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MIRS: MENAS Specialization

The Masters in International and Regional Studies (MIRS)  Middle Eastern & North African studies (MENAS) specialization is designed for students interested in understanding the peoples, cultures, and languages in the MENA region. The program prepares students for onward graduate education, as well as placement into jobs in the private, government, or non-profit sectors. It is ideal for students with in-country experience who want to channel their talents, advance their language competence, and join an intellectual community of specialists in a vibrant interdisciplinary environment.

Anchored in the Center for Middle Eastern & North African Studies (CMENAS), the MIRS MENAS specialization draws upon CMENAS’s depth of scholarship and research in the region: 125 faculty members working in 17 disciplines and professional schools, including history, anthropology, political science, law, and public policy. CMENAS provides advanced training in MENA languages, literatures, and cultures. U-M’s world-renowned museums and libraries enrich students’ classroom experiences.

Curriculum (36 credits)

MIRS students will complete a total of 36 credits, distributed over at least two academic disciplines, at the 400-level or above. 27 of these credits are determined by the specialization. The remaining 9 credits are required for all MIRS students. MIRS requirements include two core courses and a graduate colloquium. In addition, MIRS students will have access to a graduate professional development workshop.

MIRS Requirements (9 credits)

Core Courses

  • Research Design Seminar: Students will sharpen critical thinking, analytical skills, research design, and writing strategies. (3 credits)
  • Capstone: To complete the program, students will dedicate effort to their capstone, either in research, coursework, or work experience related to their specialization. Select one of the below options: (4 credits)
    • Master’s Thesis: research project supervised by a faculty member
    • Additional Research Seminars: completion of graduate seminars with a substantial independent research component
    • Practicum: internship or work experience related to the specialization combined with a related academic component

Graduate Colloquium

Students will participate in two semesters of engaged discussions covering topics of global significance, including programs (guest lectures and relevant events) and participation in moderated online and in-person discussions. (2 credits)

Middle Eastern & North African Studies: Specialization Requirements (27 credits)

The Middle Eastern & North African Studies specialization provides broad area and language training at the graduate level for students with either academic or professional aims. The versatility allows students to take courses from schools and colleges across the university and uniquely tailor their overall coursework to their specific interests.

Intermediate language proficiency is required. The following languages have been approved for use in the MIRS Middle East and North African Studies specialization for the language requirement: Arabic, Armenian, Coptic, French, Hebrew, Modern Aramaic, Persian, Turkish, Uyghur, and Uzbek. Approval may also be provided for additional languages connected to the region.

Sample Plan of Study:

MA: International and Regional Studies
Specialization: Middle Eastern & North African Studies (MENAS)
Capstone Project: Practicum

Year 1

FALL (10 credits)

Colloquium (required core class)


Research Design (II, required core class)


CMENAS Colloquium


Protests and Conflict in Israel (History)


Fifth Year Arabic I


WINTER (11 credits)

Islamic Intellectual History (Islam)


Colloquium (II, required core class)


Research Design (II, required core class)


Muslim Ethics in the Global Age (Middle Eastern Studies)  


Fifth Year Arabic II


Year 2

FALL (12 credits)

Crusade and Jihad in the Medieval Middle East (Italian)


Everyday Lives in the Middle East: Anthropological Perspectives (Middle Eastern Studies)


Seminar in Middle Eastern Study: Literature (Middle Eastern Studies)


Modern Arabic Fiction


WINTER (4 credits)

Practicum Capstone


Total Credits


For more information, contact