Middle East Studies (MES) Certificate

Given the immense importance of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region in shaping contemporary world politics, the Middle East Studies certificate is designed to provide an interdisciplinary perspective of the region’s history and contemporary dynamics and their representations across the diaspora. The MES certificate offers a unique opportunity for students to develop their interest and knowledge of the MENA region through a wide range of courses taught by UW professors with great expertise in the fields of political science, history, religious studies, sociology/anthropology, art history, literature, and modern languages.

MES certificate will give students a variety of career opportunities in international affairs, public policy, journalism, governmental institutions, education, public heath, humanitarian organizations, economic development, and security, or going on to graduate school and a career in academia.

Students interested in declaring the undergraduate certificate should contact Lindsey Bliefernicht, the IRIS Assistant Director for Students and Curriculum, at lindsey.bliefernicht@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. Please refer to the Guide for the complete list of courses that meet the various requirements summarized below.

  • 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 offers walk-in advising, advising workshops, and scheduled appointments.

You can contact the undergraduate advisor, Lindsey Bliefernicht at lindsey.bliefernicht@wisc.edu.

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

Resources: