Blue mosaic ceiling of the Hafez Tomb in Shiraz, Iran

Middle East Studies Minor


  • The minor in Middle East Studies will give students the tools to understand the historical context along with the rapid and profound changes that are occurring within the countries in the Middle East and North Africa.
  • This region is the locus of many of the world’s most ancient civilizations and cultures. Learning about the Middle East will provide an excellent framework to establish foundational knowledge pertaining to the societies, history, culture, languages, and politics of the countries in the region.
  • Whether students pursue the minor because they are interested and curious about the broader world or because they hope to attain specific career goals, they will discover that their interdisciplinary knowledge of the Middle East and North Africa will be richly rewarding on many levels.

Middle East Studies Core Knowledge and Skills (6 hours):

Minors must take one course on Islam and one course on the Middle East in general.

  • REL 350/AAAS 349 Islam
    • or AAAS 102 Arabic and Islamic Studies
  • POLS 661 Politics of the Middle East
    • or HIST 328 The Modern Middle East
    • or ANTH 303 Peoples and Cultures of North Africa and the Middle East

Middle East Studies Electives (12 hours):

These courses allow students to deepen their knowledge of the countries and issues in the region. Students must take at least one course from each emphasis—i.e. social science and humanities, as listed below--but can choose to take three courses from one emphasis and one from the other or take two from each.

Social science emphasis: (minimum 3 credit hours) 

  • ANTH 303 Peoples and Cultures of North Africa and the Middle East
  • ANTH 372 Religion, Power, and Sexuality in Arab Societies
  • GIST 424 Nationalism(s) in Turkey
  • GIST 530 Politics and Society in the Contemporary Persianate World
  • GIST 624 Social Movements in the Middle East
  • GIST 633 Iran, Turkey, and the Kurds
  • JWSH 329 Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: An Introduction
  • JWSH 410 Israel: From Idea to State
  • JWSH 414 Israel/Palestine: The War of 1948
  • JWSH 420 Government of Israel
  • JWSH 426 Polls and Public Opinion in Israel
  • JWSH 440 International Relations of the Middle-East
  • JWSH 681 Regimes in the Middle-East and North Africa
  • JWSH 679 Palestinians & Israelis: Advanced Topics in
  • POLS 661 Politics of the Middle East
  • POLS/GIST 667 Islam and Politics
  • POLS 670 United States Foreign Policy
  • SOC 532 Sociology of the Middle East

Humanities emphasis: (minimum 3 credit hours) 

  • AAAS 102 Arabic and Islamic Studies
  • AAAS 415 Women and Islam
  • AAAS 433 Islamic Literature
  • AAAS 543 Language and Culture in Arabic-Speaking Communities
  • AAAS 545 Unveiling the Veil
  • GIST 535 Literature and Society in the Contemporary Middle East
  • HIST 327 The Premodern Middle East
  • HIST 328 The Modern Middle East
  • HIST 480 Travelers' Tales of the Middle East
  • HIST 481 From Harem to the Streets: Gender in the Middle East, 1900-Present
  • HIST 570 The Middle East After World War II
  • JWSH 382 Jerusalem Through the Ages
  • REL 311/JWSH 321 Religion of Ancient Israel
  • REL 355 Muslim Societies
  • REL 447 Islamic Law in the Digital Age
  • REL 551 Shari'a, Democracy, and Society
  • REL 557 Modern Islamic Reform Movements

Language Option:

A student pursuing a Middle East Studies minor may also use one 300-level or above ARAB, PERS, TURK, or HEBR language course as an elective that counts toward three credit hours of “Humanities emphasis.”

Middle East Studies Minor Hours & GPA:

While completing all required courses, minors must also meet each of the following hour and grade point average minimum standards:

Minor Hours:

Satisfied by 18 hours of minor courses.

Minor Hours in Residence:

Satisfied by a minimum of 9 hours of junior/senior (300+) hours of KU resident credit in the minor. 

Minor Junior/Senior (300+) Hours:

Satisfied by a minimum of 12 hours from junior/senior courses (300+) in the minor.

Minor Graduation GPA:

Satisfied by a minimum of a 2.0 GPA in all departmental courses in the Minor. GPA calculations include all departmental courses in the field of study including Fs and repeated courses. See the Semester/Cumulative GPA Calculator.

Michael Wuthrich

Associate Director, Center for Global & International Studies


Blake Hall, 522

Nicholas Pellett

Academic Advisor, GIST Undergraduate Program

Jayhawk Academic Advising


Bailey Hall, 205D

Brian Lagotte

Director, GIST Undergraduate Studies


Bailey Hall, 215

  • We are happy you are interested in our program. We encourage you to contact Michael Wuthrich, to speak about the program and your interests.
  • If you are ready to declare a minor in Middle East Studies, please make an appointment with Academic Advisor, Nicholas Pellett, at