Middle East and Islamic Studies Minor

College of Liberal & Creative Arts

Dean: Andrew Harris

Coordinator: Lucia Volk
Humanities Building, Room 576
Phone: (415) 338–2468
Email: lvolk@sfsu.edu

Program Scope

The Middle East and Islamic Studies minor is a multidisciplinary minor designed to provide undergraduate students with a broad understanding of the history, politics, and culture of the Middle East and Islamic world. The students are required to fulfill both core and elective requirements, designed to give a background of the complexity and diversity of the region as well as offer more specific, in-depth studies of select issues of the region. This program covers regions and peoples from or in the Middle East from the founding of Islam in the seventh century to the present. In concert with the “Islamic Studies” aspect of this program, this minor also extends beyond the Middle East to those cultures, societies, and areas that are associated with the historical and current spread of Islam. Students can select from a variety of courses across multiple disciplines, including history, religion, politics, culture, art, music, language, and literature.

The minor is useful to students planning careers in politics and government, business, education, international organizations, journalism, and art, as well as for those who simply desire a better understanding of the Middle East and Islam. The multidisciplinary nature of the program also prepares students for further study in a number of academic fields at the graduate level.

The Middle East and Islamic Studies Minor consists of a core curriculum of three courses that deal with the region as a whole from a variety of disciplinary perspectives, plus three upper division courses taken upon advisement.


Astren, Azadpur, Banerjee, Kaplan, Modirzadeh, Monshipouri, Volk, Watts

Associate Professors

Behrooz, Bertram, Chekuri, Ellis, Ibrahim, Kavuri-Bauer, Khanmohamadi, Salama

Assistant Professors

Ara, Savci

Middle East and Islamic Studies Minor — 18–22 units

Core (9–11 units)

Complete at least nine units in the core by taking one course from Section A, one course from Section B, and a third course from either section.  MEIS 300 and MEIS 301 may satisfy either Core Section A or B. Any core class taken beyond the required units can be counted towards the required elective units.

Section A: History and Politics
Islamic World I: 500 - 1500
Islamic World II: 1500 - present
Middle East and North Africa in International Relations
Muslim Societies in Transnational Perspective
Middle East Politics
Section B: Arts and Culture
Cultures of the Middle East and North Africa
The Art and Architecture of Islam
Cultural Expression in Islam
Islam and the Poetics of Space
Islamic Philosophy
Section A or B:
Foundations in Middle East and Islamic Studies
Islam: Interpretation and Practice

Electives (9–11 units)

In addition to the three core courses above, take a minimum of three additional courses as electives. Courses that are used to satisfy core requirements may not also be used as electives.

Select at least one course from Part I and at least one course from Part II. The third elective may be taken from either part I or II:
Part I: History and Politics
HIST 583Hindus and Muslims3
HIST 584India and the British Empire3
HIST 604Islamic World I: 500 - 15003
HIST 605Islamic World II: 1500 - present3
HIST 606History of Iran and Afghanistan 1500 - Present3
HIST 607Imperialism and Nationalism in the Recent Near East3
HIST 644Proseminar in World History3
I R 323The Persian Gulf in International Relations4
I R 324Middle East and North Africa in International Relations4
I R 326South and Southeast Asia Foreign Relations4
I R 335Muslim Societies in Transnational Perspective4
I R/MEIS 433Model Arab League4
JS/I R/PLSI 430Israeli Democracy: Politics, Institutions, and Society3
PLSI 410Middle East Politics4
PLSI 420State-Society Relations in the Middle East4
PLSI/MEIS 431Constructing Kurdistan4
PHIL 436Islamic Political Philosophy3
Part II: Arts and Culture
ANTH 319Cultures of the Middle East and North Africa3
ARAB 102Second Semester Arabic5
ARAB 103Third Semester Arabic5
ARAB 104Fourth Semester Arabic5
ARAB 206Intermediate Conversation3
ARAB 300Reading Qur'anic Arabic3
ARAB 600Modern Arabic Literature and Film in English3
ARAB 650Modern Arabic Fiction in English3
ART 417The Art and Architecture of Islam3
CWL/HUM 424Multicultural Middle Ages3
CWL 430Heroic Tales of the Mediterranean3
HEBR 102Second Semester Modern Hebrew3
HEBR 201Third Semester Modern Hebrew3
HEBR 202Fourth Semester Modern Hebrew3
HUM 361Cultural Expression in Islam3
HUM 375Biography of a City (Istanbul)3
HUM/JS 377Jerusalem3
HUM 496Islam and the Poetics of Space3
JS/CINE 408Israeli Cinema3
JS/HUM/PHIL 501Judaism, Christianity, and Islam3
MUS 530Musics of the Middle East and India3
PHIL 516Islamic Philosophy3
PHIL 517Islamic Mysticism3
PRSN 102Second Semester Persian5
PRSN 103Third Semester Persian5
PRSN 104Fourth Semester Persian5
PRSN 206Basic Persian Conversation3
PRSN 260Persian Culture and Civilization in English3
PRSN 350Advanced Persian3
RRS/ARAB 450Contemporary Arabic and Arab American Literature3
WGS 565Muslim Feminisms3

Foreign Language Requirement

Students are strongly encouraged to develop proficiency in a Middle Eastern language or a language pertaining to the Islamic world and to commit to more than one semester of language studies. Therefore, second-semester language courses and higher will count towards elective units. Each student will discuss how to incorporate language into their minor during advising sessions.

Study-Abroad Courses

Students completing the Middle East and Islamic Studies minor are strongly encouraged to participate in study-abroad programs, whether through the CSU system or another approved study abroad program. SF State’s bilateral exchange with Koç University in Istanbul is particularly suited for MEIS minors. Please attend OIP’s informational sessions and then see a MEIS advisor.