Requirements for the Majors in Middle Eastern Studies and South Asian Studies
- Grade of C or better in MEST 1100 (for the Middle East concentrations) or SAST 1100 (for the South Asia concentrations);
- Grade of C or better in each semester of 2010 and 2020, or 2060 in Arabic, Hebrew, Hindi, Persian, Sanskrit, or Urdu.
- 30 credits in MESALC and related courses, with the following distribution:
- 6 credits of language study beyond the 2020 level
- MEST 4991 – 3 credits
- 7 courses, each at least 3 credits, in one of two regional concentrations (Middle East or South Asia), that satisfy the following criteria:
- History: 1 course must have the mnemonic HIME or HISA, according to the student’s concentration
- Literature: 1 course must be in a relevant literature (including literature-in-translation courses)
- Distribution: 1 course from at least 3 different departments; and
- Concentration: at least 3 courses must come from the same department
- Double majoring is encouraged, but students are reminded that 18 credits in each major must come from courses unique to that major; only 12 credits may be shared;
- Students are reminded that USEM credits can not count toward major requirements;
- A maximum of 12 study abroad and domestic transfer credits are allowed, with the permission of the major advisor;
- Students in this major must maintain a satisfactory grade point average in major courses each semester. Satisfactory is defined as an average of C (i.e., 2.0). Students not maintaining this grade point average may be discontinued from the major.
Requirements for the Minors in Middle Eastern Studies and South Asian Studies
- 202-level in a MESALC language. A grade of C or higher must be earned each semester 101-202
- At least 18 credits in one of the two regional concentrations (Middle East or South Asia). Language courses beyond 202 may be counted for this. Of those 18 credits:
- a minimum of 3 courses, each carrying at least 3 credits, must be from regional concentration courses in any one department: Anthropology, Art History, History, MESALC, Politics, and Religious Studies;
- at least 1 course, carrying at least 3 credits, must come from a content course in MESALC; and
- no more than 9 credits may be from any one department outside MESALC.
- Students are reminded that credits applied to a minor may not be applied to a major.
The advisor for this minor is the same as for the major. Students wishing to declare this for their minor course of study must see the advisor.
Requirements for the Majors in Middle Eastern Languages and Literatures and South Asian Languages and Literatures
- 2020 (or 2060) level of a MESALC language. A grade of C or higher must be earned in each semester of 2010-2020 (or 2060).
- MEST 1100 (for Middle Eastern Language majors) or SAST 1100 (for South Asian Language majors). This course must be passed with a grade of C or better.
- 30 credits in MESALC and related courses, of which
- 18 credits (6 courses) must be in one MESALC language (above the 2020 (or 2060) level), or, at the discretion of the student’s advisor, 12 in one and at least 6 in a second language in the same region; Tibetan may be used as a second language in the South Asian region. Biblical Hebrew may be used as a second language in the Middle East region. The 12 credits for the first language must be beyond the 2020 level. The 6 credits for the second language may be taken at any level.
- 12 credits (4 courses) of the 30 must be in MESALC and related courses, of which
- 6 credits must be in regional concentration courses from 2 of the following 6 areas: MESALC (non-grammar courses, usually numbered above 3000), Anthropology, Art History, History, Politics, and Religious Studies; and
- 6 credits are to be determined in consultation with the student’s advisor. These courses may be further MESALC language study or non-language, regional concentration courses in MESALC or another department.
- A maximum of 15 study abroad credits and domestic transfer credits are allowed at the discretion of the major advisor.
It is crucial that language training begin early in the student’s career, and we encourage students to consider summer language study and study abroad programs. (See the Study Abroad Programs section below.)
Students in this major must maintain a satisfactory grade point average in major and related courses each semester. Satisfactory is defined as an average of C (2.0). Students not maintaining this grade point average may be discontinued from the major.
Students should check with their advisor concerning the current availability of this major in the language or languages of their interest.
The Distinguished Majors Program
MESALC offers a Distinguished Majors Program that allows qualified majors to pursue in-depth analysis of issues and topics related to the major.
To qualify, students must meet the general requirements of their MESALC major with the following modifications. They:
- Distinguished Majors must take 12 credits of concentration courses at the 4000 level or above, including MESA 4998, a six-credit sequence of tutorial work on a senior thesis to be completed over the fall and spring semesters of the fourth year.
- Students must obtain the agreement of a faculty member to serve as thesis advisor (“first reader”) and a second faculty member (who may come from a different department) to serve as second reader. Students are encouraged to use primary language sources in researching their theses.
Admission into the Distinguished Majors Program occurs in the spring semester of a student’s third year. Applicants must be in either the Middle Eastern and South Asian Studies Major or the Middle Eastern and South Asian Languages and Literatures Major, with major and general GPAs of at least 3.4. Applications must be submitted by the second Monday after spring break of the student’s third year, and should include the following:
- A statement of interest that explains the student’s desire to enter the program and his or her general area of research interest;
- A letter of recommendation from a faculty member in the student’s concentration, either sent directly to the MESALC Chair or sealed and submitted by the student with other materials; and a copy of the student’s most recent transcript.
Decisions concerning admission to the DMP are made by early April.
Commencement honors of Distinction, High Distinction and Highest Distinction require a minimum GPA of 3.4, as well as timely completion of the senior thesis. Honors are awarded on the basis of overall academic performance, as well as the recommendation of the first and second readers of the thesis.
Study Abroad Programs
University of Virginia-Yarmouk University Summer Arabic Program MESA-LC administers a summer Arabic program at Yarmouk University in Irbid, Jordan, which provides an opportunity to study Arabic intensively at the intermediate and advanced levels. The program occasionally receives grants from which it can offer fellowships. Additional information can be found at www.virginia.edu/arabic/yarmuk_program.htm.
In addition to study abroad programs administered by UVa, students are encouraged to develop their language skills at the many other study-abroad programs that are available throughout the Middle East and South Asia. Faculty are happy to advise students concerning appropriate programs, and program descriptions and advice are also available from the International Studies Office in Minor Hall. Students are particularly encouraged to participate in such programs so that they can experience first hand the languages in their surrounding cultures.
At the discretion of the major advisor, a maximum of 12 study abroad and domestic transfer credits is allowed for the Studies Major and a maximum of 15 for the Languages and Literatures Major. No study abroad or domestic transfer credits are allowed for the Studies Minor.
Mastercard Asian Studies Scholarship This scholarship is awarded annually to a rising fourth-year major in Asian Studies. Students pursuing South Asian concentration in MESALC are eligible to apply for this scholarship. To be competitive, scholarship applicants should also apply for the Distinguished Majors Program. This scholarship provides approximately $4000 for tuition, and it carries with it the possibility to apply for a paid summer internship with Mastercard. There is no specific application procedure: we assume that all applicants for the DMP are also applying for the Mastercard Scholarship.
Centers and Programs
Arts and Sciences Center for Instructional Technology (ASCIT) A resource containing many audio-visual materials which are used to help bring the culture surrounding our different languages alive for students. It is conveniently located in Cabell Hall along with most MESALC classrooms and offices. The language laboratory is used to help students practice and reinforce their speaking and listening skills.
Center for South Asian Studies This interdisciplinary center coordinates research and teaching on South Asia, encompassing Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Tibet. It sponsors a lecture series, as well as many other activities.
Middle East Studies Program The Middle East Studies Program is an association of faculty who share a regional interest. The Program sponsors a lecture series, along with other activities.
The Jewish Studies Program Jewish Studies is an interdisciplinary program that introduces students to the history, languages, and literatures of the Jewish people; to the beliefs and practices of Judaism; and to the contributions of Jewish scholarship to human civilization.