International and Area Studies / Undergraduate Study

African and Middle Eastern Studies BA

Capstone Major

The African and Middle Eastern Studies major allows students to analyze the area or a subregion (e.g., Middle east, North Africa, Arab states, sub-Saharan Africa) from an interdisciplinary and modern perspective. The major seeks to ground students in broad international issues that they can then use to focus on particular concerns of that part of the world.

Learning Outcomes

The African and Middle Eastern Studies major has the following learning outcomes:

  • In-depth analysis of a specific region or a thematic subject that spans regions
  • Demonstrated critical understanding of issues relevant to a specific region or theme
  • Demonstrated skills, including research, analysis, and writing
  • Identification and analysis of appropriate sources, material evidence, and other forms of primary documents
  • Demonstrated proficiency at collaborative engagement with peers through constructive feedback on written drafts and oral presentations
  • Demonstrated proficiency at using peer feedback to enhance student’s own work
  • Effective communication of complex ideas in a seminar setting
  • Demonstrated effective oral and written communication of research findings
  • Conception and execution of a project that identifies and engages with a specialized topic
  • Working knowledge of scholarly discourse relative to a specialized topic


To be eligible to declare the African and Middle Eastern Studies major, students must have completed all nonlanguage preparation for the major courses and the foreign language courses through at least level 3 (elementary level). Any remaining language courses may be completed after students have been accepted to the major. Each preparation for the major course must be taken for a letter grade, and students must have a UC grade-point average of 2.0 or better in those courses. In addition, students must have earned a grade of C or better in International and Area Studies 1.


Incoming freshman and transfer students may be admitted as African and Middle Eastern Studies premajors on acceptance to UCLA. Premajor students must apply for major standing at the end of fall quarter of their junior year; they are not automatically accepted into the major.

Preparation for the Major

Required: (1) International and Area Studies 1, (2) one area studies course from Afrikaans 40, Art History 28, History 9D, 10B, 97F, 97J, Middle Eastern Studies 50C, Portuguese 40A, or Theater 4, (3) two international politics and markets courses from Economics 1, 2, Geography 4, 6, Political Science 50 (or 50R), Sociology 1, (4) two international societies and cultures courses from Anthropology 3, Comparative Literature 1D (or 2DW or 4DW), Ethnomusicology 5, 25, Geography 3, History 2B, 22, World Arts and Cultures 20, 33, and (5) one area-related foreign language sequence through the intermediate level (e.g., Arabic 102C, Armenian 102C, 105C, Hebrew 102C, Iranian 102C, Turkic Languages 102C, 112C, 116C). The language requirement can also be fulfilled in part or in total by taking a placement examination given through the appropriate language department. Each course must be taken for a letter grade.

Transfer Students

Transfer applicants to the African and Middle Eastern Studies premajor with 90 or more units must complete the following introductory courses prior to admission to UCLA: two courses from sociocultural anthropology, cultural geography, contemporary world history, and world literature and two courses from comparative politics, economic geography, macroeconomics, microeconomics, and introductory sociology. Transfer students must apply for the major by the end of fall quarter of their junior year.

Refer to the UCLA transfer admission guide for up-to-date information regarding transfer selection for admission.

The Major

The major consists of International and Area Studies 191 (capstone seminar) and 11 upper-division courses divided among area studies and international themes courses. To count as one 4-unit course, 2-unit courses must either be taken twice or two courses from the same category (if applicable) may be taken. Each course must be taken for a letter grade, with a minimum overall grade-point average of 2.0.

Area Studies: (1) Three humanities and arts group 1 courses from Afrikaans 135, Arabic M110, 120, C141, M151, Armenian 150A, C151, C152, C153, 160A, 160B, Art History C120, C145A, C145B, Comparative Literature M148, M162, 169, Ethnomusicology 136A, C136B, 161E (2 units), 161L (2 units), 161N (2 units), French 121, 142, Hebrew M113, C140, Iranian 141, 142, 150A, 150B, Islamic Studies 151, Jewish Studies M142, M144, 151B, 175, Turkic Languages 160, 165, 180; (2) three social sciences group 1 courses from Anthropology 135, 166P, M166Q, 167, Geography 122, 135, History 105C, 107C, 109B, 111C, 164B through 164E, 166B, 167A, 167B, 167C, 168B, M184D, Honors Collegium M157, Political Science 132A, 151A, 151B, 151C, 157, 165; and (3) one additional elective course selected from either item 1 or 2 above.

International Themes: (1) Two international politics and markets courses from Anthropology 143, Economics 111, 112, 121, 122, Environment 134, Geography M128, 140, 148, International Development Studies 130, Management 109, 127C, Political Science 120B, 122A, M122B, 123A, 124A, 125A, 126, 129, 134, 137A, 138B, 150, 166, M167C, 167D, 168, Sociology 182, 183, Urban Planning M165 and (2) two international societies and cultures courses from Anthropology 130, 140, 146, 147, Art History C160, Communication 179, Comparative Literature 100, Environment M133, Film and Television 112, Geography M109, 110, 133, 138, 142, 147, 151, 159C, History M186B, Honors Collegium M152, International Development Studies 110, Sociology 116, 151, 154, 191D, 191F, World Arts and Cultures CM130.

The area studies electives listed above (group 1) focus on contemporary issues of that region after 1750. Students may substitute a maximum of three upper-division courses with focus on earlier historical aspects of the region or on diasporas with origins related to the region toward the area studies electives as long the distribution between humanities and arts and social sciences is maintained. They may be selected from either of the following lists: humanities and arts group 2: Ancient Near East 124, M130, 150B, C165, Arabic 130, 132, 150, Armenian 130, 131, C155, Art History M110A, M110B, 119A, French 160, Hebrew 130, 135, Iranian M110A, M110B, M110C, 120, 131, 140, Islamic Studies M110, 130, Jewish Studies 140A, 140B, 143, M150A, 150B, M151A, M155, M182A, M182B, M182C, M184B, Turkic Languages 170, World Arts and Cultures C139 or social sciences group 2: Geography 114, History M103A, M103B, 105A, 105B, M106, 107A, 107D, 108A, 108B, 111A, 111B, 116A, 116B, 166A, 168A.