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Middle East and North African Studies, Bachelor

  • Application Deadline
  • 48 months
University rank #24 (WUR) Evanston, IL, United States
The Middle East and North African Studies program of Northwestern University offers undergraduates the opportunity to pursue and develop their interests in the history, languages, literatures, politics and societies of this large and diverse region of the world.
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The Middle East and North African Studies program of Northwestern University is a combination of courses offered by the MENA program and those that originate in other departments but taught by MENA faculty affiliates (these courses appear on a list of preapproved courses; see the Course Guide posted elsewhere on this site). Students pursuing the major may also petition the MENA Director to consider other courses not listed on the Course Guide if she or he can demonstrate their relevance to their course of study.

The centerpiece of the major is MENA 301, a three-course sequence that is the key, formative experience for students majoring in Middle East and North African studies. Each academic year, three faculty affiliated with MENA will teach 301 (one each quarter). Together, these faculty members will choose an overarching theme for the year (e.g., Revolution; Politics and Culture; the Middle East and the World). Each seminar will be tailored to the professor’s own strengths and disciplinary focus and will be an independent course with no prerequisite for enrollment, nor any expectation that students will have taken the other courses in the sequence. Thus students should feel free to take one, two, or all three courses in any given year.

Career paths

What can't one do with a Middle East and North African Studies major or minor? This plan of study gives students a sophisticated critical understanding of one of the most important regions in our contemporary world. At the same time, MENA students learn to interrogate the world and themselves through the lens of other languages and cultures. They hone their aptitude for asking good questions and analyzing problems, conducting research, and effectively presenting ideas in writing or in speech. Such skills, knowledge, and habits of mind are the hallmarks of a rigorous liberal arts education at a great university like Northwestern. These abilities provide a foundation for success in a wide range of careers. Some of our graduates go on to law, foreign service, management, or medical schools with the intention of practicing their professions abroad where they can make use of their specialized area knowledge. Others move directly into jobs with schools, businesses, media, government, or non-profit organizations. Some go on to graduate study in the humanities, social sciences, or the natural or life sciences—sometimes with a continuing focus on Middle East and North African society, culture, and/or politics—with the aim of working in academe or of pursuing one of a myriad of possible career paths. Some graduates work primarily in the Middle East or elsewhere overseas, while others remain in North America or live and work in a variety of places. On the whole, our graduates enjoy career success in an array of professions.

Detailed Programme Facts

  • Programme intensity Full-time
    • Full-time duration 48 months
  • Credits
    120 alternative credits
  • Languages
    • English
  • Delivery mode
    On Campus

Programme Structure

Courses include:

  • Arabic
  • Conversation and Culture in the Arab World
  • Reading Classical Arabic Texts (in Arabic)
  • Hebrew
  • Topics in Hebrew Literature
  • Making the Modern Middle East: Culture, Politics, History

English Language Requirements

This programme may require students to demonstrate proficiency in English.

General Requirements

  • Common Application or Coalition Application
  • Official secondary school transcript and school report
  • Counselor recommendation
  • At least one teacher recommendation
  • SAT or ACT scores
  • Official TOEFL or IELTS scores (ONLY required for international applicants whose first language is not English or whose schooling has not been in English)
  • Nonrefundable application fee of $75 or application fee waiver
  • Early Decision Agreement (ONLY Early Decision applicants)
  • Midyear transcript
  • Music audition (ONLY School of Music applicants)
  • Required for homeschooled applicants ONLY: 3 SAT subject tests 

Tuition Fee

  • International

    56232 USD/year
    Tuition Fee
    Based on the original amount of 56232 USD per year and a duration of 48 months.
  • National

    56232 USD/year
    Tuition Fee
    Based on the original amount of 56232 USD per year and a duration of 48 months.
We've labeled the tuition fee that applies to you because we think you are from and prefer over other currencies.

Living costs for Evanston

  • 1100 - 1500 USD/month
    Living Costs

The living costs include the total expenses per month, covering accommodation, public transportation, utilities (electricity, internet), books and groceries.


Studyportals Tip: Students can search online for independent or external scholarships that can help fund their studies. Check the scholarships to see whether you are eligible to apply. Many scholarships are either merit-based or needs-based.


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