The major aims to have students focus on relevant issues to them in a way that provides intellectual flexibility. The major will offer solid training in how to use acquired knowledge to become agents of positive change on the global issues that matter most to people here, and elsewhere around the world.
Undergraduate Degree Programs
Students that have a strong interest in one of the modern languages or ancient history of the Near East.
Berkeley’s Near Eastern Studies Department, founded in 1894, is one of the oldest and most distinguished such departments in the country. The Department offers both general instruction and specialized training in Archaeology, Art History, Assyriology, Egyptology, Iranian Studies, Judaic and Islamic Studies, Comparative Semitics, Arabic, Hebrew, Persian, and Turkish.
Since 1981, the interdisciplinary major in Middle Eastern Studies (MES) has provided Berkeley students with the opportunity to study a region of great geopolitical significance whose economic and social development is closely linked to our own society. The MES major covers the Arab world, Turkey, Iran, and Israel, intertwining history and culture, geography and ecology, politics and economics, with an emphasis on the modern and contemporary Middle East. Its broad and balanced program of study draws on a wide variety of Middle East-related courses offered by faculty from more than 20 different departments and schools within the University. Students in the MES major also learn at least one of the major Middle Eastern languages of today: Arabic, Hebrew, Persian, or Turkish. MES graduates work in academe, industry, and government, both in the United States and abroad. About half of MES alumni pursue graduate studies; many of these students go on to university or professional careers.
The minor in Middle Eastern Studies is designed to introduce students to the study of the modern Middle East, understood as comprising the Arab world, Turkey, Iran, and Israel, through social science and humanities courses.