Graduate Program

“The information contained on this website is for informational purposes only. The Undergraduate Record and Graduate Record represent the official repository for academic program requirements. These publications may be found at http://records.ureg.virginia.edu/index.php.”

Overview

MESALC's multi-disciplinary MA degree is intended for students seeking graduate-level training in Middle Eastern or South Asian languages and an in-depth knowledge of the Middle East or South Asia as a region. Students choose either the Middle East or South Asia as their regional focus, and either Arabic, Hebrew, Hindi, Persian, Urdu, or Sanskrit as their regional language. Those accepted into the Middle East side of the program are required to enter with at least a second-year proficiency in their regional language. No previous language training is required for those accepted into the South Asia side of the program.

Students in Middle East Studies will attain at least a third-year competency in their regional language. Students in South Asia Studies will attain at least a second-year competency. Both Middle Eastern and South Asian Studies students will complete a total of 30 course credits, including nine graduate-level courses in their regional concentration (27 credits in courses numbered 5000 or above, selected with the approval of the Director of Graduate Studies), and fulfill all the requirements for MESA 8995, a 3-credit research seminar (that students will normally take in the final semester of their program), including a thesis (on a topic determined in consultation with the Director of Graduate Studies). This degree is intended to take two years, but students may be able to complete it in less time, provided they are able to fulfill all stated requirements.

 


Admission Requirements

Applicants must satisfy the general admission requirements of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. For applicants concentrating in Middle Eastern Studies, two years of successful study at the college level in a Middle Eastern language are required. For applicants concentrating in South Asian Studies no previous language study is required. In addition, acceptance into the MA program in MESALC will depend upon the applicant's undergraduate performance and promise of future success.

 

Graduation Requirements for the Studies MA Degree

  • Successful completion of the second year of the student's chosen language (South Asia) and successful completion of the third year of the student's chosen language (Middle East);
  • 27 credits from regional studies courses at the 5000-level or above to be selected with the approval of the Director of Graduate Studies and to satisfy the following distribution requirements (note that third-year language courses do not count toward these requirements):
    • 3 credits from a course on the history of the region;
    • 3 credits from a course on religion in the region;
    • 3 credits from a course on the politics of the region; and
    • 3 credits from an upper-level literature course related to the region;
  • MESA 8995, the MA research seminar, which will involve completion of a thesis (on a topic to be determined in consultation with the graduate advisor).

 

Students may apply courses toward their Studies degrees from among the graduate-credit courses related to their region that are offered by various departments around the university. Click here to view the graduate course catalog.


Example Curricula

Potential Curricula for MA Students in Middle Eastern Studies

This sample curriculum assumes that an incoming student has an interest in Arabic and has completed two years of college-level Arabic. Note that these courses amount to more than the 30 credits required.

Year 1, Semester 1 Year 1, Semester 2
ARAB 5010 ARAB 5020
HIME 7011 HIME 7021
RELI 5400 ARAB 5290
Year 2, Semester 1 Year 2, Semester 2
ARAB 5530 ARAB 5870
PLIR 7650 PETR 5220
PLCP 5410 MESA 8995

 

Potential Curricula for MA Students in South Asian Studies

This sample curriculum assumes that an incoming student has an interest in Urdu and has completed two years of college-level Urdu.

Year 1, Semester 1 Year 1, Semester 2
URDU 5010 URDU 5020
HISA 5021 RELH 5054
SATR 5110 PLCP 8561
Year 2, Semester 1 Year 2, Semester 2
HISA 7011 HISA 8021
ANTH 5750 MESA 8995

Instructions for Applying for Graduate Study in MESALC

Applications are now being accepted for graduate study toward an MA degree in Middle Eastern or South Asian Studies at the University of Virginia. The deadline for completing your application (with all supporting materials) is 15 December. We will usually be able to make our decisions and make notifications by early February.

 

The following procedures obtain for submitting an application:

  • Begin by going to the Admissions Website for the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS).
  • To use the GSAS online application system, you must first set up an account. Where the account registration form asks for "Academic Department/Program," click the DOWN arrow and select "Middle Eastern and South Asian Studies (MA)."
  • Then complete the application form online. Some tips:
    • Specialization and Application Semester: In the section called Application Information, you will again need to elect the Intended Program and Degree ("Middle Eastern and South Asian Studies (MA)"). This time you will also need to select "Not Applicable" for the Specialization box (since our degree does not have separate specializations.
    • GRE Scores: You may not matriculate as a GSAS student without taking the GRE exam and submitting the scores. Admitted students who have not reported their scores at the time of application will therefore be required to report scores to the Graduate School before beginning classes in August.
    • Recommendation Letters: The online application system REQUIRES you to put in information about (at least) two references (writers of recommendation letters).
    • Writing sample: This does not have to be in the field of Middle Eastern or South Asian Studies. Give us a five to ten page example of your best academic writing.

Director of Graduate Studies

Robert Hueckstedt
Director of Graduate Studies
137 New Cabell Hall
Phone: (434) 243-8228
Email: rah2k@virginia.edu