There exists among undergraduates a wide-spread interest in all aspects of the cultures and societies of the Near East (as the region was known for centuries) and the Middle East (as the region is known in the United States and elsewhere today). Interest in this region and its cultures will likely grow as Middle Eastern societies continue to develop and play an increasingly large role in international affairs, and as understanding of the great civilizations of the ancient Near East, as well as the ancient and classical roots of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, and Western civilization generally—all of great importance in their own right—becomes more urgently needed for an understanding of the contemporary world.
Five 4.0 credit courses are required for the secondary field, regardless of which of the four pathways you select:
- The Middle East in Antiquity
- Histories and Cultures of Muslim Societies (Islamic Studies)
- Jewish Studies
- Modern Middle Eastern Studies
- Two "gateway" courses; for the Modern Middle Eastern Studies pathway, one of the two gateway courses must be Modern Middle East 100, "Approaches to Middle Eastern Studies".
- Three additional 4.0 credit courses in the pathway. These additional courses are to be approved by the DUS or his/her designee and may be chosen from those offered in NELC or elsewhere, including the Program in General Education.
The electives allow the students to pursue study of one or several of the civilizations and arenas that are introduced in the two gateway courses. Qualified students are encouraged to consider taking their elective courses in languages important to the study of the pathway. However, no more than two of these courses may be courses whose primary focus is language instruction. Students seeking to focus primarily on language should consider pursuing a language citation.
One course taken abroad that has been approved for Harvard College credit (either over the summer, a semester, or a year; the DUS or his/her designee will advise students on approved programs) may count towards the requirements as may Freshman Seminars. Other than Freshman Seminars, all courses must be letter graded. Courses taken in other departments that fit into the intellectual focus of the chosen pathway may also be counted.