Department of Middle Eastern Studies
Department of Middle Eastern Studies


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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.

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.

The Honors Thesis

The honors thesis is a significant, independent research project written on a topic of the student’s choosing. 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.

It is the student’s responsibility to secure a thesis supervisor, who must be a faculty member affiliated with CMES or DMES and who must be qualified to advise the student on the selected research topic. Usually, your supervisor should be a professor with whom you have previously worked. The second reader is usually a faculty member, but may in some cases be an expert in your field outside of the university. Approval for non-faculty readers should always be obtained from your specific department before making any firm commitments. A successful student-supervisor match is one of the most important elements for a successful thesis.

To enroll in the honors tutorial course, a student must submit to the undergraduate advisor an enrollment form documenting the proposed thesis topic, which must be approved by the thesis supervisor and honors advisor. 

Course requirements for the first semester will be arranged between the student and thesis supervisor, but typically includes assignments such as an annotated bibliography, thesis outline, and/or a single chapter. During the second semester, a completed thesis must be submitted to the supervisor and undergraduate advisor.

Eligibility and Admissions

Students interested in the honors program must have a minimum GPA of 3.00 or above, and a recommended GPA of 3.50 or above in the major. 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. 

Students should apply to the honors program in the spring of their junior year.

A completed application will 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.


Fall 2020 admission - April 10, 2020
Spring 2021 admission - November 6, 2020

Upon admission to the honors program, students must submit an Honors Tutorial Registration Form to confirm their pursuit of departmental honors and to be cleared to register for the honors course (679HA & 679HB).

Requirements for Graduation with Special Honors

  • Acceptance into the departmental honors program
  • 3.50 minimum GPA in coursework required for the major and for honors
  • 3.00 minimum overall GPA
  • Successful completion of the Honors Tutorial courses, with a grade of A in each half
  • Sixty semester hours completed in-residence


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.

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