The University of Chicago | Graduate Admissions

Middle Eastern Studies - MA

Division: Humanities
Degree Type: MA

Program Description

The study of the region extending from Morocco to Kazakhstan since the rise of Islam is coordinated, encouraged, and stimulated at the University of Chicago by the Center for Middle Eastern Studies (CMES). Established in 1965, the CMES has been supported by the Divisions of Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of Chicago and by grants from the U.S. Department of Education and the Mellon Foundation for more than 30 years.

The educational aims of the Center are to assist students in acquiring: (1) firm grounding in an academic discipline or a professional field; and (2) specialist knowledge of the languages and civilizations of the Middle East. The Center, an interdepartmental, interdisciplinary unit, achieves these objectives by helping to plan degree programs for students who intend to use their knowledge of the Middle East in careers in university teaching and research; governmental and non-governmental organizations; business; journalism; and other personal or professional pursuits. Since CMES faculty members have their primary teaching appointments in the Divisions of Humanities and Social Sciences or in the professional schools, the work of the Center is closely linked with the programs of other degree-granting bodies of the University. The Center also brings to the University visiting scholars with work that strengthens and complements work of the regular faculty.


  • Center for Middle Eastern Studies
  • Pick Hall, Room 201
  • 5828 South University Avenue
  • Chicago, IL 60637
  • Phone: 773.702.8297
  • Website:

Application Method

Applications should be initiated through the online application. Paper applications are not accepted.


Deadline for admissions and financial aid: January 6

The Center for Middle Eastern Studies admits applicants once a year for the following Autumn Quarter. Applications received after the deadline cannot be considered for financial aid.

Campus Visits

Interviews are not required; however, you are welcome to visit campus, sit in on classes, and meet with current students. You may contact faculty with questions, but there is no expectation that you do so.

Degree Objective

CMES offers a master's degree.

Application Requirements

  1. Online Application Form and Supplemental Form
  2. References: Three letters of reference should be included with your application.
  3. Graduate Record Examinations and TOEFL scores: TGRE scores (general test only) are required of all applicants, including those with previous MAs. For information on additional examinations required of some international applications, see the Test Requirements page on the divisional website. The University’s GRE code is 1832.
  4. Statement of Academic Purpose: Applicants should carefully state their purpose in pursuing a graduate degree. This statement is given considerable weight in the final decision regarding admission.
  5. Writing Sample: Applicants should submit a sample of their scholarly writing that is between 10 and 40 pages in length.
  6. Transcripts: Official transcripts from all post-secondary educational institutions should be submitted with your application.

Admissions Decisions

Admissions decisions typically are released in early March. No decisions will ever be given by phone, and no decisions will be given to those who inquire by email before early March. Direct all questions about your application directly to the admissions office.

Program Requirements

This two-year program is specifically designed for students who wish to obtain a broad knowledge of the Middle East. It allows the student to structure his or her own course of study in such areas as contemporary Middle Eastern studies; Middle Eastern history; Islamic studies; Islamic art and archaeology; and Arabic, Persian, Hebrew, or Turkish language or literature. The interdisciplinary nature of the overall program allows for students to enroll through either the Division of the Social Sciences or the Division of the Humanities.

Costs & Financial Aid

For information on costs and financial aid, contact the center directly.