Middle East Studies (MES) Certificate

The MES Certificate introduces undergraduate students to a multi-disciplinary course of study that provides them with an informed overview of the history, civilizations, religions, politics, geographies, and economic factors that shape the cultural landscape of this dynamic and often volatile region.

The certificate provides an in-depth training in a special area that may be particularly useful as students pursue careers in such fields as Academia, Law, Public History, Education, Business, and even Medicine, where they will practice their profession abroad or use their international experience to expand their understandings of these regions as they work with topics on or populations from diverse societies in the Middle East.

Students interested in declaring the undergraduate certificate should contact Csanád Siklós, the IRIS Assistant Director for Students and Curriculum, at 262-5006 or siklos@wisc.edu.

For program information, you may contact the Middle East Studies Program director, Nevine El Nossery, at elnossery@wisc.edu.

The Undergraduate Certificate requires a total of eighteen (18) credits in courses chosen from an approved list.  The coursework consists of:

  • One Core course (3 credits)

IS 266 (or its equivalence): Introduction to the Middle East

  • 2nd semester of a selected Middle Eastern language (a minimum of 3 credits)
  • One course in History & Social Science (3 credits)
  • One course in Religion & Culture (3 credits)
  • Two additional courses (3 credits each)

These additional courses should come from History & Social Science, Religion & Culture, or other approved electives


To view our course offerings, click here.

1.  Historical and Cultural Grounding

Understanding the historical, political, and cultural forces and conditions that have given rise to the unity and diversity in the region today.

2.  Multi-disciplinarity

Analyzing contemporary political, economic, and cultural realities in the region from at least two disciplinary perspectives, ideally including humanities, social sciences and sometimes natural science approaches.

3. Depth of Knowledge

Mastering at the undergraduate generalist level a particular facet of life in the region by taking courses on a particular sub-region or country, or by studying a regional language, or by taking at least two courses on the region in one discipline

Advising for the Certificate is run by the Institute for Regional and International Studies (IRIS).

The IRIS Assistant Director for Students and Curriculum can assist you in developing your plan of study for the Certificate, track progress towards your Certificate, explore study abroad and international internship options, and begin the career exploration process.  IRIS offer walk-in advising, advising workshops, and scheduled appointments.

You can contact the undergraduate advisor, Csanád Siklós at 262-5006 or siklos@wisc.edu.

We strongly encourage students to begin career exploration early on and to make use of the many resources available on campus.


Become a Student Ambassador!

The MESP is thrilled to recruit students interested in becoming UW Student Ambassadors for the Middle East. This is a great opportunity for undergraduate and graduate students to share the mission of the MESP and promote Middle Eastern languages, cultures, history and geopolitical issues, and to encourage cross-cultural understanding with and among the diverse communities and groups of the region.

If you are pursuing Middle East studies in any field or have lived in the Middle East, and have pertinent knowledge about the wider region, you can join our team of Student Ambassadors for the Middle East. You will be working closely with the MESP director and the outreach coordinator at IRIS (Institute for Regional and International Studies) to represent the ME in venues on campus and beyond, such as elementary, middle and high schools in Madison, as well as local and community organizations. By becoming a Middle East ambassador, you will gain public-speaking and communication skills to prepare you for future careers in education, public policies, international relations, NGOs, businesses, and much more. You will also meet once a month with your peer Ambassadors to share your experiences, ideas and material to help each other with your mission.

Read more about a student ambassador’s experience: Middle East Student Ambassador Represents Palestine in Kennedy School’s International Night

If you are interested in pursuing this opportunity, please contact professor Nevine El Nossery, director of the MESP at elnossery@wisc.edu.