Department of Middle Eastern Studies
Department of Middle Eastern Studies

Dual Degree Program in Middle Eastern Studies and Public Affairs

The Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs and the Center for Middle Eastern Studies offer a joint program leading to the Master of Public Affairs and the Master of Arts in Middle Eastern Studies. The program combines advanced policy studies with interdisciplinary area studies, responding to an increased need in both public and private sectors for policy specialists with a thorough understanding of the economics, geography, history, and culture of the Middle East and North Africa.

The joint program is structured so that students can earn both master's degrees simultaneously in three academic years. Some students, particularly those who enter the program with a language deficiency, may find it necessary to enroll for an additional semester or summer session in order to complete all the requirements of the program. Degrees are awarded when the required coursework in both areas is completed.


Prospective dual degree students must apply separately to both programs and fulfill the distinct application requirements and deadlines of each. It is the applicant’s responsibility to ensure that the appropriate materials are sent to the respective departments. An applicant must be accepted to each individual program in order to be admitted to the dual program. Please review the Admissions section of this website for a list of Center application requirements.

Degree Requirements

Students must complete a minimum of 36 semester hours in public affairs and 33 semester hours in Middle Eastern Studies, including a master's professional report and summer internship. Although the program is flexible, students will generally take courses in both public affairs and Middle Eastern studies every semester and take the internship in the summer between the second and third years. The particular requirements for the programs are:

Public Affairs:

  • 7 required public affairs core courses
  • 6 hours of Policy Research Project
  • 9 hours of public affairs electives
  • Summer internship (in or related to the Middle East)

Middle Eastern Studies:

MA with thesis (30 hours)

  • 4 courses (12 credits):  MES graduate courses
  • 2 courses (12 credits): Upper-division language courses: Arabic, Persian, Turkish, or Hebrew. 
  • 2 courses (6 credits):  Concentration courses to be approved by Graduate Adviser.* 
  • 2 courses (6 credits):  Thesis courses:  MES 698A & 698B. Taken on the CR/NC grade basis. Thesis courses are sequential and contrary to their numbering are 3 credit hours each.

MA with report (33 hours)

  • 5 courses (15 credits): MES graduate courses
  • 2 courses (6 credits): Upper-division language courses: Arabic, Persian, Turkish, or Hebrew.
  • 3 courses (9 credits): Concentration courses to be approved by Graduate Adviser.*
  • 1 course (3 credits):  Report course:  MES 398R. Taken on the CR/NC grade basis.

All courses on the program of work must be taken on a letter-grade basis. 
Language Requirement
Students must complete two upper-division or graduate-level in-residence courses conducted in one Middle Eastern language (Arabic, Hebrew, Persian, Tajiki, or Turkish) while enrolled in the degree program. *Students who wish to earn a language concentration may use their concentration credits to pursue additional language study, including a second Middle Eastern language at the first-year level. 

Native speakers of a Middle Eastern language must complete these courses in a second Middle Eastern language.

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    Calhoun Hall (CAL) 528
    Austin, TX 78712