) (if taught by Michael Allan)
  • Folklore and the Bible (FLR 350)
  • Biblical Narrative (HBRW 311), Biblical Poetry (HBRW 312), Postbiblical Literature (HBRW 313)
  • World Religions: Near Eastern Traditions (REL 102)
  • Early Judaism (REL 211)
  • Introduction to the Bible I (REL 222), Introduction to the Bible II (REL 223)
  • Introduction to Islam (REL 233)
  • Jesus and the Gospels (REL 317)
  • History of Christianity (REL 321)
  • History of Eastern Christianity (REL 324), History of Eastern Christianity (REL 325)
  • Introduction to the Qur'an (REL 335)
  • Experimental Course: [Topic] (REL 410) (Islamic Origins)
  • Biblical Book: [Topic] (REL 414)
  • Martyrdom (REL 418)
  • Early and Medieval Christian Heresy (REL 424)
  • (REL 426)
  • Islamic Mysticism: [Topic] (REL 432)
  • Multicultural Theater: [Topic] (TA 472) (Israeli and Palestinian Theater)
  • Experimental Course: [Topic] (WGS 410) (Muslim Women: Life and Identity)


In addition to the credit requirements above, students choose to complete one of the three following concentrations: language, study abroad, or research.

Language Concentration. Students must satisfactorily complete a minimum of one year of a MENA language: Arabic, Hebrew, Turkish, or Persian-Farsi. Language credits may be earned at the UO, through an approved overseas program, or transferred from another college or university. Students may also satisfy the language requirement by examination, demonstrating a level of competence equivalent to one year of college-level language. 

Currently, Arabic and Hebrew are offered as regular UO language courses. Turkish and Persian-Farsi are offered through the Yamada Language Center. Students may earn university credit for courses taken at the Yamada Center (1–3 credits per term). In order to complete the minimum one-year requirement for Turkish and Persian, students must take the New York University 12-point Foreign Language Proficiency Examination. Students who receive 12 points on the exam have satisfactorily completed the minimum one-year language requirement.

In addition, students may complete a second year of a MENA language and apply 8 credits of this work toward satisfaction of the humanities credits requirements. 

Study-Abroad or Internship Concentration. Students spend a minimum of one term in an approved study-abroad or internship program in a Middle Eastern–North African country. 

Currently, there are 19 study-abroad programs offered through the UO, in Jordan, Morocco, Israel, Turkey, and Tunisia. All of these programs meet the study-abroad requirement option. Other programs through accredited universities and organizations may be accepted for university credit and for the study-abroad requirement option. For these programs to count toward the concentration, the student must meet with the minor advisor. Students planning on the study-abroad or internship option must meet with the program advisor to discuss the study-abroad program that fits with the objectives of the minor.

The UO participates in IE3 Global, which offers internships in Tunisia and which count toward the study-abroad or internship requirement. Other internship possibilities may be available. For these programs to count toward the concentration, the student must meet with the minor advisor and have it approved before signing up for the internship program.

Once students return from their study-abroad or internship experience, they must write a five- to six-page reflection of their experiences abroad, to be read and approved by the minor advisor. As noted, the minor advisor must approve courses taken abroad and the structure and content of an internship in advance. With the approval of the advisor, up to 8 credits taken abroad may count toward the overall minor requirement of 24 credits. 

Research Concentration. Students write a high-quality, 15- to 20-page research paper on a MENA-related topic. For this pathway, students work with a professor who guides their research, monitors their progress, and approves their completed research paper. To research and write their paper, students may select to enroll in a 401 (Research) or 405 (Reading and Conference) course. Four credits of 401 or 405 may apply to the 24-credit requirement.