Department of Middle Eastern Studies
Department of Middle Eastern Studies


persian tea and plate on a colorful pillow

Interested in pursuring Departmental Honors? Check out the MES Honors Manual

The Honors Thesis

The honors program in the Center for and Department of Middle Eastern Studies offer ambitious and academically talented students the opportunity to enhance their undergraduate curriculum with an honors thesis completed under the direction of one of our esteemed faculty members.The honors thesis is a significant, independent research project written on a topic of the student’s choosing in the field of Middle Eastern Studies. The thesis is completed during the last two semesters before graduation while enrolled in the appropriate 679H courses, Honors Tutorial A and B. These courses are three credits each. If a student earns an "A" in both thesis courses, they will graduate with Departmental Honors in Middle Eastern Studies.

Honors requirements are in addition to the requirements for the major. Honors tutorial courses may not apply to required upper-division hours in the major field of study.


Students interested in the honors program must have a minimum GPA of 3.00 or above, a recommended GPA of 3.50 or above in the major, at least 60 hours in-residence on record, and have only two long semesters remaining before graduation. Students may submit only one, original thesis to the honors program for our department. This means no student may submit the same thesis for two different programs. Plan II students, however, may choose to write an Honors Thesis for our department, and have this thesis satisfy their Plan II thesis requirement. Please be sure to discuss this plan with both your MES and Plan II advisors. 

Students typically apply to the honors program in the spring of their junior year, when they only the fall and spring semesters of their senior year left. 


To apply you must first attend a brief consultation with the Honors Program Supervisor, Dr. Karen Grumberg. As soon as you have an idea of your thesis topic, contact Dr. Grumberg via email to set up an appointment to discuss the expectations of the Honors Program, and how to select an appropriate Thesis Supervisor. Please do NOT approach any potential Thesis Supervisors until you have met with Dr. Grumberg. 

After the consultation with Dr. Grumberg, you may approach your intended Thesis Supervisor to ask if they are willing to serve as your Thesis Supervisor. It is the student’s responsibility to secure a Thesis Supervisor who is qualified to advise them on the selected research topic. You can look through our faculty profiles here, and determine which faculty member's areas of expertise align with your proposed thesis topic. Usually, your Supervisor should be a professor with whom you have previously worked, though you may approach a professor with whom you have not worked.

Then you may submit your application, which should include:

  1. Honors application form. This form will download automatically to your computer. You must open and complete this form using Adobe Acrobat in order for all fields to load properly. Do not attempt to complete this form using your web browser.
  2. Academic summary from the Registrar's Office (i.e. an unofficial transcript)
  3. Thesis proposal: A one-page statement outlining your proposed research project, including a discussion of your preparation to complete the project.
  4. Writing sample: A paper written for a course in the field of study selected above that demonstrates your skills in writing, critical thinking, and analysis.


Spring 2022 Application Due - April 22, 2022

Course Requirements

Upon admission to the honors program, students must submit an Honors Registration Form to be cleared to register for the honors course (679HA & 679HB). Course requirements for the first semester will be arranged between the student and thesis supervisor, but typically students focus on research, and assignments often include an annotated bibliography, thesis outline, and/or a single chapter. During the second semester, the student focuses on writing, and a completed thesis must be submitted to the supervisor and undergraduate advisor by the end of the semester.

Requirements for Graduation with Departmental Honors

  • You are accepted into the Departmental Honors program
  • You successfully complete both the Thesis A and Thesis B courses
  • You present your thesis research at the Honors Colloquium, typically held in mid-April
  • You maintain an in-major gpa of at least 3.50

MES does not require a formal thesis defense for undergradate honors theses. 

Rapoport-King Thesis Scholarships 

Students in Plan I who write a thesis as part of a Departmental Honors program are eligible to apply for the Rapoport-King Thesis Scholarship. The scholarship is $3,000 for the student and a $1,000 research stipend for the supervising faculty member. The application requires a thesis proposal, statement of financial need, and a letter of recommendation from your thesis supervisor, all of which should be submitted through the scholarship portal. Fellows will be chosen on basis of academic record, the quality of the thesis proposal, and financial need. The deadline for applications is usually the end of September.

  •   Map
  • Middle Eastern Studies

    The University of Texas at Austin
    204 W 21st Street Stop F9400
    Calhoun Hall (CAL) 528
    Austin, TX 78712