Department of Middle Eastern Studies
Department of Middle Eastern Studies

Frequently Asked Questions

These are answers to questions that applicants often ask after having reviewed the information about the UT Graduate School and the Center. Please contact the Graduate Coordinator if you have questions.


  • The Center admits students only for fall semesters. Spring admission is rarely offered. When it is offered, it is for an exceptional and compelling case.
  • The Center admits about one out of four applicants, keeping the graduate program at about 30 students at any given time.
  • Admitted students come from a variety of academic backgrounds. The Center does not require an undergraduate degree in Middle Eastern Studies or a related area, although preference is given to those coming from rich backgrounds with languages and/or the humanities. Given the competitive process, applicants increase their chances of admission if their application materials reflect an active interest in the Middle East (study, work, travel, community participation, etc.).
  • GPA and GRE are only two of the many factors involved in the admission decision. We have admitted students with lower than  average GRE or GPA if, for example, their letters of reference  or personal statement were exceptionally strong. The average GPA of admitted applicants is 3.80 on a 4.00-point scale.  Average GRE scores can be seen towards the bottom of our application instructions. Students who apply to dual-degree programs, which require a special exam (e.g., GMAT or LSAT), must take the GRE exam as well. Students should consider taking the GRE early so that they have an opportunity to take it again - if they are not content with their scores - in order to still meet the Dec. 15 application deadline.
  • We strongly encourage students to submit reference letters from people who know them well and can reflect that knowledge in the letter. Letters from current or recent professors tend to be the most helpful and insightful. A combination of two letters from persons who can attest to an applicant’s academic interests and aptitude, and one letter from a current employer, is also acceptable. Applicants who have been away from school for a while are encouraged to look for at least one person who can comment on their academic background and strengths.

Dual-Degree Admissions

Prospective students submit a single Apply Texas application (and pay one fee) for the designated dual-degree major code. Each graduate program will independently review the application materials and it is possible to be admitted into one program but not the other (some students accept admission in one program and then re-apply to the other in the following year). Some base application materials are common to various programs (statement of purpose, GRE, transcripts, test scores, and test scores), but be careful to ensure that you are completing both sets of requirements, which can vary. For example, CMES requires a resume, but the other program might not. It is the student’s responsibility to ensure that each program receives the appropriate required materials by each program's deadline. For top applicants, CMES will consult with the other program in an attempt to devise a funding package which involves cost-sharing by each program.


The Center degree is interdisciplinary in nature. The degree program is quite flexible, but students who are interested in single discipline at the exclusion of others are encouraged to apply to other programs. If, for example, you are interested in Turkey’s political system, you will be able to take Turkish language courses and courses in history, social sciences, and arts/humanities that pertain to Turkey, but you must also expect to take courses that are of a general regional nature, or that pertain to other countries and political/cultural/religious systems in the Middle East.

Non-degree Seekers

The Center rarely admits non-degree seekers. Applications by non-degree seekers are considered only if a very strong case for admission is presented, and it is clear that the applicant, while in a position to function at the graduate level, is indeed not pursuing an advanced degree.

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    Calhoun Hall (CAL) 528
    Austin, TX 78712