A video interview with Janell Rothenberg, PhD candidate in Anthropology
Students interested in Middle East and Islamic studies have many options at UCLA, including interdepartmental degree programs in Islamic Studies and African and Middle East Studies, an array of degrees in the major modern and ancient languages and cultures of the region, and Middle East emphases in the humanities and social science disciplines and the professional schools.
CNES sponsors one of the nation’s premier graduate programs in Islamic Studies. It encompasses the broadest cultural concerns in the study of Islamic civilizations, integrating historical knowledge, cultural understanding and advanced linguistic skills. Students are encouraged to design a unique course of interdisciplinary study that will prepare them to carry out cutting-edge research leading to the PhD.
The MA and PhD degrees in Islamic Studies are designed primarily for students preparing for an academic career. They may also be useful to those who plan to live and work in Muslim societies in fields such as education, government or humanitarian service, law, business or journalism. The MA degree can also serve as preparation for advanced graduate study in a traditional discipline. A concurrent degree program offers the Islamic Studies MA and the professional Master of Public Health degree.
The undergraduate program in African and Middle East Studies, also sponsored by CNES, is designed for those who seek a general education with an area studies emphasis. It is useful as well for those who plan to live and work in the region, or to work with people of Middle Eastern and North African heritage in the US, or to pursue graduate studies in various fields. The program focuses on the history, languages and cultures of the region from circa 300 CE to the present day.
The Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures (NELC) offers BA degrees in Ancient Near Eastern Civilizations, Arabic, Hebrew, Iranian Studies, and Jewish Studies; minors in Arabic and Islamic Studies, Armenian Studies, Hebrew and Jewish Studies, and Near Eastern Languages and Cultures; and MA and PhD degrees in Ancient Near Eastern Civilizations, Semitics, Arabic, Armenian, Hebrew, Iranian, and Turkic languages. NELC is known for its highly accomplished faculty and its innovative instructional program. It sponsors a diverse program of events open to the university community and the broader public.
Students can emphasize the Middle East in many other UCLA programs and departments, including the undergraduate International Development Studies program and the recently created Global Studies program sponsored by the International Institute. The Art History, Comparative Literature, History and Political Science departments and the Cotsen Institute of Archaeology have particularly rich offerings for students of the region.
UCLA’s Powell Library and the College Library Instructional Computing Commons (CLICC) are organized to meet the needs of undergraduate students. The Young Research Library holds one of the best research collections in the US, with over 500,000 volumes on the Middle East, North Africa, Anatolia and Central Asia, including well over 120,000 books and periodicals in Middle Eastern and Central Asian vernacular languages. The Library’s Department of Special Collections holds over 10,000 Arabic, Armenian, Hebrew, Persian and Ottoman manuscripts.
There are many sources of support for Middle East and Islamic studies. Graduate students can apply for Title VI Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellowships, Graduate Division Special Scholarships and Teaching and Research Assistantships, and federally funded Fulbright-Hays grants for research in the Middle East and elsewhere. Grads and undergrads alike can take advantage of the University of California's Education Abroad Program to study in Egypt, India, Spain and Turkey. CNES maintains links with many overseas research centers and Middle Eastern language schools.
The Center serves as a nexus of academic and cultural activities at UCLA. As a component of the International Institute, it collaborates with other area studies centers to offer unmatched opportunities in global studies. As an Organized Research Unit of the University, it increases our knowledge base by initiating and supporting research and publication. As a National Resource Center, it engages the media, the business community and precollegiate educators, institutions and students in learning and discourse on Middle Eastern and Islamic cultures and societies.
Career opportunities for specialists in Middle East and Islamic studies are rapidly increasing, and UCLA provides world-class academic and professional training to meet the growing demand for experts in the humanities, the social sciences and the professions.