Frequently Asked Questions
What does the CMES do, exactly?
The CMES is not an academic department, so it does not have its own faculty or courses. As an organized research unit, we promote the study of the Middle East and North Africa at the highest academic level. To that end, we organize conferences, lectures, and film series on topics ranging from women in contemporary Iran to Middle Eastern oil production. We host visiting scholars from around the world who conduct research in UC Berkeley’s premier library collections (collections we also support). We support faculty research and course development. We hold annual competitions for grants to fund students who want to study a Middle Eastern language, deliver a conference paper, or conduct research overseas. We help Community College and K-12 teachers incorporate the Middle East into their classrooms. We send experts to talk about the Middle East at schools, houses of worship, museums, and more. We co-sponsor premier community events like the Arab Film Festival and the Arab Cultural Festival. We help develop and fund innovative classes like the Olive Tree Initiative, Model Arab League, and Accessing International Education. Subscribe to our mailing list to keep up to date with CMES programs and events, or get in touch to learn more.
What is a Title VI National Resource Center?
The Title VI program was established in 1958 with the National Defense Education Act to encourage the study of foreign language and area studies in the United States. Administered today by the U.S. Department of Education, the Title VI program provides funding for language instruction, teacher training, scholarly research, community outreach, and student language study. National Resource Centers (NRCs) are funded through the Title VI program in a competitive, peer-reviewed selection process that takes place every four years. There are currently 15 Middle East NRCs in the United States, and a total of 100 NRCs in all world areas. The CMES at UC Berkeley received the highest level of funding among all Middle East NRCs in the 2014-2018 competition. For more information about the Title VI program, see the Department of Education’s program website. The most current list of NRCs is available here.
I want to attend graduate school. Can I apply to the CMES?
While some Middle East NRCs do administer M.A. and Ph.D. programs, the UC Berkeley CMES is strictly a research unit, and does not offer degree programs. However, UC Berkeley does offer graduate degrees related to the Middle East, which the CMES supports, through a number of departments–click here for more information. For a list of graduate programs outside of Berkeley, click here.
What about undergraduate studies?
The CMES provides academic and other support for the major and minor in Middle Eastern Studies at UC Berkeley, administered by International and Area Studies. Learn more about the major and minor here.
I’d like to learn a Middle Eastern language. Can I do that at Berkeley?
Yes! The Department of Near Eastern Studies offers courses through the advanced level in Arabic, Hebrew, Persian, and Turkish. Courses in other languages of the region, e.g., Kurdish, Armenian, and Ottoman Turkish, are also available depending on student interest.
I’d like to study or work in the Middle East. What are my options?
Read about Study Abroad, internship, and career opportunities for both Berkeley and non-Berkeley students here. For general travel inquiries, see your local travel agent.
Who can I talk to about admission requirements?
Do you have a mailing list?
Yes! Sign up here.
My school/class/congregation/book group/business/non-profit/other would like to learn more about the Middle East. Can you help?
We can help! We can arrange to send an expert speaker to your organization through our Speakers Bureau, refer Berkeley and other faculty in the Bay Area for panels, lend films, and develop curriculum resources and teacher training opportunities. Get in touch.