The Middle Eastern languages and cultures major allows students to pursue range of interests in the languages and cultures of the Middle East, including study of Arabic, Hebrew, Persian, and Turkish. It emphasizes the acquisition of a Middle Eastern language as well as cultural studies, with particular strengths in literature, material culture, art history, and music. This model encourages us all to look beyond the boundaries of language and nation that sometimes obscure our view of the Middle East as a region with a shared past, present, and future.
Undergraduates currently enrolled at UT who wish to declare a Middle Eastern language and cultures major must first meet with a Middle Eastern studies advisor. There is no formal application process. For more information, visit the student affairs page on how to declare a major.
Prospective University of Texas at Austin students should visit to learn about the application process and how to declare a major.
Visit the Middle Eastern languages and cultures degree plan to see all required courses for the Middle Eastern languages and cultures major in the College of Liberal Arts. For additional information, view major requirements and Middle Eastern languages and cultures course descriptions.
Students in both tracks (Literatures & Cultures and Language) take MEL 301 "Gateway to the Middle East" and an upper-division capstone course, MEL 323 "Engaging the Middle East". Gateway is structured thematically, linking various aspects of Middle Eastern cultures through a set of broad themes, and will showcase Middle Eastern Studies faculty as guest lecturers throughout the semester. Engaging the Middle East is a capstone course that will allow MELC majors in the last year of their studies to synthesize and share with each other their knowledge of the Middle East. It will provide students with the opportunity to read and think critically about seminal works, and to design and undertake a major research project that draws on their work in the course as well as on their studies as a whole and their language skills.
The Middle Eastern languages and cultures major has two tracks:
- Literatures and Cultures: the Lit/Culture track gives students the opportunity to gain deep cultural understanding of the Middle East as a region. Students may choose to focus on a particular cultural area within the Middle East, such as the Ancient Near East, or study different literatures and cultures comparatively.
- Language: the Languages track focuses on in-depth study of one or two languages of the Middle East, situated within their cultural environment.
Middle Eastern language and culture students have a passion for learning foreign languages and wish to immerse themselves in the complex cultures of the Middle East. Students in this major plan to engage in academic and career-related pursuits related to the Middle East and typically study or travel abroad.
The Middle Eastern languages and cultures major, as with most Liberal Arts majors, develops students' critical thinking, writing, and research skills as they immerse themselves in the literatures, cultures, and languages of the Middle East. Middle Eastern language and culture majors will become proficient in a related foreign language of their choosing: Arabic, Hebrew, Persian, or Turkish. This major provides students with a strong set of transferrable skills, as well as an in-depth knowledge and appreciation of the literature, culture, art, and music of the Middle East applicable to a number of different career fields and/or graduate study.