Department of Middle Eastern Studies
Department of Middle Eastern Studies

Policies for CMES Graduate Students

The following policies apply to students in the M.A. program in Middle Eastern Studies.

Language Courses

Arabic:  1st year (beginner) is lower-division at 6 hours per week. 2nd year (intermediate) is upper-division at 6 hours per week. 3rd year (advanced) is upper-division and 5 hours per week. All of these undergraduate sections have 3-credit graduate cross-listings that graduate students register for. The intent of these corresponding 3-credit versions is meant to keep tuition down. However, students in reality are still taking a 5 or 6 credit course. "Content Courses" come after completion of the advanced level (3rd year). These are traditional 3-credit courses that are conducted in the target language. Such courses can be "bumped-up" for graduate credit if the instructor is a tenured or tenure-track professor (not a lecturer or PhD student).

Persian:  1st year (beginner) is lower-division at 6 hours per week. A 3-credit graduate cross-listing exists to keep tuition down, however, students still take a 6-credit course in reality. 2nd year (intermediate) is upper-division at 3 hours per week. "Content Courses" come after completion of the intermediate level. These are traditional 3-credit courses that are conducted in the target language. Such courses can be "bumped-up" for graduate credit if the instructor is a tenured or tenure-track professor (not a lecturer or PhD student).

Modern Hebrew:  1st year (beginner) is lower-division at 6 hours per week. A 3-credit graduate cross-listing exists to keep tuition down, however, students still take a 6-credit course in reality. 2nd year (intermediate) is upper-division at 3 hours per week. "Content Courses" come after completion of the intermediate level. These are traditional 3-credit courses that are conducted in the target language. Such courses can be "bumped-up" for graduate credit if the instructor is a tenured or tenure-track professor (not a lecturer or PhD student).

Turkish:  1st year (beginner) is lower-division at 6 hours per week. A 3-credit graduate cross-listing exists to keep tuition down, however, students still take a 6-credit course in reality. 2nd year (intermediate) is upper-division at 3 hours per week. 3rd year (advanced) is upper-division at 3 hours per week. In 2015-16 there will be a 3-credit graduate section cross-listed with TUR 325K.

Conference Courses and "Bumping-Up" an Upper-Division Course

Student are limited to 2 conference courses as part of the degree plan. A graduate conference course may be an independent study with a professor, or of a “bumped-up” upper-division undergraduate course. To bump-up a course is to receive graduate credit for an upper-division undergraduate course by completing additional graduate-level component along with the undergraduate requirements of the course; this component is defined by the professor and approved by the faculty Graduate Adviser. Conference course and bump-up forms can be obtained from the CMES Forms page.

Upper-division Undergraduate Courses

Students may occasionally enroll in upper-division coursework with approval of the MES Graduate Office, but the Graduate School does not permit more than 6 credit hours of such coursework on a master's degree. Upper-division courses are designated by the last two digits of the course number, being numbered x20-x79.

Limits on Special Courses (Conference Courses and Upper-Division Courses)

Center students may not take more than 3 of the following for the MA degree:  conference course (of the independent study type), conference course (of the bump-up type), and upper-division course (not bumped-up).

Thesis & Report Distinctions

Composition of the Committee:  At least two faculty must serve as thesis/report readers. It is most common to have a supervisor and a 2nd reader. Two equal co-supervisors may also acceptable but please first check with the Graduate Coordinator. In the first example, the supervisor must be on the Center's Graduate Studies Committee. In the second example, one of the co-supervisors must be on the GSC list.

As stated under the program requirements, the MA with a thesis requires 30 credit hours, while the professional report option requires completion of 33 credit hours. The thesis is a year-long endeavor where the supervisor must be identified by the start of the final year in order to enroll in Thesis A (with Thesis B to follow in the graduating semester, at which point the 2nd reader must be identified). The report is a semester-long endeavor where both the supervisor and 2nd reader must be identified by the start of the graduating semester.

No university document distinguishes clearly between a report and a thesis in terms of length or scope, although as a general rule the thesis is a project of greater depth and academic inclination. Most faculty members regard it as an original piece of authorship and contribution to knowledge. By contrast, a report is a project of a smaller scale in which a student often reviews what scholars have written on a particular topic. The lack of established parameters regarding thesis and report requirements makes it exceedingly important that your supervisor’s expectations are clearly defined and coincide with those of the 2nd reader.

This PDF document describes the things you should bear in mind as you choose which path to take. You should discuss these expectations in detail and in consultation with the Graduate Adviser or faculty supervisor before beginning your thesis/report work.

Non-MES Courses

A course that is cross-listed with MES may appear on the program of work regardless of the department under which a student registers for the course. For example, HIS 388K may apply to the degree without any special approval, if it is cross-listed with MES 381. A non-language course that is not cross-listed with MES cannot be applied to the MES degree without advance approval. To request this approval, a student must submit a Non-MES Course Credit Petition to the graduate advisor demonstrating that the non-MES course contains at least 30% Middle Eastern studies content.

This content should be represented in all aspects of the class, including lectures, readings, and assignments. This approval must be sought and granted by the 1st class day of the semester in which the non-MES course is taken. Retroactive approvals will not be granted. Courses taken outside of the department that apply neither to the CMES degree nor a dual degree program may be taken with approval of the Graduate Adviser.

Course Categories (expiring in summer 2016)

Course categorization is decided based upon two basic considerations: the disciplinary training of the instructor and the disciplinary method used to teach the course. A course’s cross-listings provide a helpful tool for determining how a particular course will apply towards your degree. For example, a course cross-listed with HIS will usually be applied to the history requirement.

NUMBERING SYSTEM

Graduate-Level

  • MES 384:  Social Science (Government, Anthropology, Sociology, Business, some Communications)
  • MES 385:  History
  • MES 386:  Arts/Humanities

Upper-Division

  • MES 341:  Social Science (Government, Anthropology, Sociology, Business, some Communications)
  • MES 342:  Arts/Humanities
  • MES 343:  History

Concentration Courses

Ideally these are related to a student's thesis/report topic, if not directly then peripherally.  They can also be taught by the thesis/report supervisor even if the subject matter is unlreated to the thesis/report topic. The entire course need not parallel a student’s research; rather, some portion of the course content must provide beneficial instruction on the research topic or on the theories and methods to be applied. At minimum, a concentration course should involve theoretical or methodological work that serves as the foundation for the thesis/report. Both organized courses (seminars) and conference courses (directed reading) may serve as concentration courses. Please consult with the Graduate Adviser or Graduate Coordinator if you are unsure whether a course will satisfy these parameters.

Concentration courses come in 4 varieties:

  1. It must relate to the student’s thesis or report topic, or
  2. It must be taken with a thesis/report reader (supervisor, co-supervisor, or 2nd reader).
  3. A course in your chosen discipline (e.g., anthropology, political science, etc) that has no MES content and is not cross-listed with MES, provided that the instructor permits a major paper/project/presentation related to the Middle East be done which comprises at least 30% of the final grade. In this case the non-MES coursework petition must be used, approved by the Graduate Adviser. See below for more information about seeking permission for non-MES courses.
  4. May be a theory/methods-type course. There is a limit of 1 course of this type and the content of these courses need not necessarily be rooted in Middle Eastern content. Must be approved by Graduate Adviser.

Students are strongly encouraged to take a theory or methods course in the primary disciplinary approach of the thesis/report as one of their concentration courses. Such courses are offered by several departments across campus and may be approved for the program of work despite a lack of Middle Eastern content.


Program Contacts:

Dena Afrasiabi
Graduate Coordinator
(512) 471-3217

Dr. Blake Atwood  Graduate Adviser

Program Resources:

Coursework Requirements

CMES FAQ

CMES Forms

Dual Degree Programs

Getting Involved

Student Responsibility


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