Why Middle Eastern Studies?

MES UN Apr 2016 groupThe Center for Middle Eastern Studies is an interdisciplinary center composed of faculty drawn from the social sciences, humanities, and natural sciences at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey.

The Center was originally established in the 1970s as a Middle Eastern Languages and Cultures Program. In cooperation with the Department of Africana Studies, it introduced the teaching of Arabic, enabling students to take Arabic for the first time at Rutgers, in addition to the Hebrew language and literature courses already being offered by the Hebraic Studies Department (today Jewish Studies).

The program was changed into a Middle Eastern Studies Program in the mid-1980s, when a program of study including a major and a minor in Middle Eastern Studies was also defined and offered to the University's undergraduate students. It was transformed into its present form as the Center for Middle Eastern Studies in 2002. Today, in addition to Persian and Arabic, students can take classes in Hebrew and Turkish. Rutgers students have a choice of over 70 different courses offered regularly through the Center.

With over 200 students in Arabic language classes and over 50 in Persian language classes, as well with the recent addition of eight new offices and three new faculty members, the Center is now one of the largest centers of its kind in the nation.