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The M.A. in Asian and Middle Eastern Studies is a two-year, interdisciplinary humanities degree that prepares students to engage with the social, environmental, and political challenges facing countries in Asia and the Middle East, and their transnational communities. Students can choose between two tracks: the interdisciplinary track and the Chinese track. This degree will provide students with deep cultural knowledge of Asia and the Middle East while training them in the intellectual flexibility necessary to grasp and work with complex and dynamic issues as they arise. By applying humanist approaches to real world problems, students will learn to evaluate research and apply analytical methodologies from various disciplines to specific situations and questions. This intellectual flexibility, the hallmark of humanist approaches attuned to change and contingency, is foundational to the type of leadership necessary for an interconnected world.

Students in the M.A. program will be closely mentored by faculty with expertise in a range of fields, including anthropology, digital humanities, cinema and visual studies, diaspora studies, environmental humanities, folklore, gender and sexuality, health, history, linguistics, literature, performance studies, science studies, and urban studies. They may develop their linguistic expertise through coursework in one or more of the eight Asian and Middle Eastern languages we offer. Students will also have opportunities to develop transnational and trans-regional expertise related to their local, regional, and disciplinary field(s) of interest. Students will also hone their research skills by completing a substantive master’s thesis.

The individual course plans students will develop in close coordination with a faculty mentor will include a core seminar in approaches to Asian and Middle Eastern Studies and a research methodologies course. Students will also have access to courses in Asian and Middle Eastern Studies from other  UNC departments, including Anthropology, Art, English and Comparative Literature, Geography, Global Studies, History, Music, Religious Studies, and Sociology, and from Duke University. With careful advising, each M.A. student will create a coherent course of study that combines breadth with a disciplinary and geographic focus.

The M.A. in Asian and Middle Eastern Studies will prepare students linguistically, culturally, and intellectually for participation in top Ph.D. programs and for careers in government and non-profit and private sectors in or related to Asia and the Middle East. It is designed to complement professional degrees (e.g. in business, journalism, law, library and information science, global public health, medicine, public policy, social work) for students planning to practice abroad or with populations within the United States.

Questions about the M.A. program can be directed to the department’s Director of Graduate Studies.