Programs by Campus

Bloomington

Middle Eastern Languages and Cultures

Hamilton Lugar School of Global and International Studies
College of Arts and Sciences

Departmental E-mail: melc@indiana.edu

Departmental URL: https://melc.indiana.edu/ 

The Department of Middle Eastern Languages and Cultures is affiliated with the Hamilton Lugar School of Global and International Studies (HLS) in the College of Arts and Sciences, dedicated to providing Indiana University graduate students with the intellectual tools they will need to live, work, and thrive in the globalized world of the twenty-first century.  Degree programs associated with HLS emphasize language proficiency, cultural competency, and in-depth training in qualitative and quantitative methodologies.  HLS students enjoy unparalleled access to a stellar faculty and professional development opportunities.  For further information regarding the mission, structure and resources of the Hamilton Lugar School of Global and International Studies see http://hls.indiana.edu/.

(Please note that when conferring University Graduate School degrees, minors, certificates, and sub-plans, The University Graduate School’s staff use those requirements contained only in The University Graduate School Bulletin.)

Curriculum

Curriculum
Courses
Crosslisted Courses
Faculty

Special Departmental Requirements

(See also general University Graduate School requirements.)

Admission Requirements

International applicants (non-U.S. citizens, non green–card holders) whose native language is not English are required to submit TOEFL or IELTS scores only. U.S. ap­plicants (U.S. citizens or green–card holders) or students whose native language is English are required to submit GRE scores only. Applicants from any country of which the principal language is not English must take the TOEFL, even if they consider themselves to have native or near-native fluency in English. Consult with the Director of Graduate Studies for more information.

Exceptions:

  1. International applicants who have their bachelor’s degree from an institution of which English is the language of instruction may submit a GRE score in lieu of a TOEFL. However, it may be to their advantage to submit a TOEFL if their GRE Verbal Reasoning score is below the fiftieth percentile. Consult the Director of Graduate Studies or Chair.
  2. S. citizens who have been educated abroad (e.g., dual nationals from the Arab world) and have their bachelor’s degree from non-U.S., non–English language institutions, should normally submit TOEFL scores only. Consult the Director of Graduate Studies or Chair.
Master of Arts in Middle Eastern Languages and Cultures (MELC)

Course Requirements (See special requirements below for the MELC Egyptology M.A. track and for the dual O’Neill SPEA M.P.A./MELC M.A.)

Students must take a minimum of 36 credit hours of graduate courses in Middle Eastern studies. These can be courses offered by the MELC department itself or, with the approval of the MELC Director of Graduate Studies and Chair, courses offered by other departments or schools appropriate to the course of study of the student. Each student's curriculum must be approved by the Director of Graduate Studies.

  1. 6 credits of the required course work must be fulfilled by the courses in two of the following fields: the ancient (pre-Islamic), pre-modern (medieval), or modern (1500 CE to present) history of the Middle East, chosen with the approval of the Director of Graduate Studies.
  2. At least 3 credit hours of the course work must be fulfilled by a methodology / theory course from a discipline in the student's personal academic interest, selected with the approval of the Director of Graduate Studies.
  3. At least 12 credit hours of language coursework in Arabic, Hebrew, Persian, or Turkish. For this requirement, students choose one of the two options below:
  • “One major language" track: In this option, students are required to complete 12 credits in their chosen Middle Eastern (ME) Language. Out of these 12 credits, at least 6 credits must be obtained through language study at the fourth-year Advanced Level. In the case of Arabic, this is Advanced Arabic III (3 credits) and Advanced Arabic IV (3 credits). In the case of other major MELC languages, the equivalent must be completed. Students who begin their M.A. program at the fourth-year level or above may, with the prior approval of the course instructor and Director of Graduate Studies, count non-language courses in which they make substantial use of their major MELC language toward the 12 credits. These are courses in which the student reads primary sources in the chosen language. In the case of Hebrew, language credits can be fulfilled with a combination of Modern and Biblical Hebrew courses. "Two languages" track: In this option, in addition to a major ME language as described above, the student also chooses a second ME language and is required to fulfill 6 credits at the Intermediate (second-year) Level or above.

Examinations

At the conclusion of their coursework, the following additional requirements must be met:

  1. Students who are not native speakers of their major language will take a two-hour comprehensive exam in their major language, which will (a) test all four language skills (reading, writing, listening comprehension, and speaking) and (b) include a translation exercise. Students who are native speakers of their major language will normally take a comprehensive language exam in their minor language at the highest level attained, but at least Intermediate II. Students who are native speakers of their major language and who are following the "one major language" (terminal M.A.) track, and who have not studied a minor language, will take a two-hour written examination in a subject area to be agreed upon with the Director of Graduate Studies.
  2. Take a two-hour comprehensive exam in history covering two of the following three areas: ancient, pre-modern/medieval, and/or modern Middle East.
  3. Submit a suitable term or seminar paper substantially revised and expanded, which must demonstrate the following:
  • A clear understanding of the chosen topic;
  • The ability to conceive and carry out an original project of a scholarly nature, including the use of primary and secondary texts in the original language, where appropriate;
  • An advanced level of critical or theoretical insight;
  • Excellent command of academic English;
  • Competence in the proper use of research and bibliographic tools.

The paper must be modeled, both in format and in intellectual substance, on articles that would be acceptable for publication in a scholarly journal of an appropriate sub-discipline of Middle Eastern Studies.

Students must notify the Director of Graduate Studies of their intention to take the M.A. examinations before the end of the preceding semester. The examining committee will be composed of three faculty members, including the faculty members responsible for the language exam, the history exam, and the individual research paper. If additional faculty readers are required to fill the committee, they will be appointed by the Director of Graduate Studies. All examiners and readers must be members of the MELC Graduate Faculty; any exceptions must be approved in writing by the Department Chair. The exams should be taken and the paper submitted in the final semester of the student's coursework or shortly thereafter, in accordance with the University Graduate School rules.

Students who fail an exam may be offered one opportunity to retake it. Those who do not successfully pass the exams by the end of their sixth semester may be placed on probation and subsequently dismissed from the program for lack of progress as described in the "Academic Regulations" section of the Bulletin.

Special Requirements for the M.A. Track in Egyptology

1) The M.A. requires a minimum of 36 graduate-level credits in ancient Egyptian language, civilization, and appropriate electives, including up to six credits of M.A. thesis research.

2) An M.A. thesis is required.

3) Students will demonstrate reading proficiency in scholarly French or German by the end of the first year, either by completing a 492-level course, or by passing the proficiency examination administered by the Bloomington Evaluation Services and Testing office. Note that 400-level language courses taken to acquire and demonstrate modern-language proficiency do not count towards the 36 graduate credits required for the M.A.

4) At the conclusion of their course work, students will take written examinations in Egyptian history (two hours), in Egyptian religion (two hours), and take a translation examination in Middle Egyptian (two hours). Students may request a waiver of one, two, or all three of these exams if they have earned an A in all relevant courses, and they have cumulative GPA of 3.5 or better as of the end of the semester before graduation is expected. This request will be considered at the end of the fourth week of the student's final semester, and will be approved for students whose thesis is well in hand, and who are performing at a high level in all current classes.

Model two-year curriculum (substitutions based on previous coursework or student interest must be approved by the track advisor.)

Year 1 - Fall: MELC-E500, Elementary Hieroglyphic Egyptian I (3 credits). MELC-E505, Seminar in Ancient Egyptian History I (3 credits). Elective chosen in consultation with program advisor. Recommended subjects include Virtual Heritage; Coptic; Classical Greek; Biblical Hebrew; Arabic; anthropology/archaeology; historical linguistics; ancient history; art history (3-6 credits). Spring: MELC-E550; Elementary Hieroglyphic Egyptian II (3 credits). MELC-E510; Seminar in Religions of Ancient Egypt (3 credits). Elective chosen in consultation with program advisor. Recommended subjects include Virtual Heritage; Coptic; Classical Greek; Biblical Hebrew; Arabic; anthropology/archaeology; historical linguistics; ancient history; art history (3-6 credits).

Year 2 - Fall: MELC E-507, Seminar in Ancient Egyptian History II (3 credits); MELC-E600, Intermediate Middle Egyptian (3 credits). MELC-E660, Demotic I: Grammar and Script (3 credits). Spring: MELC-E650, Late Egyptian: Grammar and Texts (3 credits). MELC-E670, Demotic II: Persian and Ptolemaic Texts (3 credits). MELC-N710, Thesis Research (1-3 credits).

Special Requirements for the Dual M.P.A./M.A. in Middle Eastern Languages and Cultures and the School of Public and Environmental Affairs

The Department of Middle Eastern Languages and Cultures and the O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs jointly offer a three-year program that qualifies students for a dual master’s degree. The first semester of course work toward the dual degree may be completed in the O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs to complete prerequisite courses that are only offered in the fall semester.  Under this program, the degrees must be awarded simultaneously.

Admission Requirements

Same as for the Master of Arts degree except that application must also be made to the O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs for study toward the Master of Public Affairs degree. Students must be accepted by both units to be admitted to the dual degree program.  Students may apply for admission to both programs simultaneously.  Alternatively, students may apply first for the M.A. in Middle Eastern Languages and Cultures and apply for the O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs M.P.A. program during their first year of study; they can then enter the dual degree program in their second year of study.

Students pursuing a dual Master of Public Affairs/Master of Arts in Middle Eastern Languages and Cultures will complete a total of 66 credit hours: 36 credit hours in the Master of Public Affairs program plus 30 credit hours in Middle Eastern Languages and Cultures.

Public and Environmental Affairs Course Requirements

M.P.A. Core (18 credits)

  • SPEA V502 Public Management
  • SPEA V506 Statistical Analysis for Effective Decision Making
  • SPEA V517 Public Management Economics
  • SPEA V540 Law and Public Affairs
  • SPEA V600 Capstone in Public and Environmental Affairs

M.P.A. Concentration (18 credits)

Students will complete 18 credit hours pertaining to one of the specialized concentration areas of the MPA, with courses to be chosen in consultation with a O’Neil School  faculty advisor.

MELC Requirements; Course Work, Research Language, Paper, and Examinations

M.A. in Middle Eastern Languages and Cultures (30 credits)

Students will complete 12-18 credits in graduate-level courses on the culture, history, politics, and religious traditions of the Middle East.

Students will complete 12-18 credit hours of graduate level courses in an appropriate Middle Eastern language. Students should complete their language to at least the third year level (i.e., in the case of Arabic, to the level of A670, Advanced Arabic II), and must take no fewer than 12 credits of language courses. For students who begin their program with a high level of proficiency in their major language (whether attained through previous instruction or because they are native speakers), the 12-hour minimum in language can include seminars or research courses with substantial content in the major language, to be approved by the MELC Director of Graduate Studies.

Students will submit a term or seminar paper (i.e., a paper originally written in one of their courses) substantially revised and expanded, and meeting the following criteria:

  1. A clear understanding of the chosen topic
  2. Demonstrated ability to conceive and carry out an original project of a scholarly nature, including the use of primary and secondary texts in the original language, where appropriate
  3. An advanced level of critical or theoretical insight
  4. Excellent command of expository English
  5. Competence in the proper use of research and bibliographic tools

The paper should be suitable in form and content for publication in a professional journal in a recognized sub-field of Middle Eastern Studies.

Students will undergo two, two-hour comprehensive examinations in Middle Eastern language, history and culture. Students who are not native-speakers of their major language will undergo a four-skill language examination, along with a two-hour written examination in Middle Eastern history. Students who are native speakers of their major language will undergo a two-hour history examination and a second two-hour examination in a field to be determined in consultation with Middle Eastern Languages and Cultures Director of Graduate Studies.

Select List of Representative MELC Courses that may Count towards the Dual Degree:

  • MELC-A600 Intermediate Arabic I
  • MELC-A660 Advanced Arabic I
  • MELC-M611 Isis and Terrorism
  • MELC-M650 Modern Iran
  • MELC-M695 Graduate Topics in MELC; recent topics include The Cultural History of the Middle East; Research Politics of Muslim Countries; States and Societies in Muslim Central Asia and the Middle East; Islam and Politics in Muselim Central Asia and the Middle East; Representations of Islam and Mulsims in Ethnographic Literature of Central Asia and the Middle East; African and Middle Eastern Narratives; Muslim Immigration and Minorities in the West; Researching Civil War (crosslisted with POLS-Y657)
  • NELC-N682 Islam and Modernity

Note on Tuition Costs:

Students in this dual-degree program may find variance in their tuition charges. There is no standardized method of coding students in dual-degree programs. The O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs and the College of Arts and Sciences charge different graduate tuition rates per credit hour.  The school in which you register each semester may depend on your funding.  Students must consult with both units to determine in which school they should register each semester.

For more information see: https://bulletins.iu.edu/iu/spea/2018-2019/programs/bloomington/mpa_dual/other.shtml.

Doctor of Philosophy Degree in Middle Eastern Languages and Cultures (MELC)

Admission Requirements

The Graduate Record Examination General Test (GRE) is required for domestic applicants or international applicants from countries of which the principal language is English (e.g., the U.K., Canada, Australia). International applicants from any country of which the principal language is not English are required to submit TOEFL or IELTS scores. Students do not need to hold an M.A. for admission to the Ph.D. program. Students should include a writing sample as part of their application for admission. Students with an M.A. from the Indiana University Department of Middle Eastern Languages and Cultures (MELC) will be asked to submit a state­ment of their Ph.D. plans as part of their admission dossier to the Ph.D. program. Successful completion of the MELC M.A. does not guarantee admission to the MELC Ph.D. program.

Course Requirements

A minimum of 90 credit hours of graduate work (including credits earned for the M.A.), plus dissertation. The students’ courses must be approved by the Ph.D. advisor and the Direc­tor of Graduate Studies.

Language Requirements

Three languages are required for the MELC Ph.D.:

  1. Major Middle Eastern language (normally Arabic; Persian or Turkish also available): Non-native speakers must demonstrate proficiency in their major Middle Eastern language equivalent to the sixth year of study. This requirement may be satisfied by coursework, passing a proficiency examination, or a combination of the two. Native speakers must write at least two substantial research papers (about 25 pages or more) in which the majority of their sources are in the major language.
  2. Secondary Middle Eastern language (normally Persian or Turkish; other options include Hebrew, Kurdish and Ancient Egyptian): Students must demonstrate proficiency equivalent to the second year of study. This requirement may be satisfied by coursework, passing a proficiency examination, or a combination of the two.
  3. European research language (normally French or German; another relevant European language may be substituted by departmental permission): By the end of their second year of study, students must pass the BEST proficiency test or pass the second semester of the appropriate graduate student reading course in the selected European research language.
  4. Please Note —Graduate language reading course in French, German, Spanish, , do not count towards the credit hours required for a MELC graduate degree. 
  5. Arabic pedagogy requirement: All students focusing on Arabic and Islamic Studies will take MELC-M 698, “Introduction to Arabic Pedagogy.” This course may be used to fulfill the Primary Field, Secondary Concentration, or MELC distribution requirements. 
  6. For students who begin their program with a high level of proficiency in their major or minor language (whether attained through previous instruction or because they are native speakers), the language should be satisfied by seminars or research courses with substantial content in the major language, to be approved by the MELC Director of Graduate Studies and documented in writing by the course

Outside Minor

Students are required to minor in an outside department or program. Students must fulfill the relevant department’s rules for outside minors. The choice of minor should be made in consultation with the student's graduate advisor and the Director of Graduate Studies.

Qualifying Examination

Upon completion of their coursework, students will take written qualifying examinations. The oral examination must be taken within four weeks of the written examinations. This exam should be taken when the student has completed all coursework and language requirements, but no later than seven years after the earliest coursework the student intends to count towards the degree. Exam dates will not be approved until all grades of incomplete have been cleared and all transfer credits have been processed. Students will be examined on one major and two minor MELC fields. The three fields should be approved by the DGS. In consultation with their advisory committee Chair and the members of their examination committee, Ph.D. students may choose to complete their qualifying examinations in one of three ways: (1) students may take one four-hour exam in their major field, and one three-hour exam in each of their minor MELC fields, to be taken during a single two-day exam period; (2) Students may sit the exams as take-home exams, and take up to three days to complete their major field exam, and up to two days to complete each of their minor field exams; (3) Students may write research papers on subjects corresponding to their major and minor fields; they will have up to one month to complete these research papers. Upon successful completion of the written examinations, a student will take the oral examination within four weeks of the written examination. These examinations may be retaken once in whole or in part at the discretion of the examination committee. The minor department may choose to give an exam.

Final Examination

The final examination will consist of an oral defense of the dissertation conducted by the members of the student's research committee.

Ph.D. Minor in Middle Eastern Languages and Cultures

Students from other departments are welcome to minor in Middle Eastern Languages and Cultures as part of their doctoral program. To do so, they are required to take at least 12 credit hours of graduate-level course work, to be approved by the Director of Graduate Studies so as to form a coherent program. Students must maintain a 3.0 grade point average for the minor as a whole. Up to 12 credit hours may be transferred from other institutions toward the MELC outside Ph.D. minor, but at least 6 credit hours must be completed in the IU MELC depart­ment.

Termination of Enrollment in the Doctoral Program

If a doctoral student fails the written qualifying examinations twice, fails the oral qualifying exam twice, falls below a 3.5 av­erage, or fails to complete the written and oral examinations by the end of the approved length of time, the director of gradu­ate studies, in consultation with the research committee, can initiate steps to terminate the student’s enrollment in the program.

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