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Middle East Studies


Middle East studies (MES) focuses on the area stretching from Morocco in the west to Oman in the east, from Iran and Turkey in the north to Sudan in the south. The history and art of this region contributed to Western civilization and the area today is central to issues of global peace and prosperity.

Program Overview

In the tradition of liberal education, the MES minor introduces students to the heritage, problems, and perspectives of Middle Eastern cultures, thus helping them to better understand their own culture. Michigan, for example, is home to the nation's largest Arab American community, half Christian, half Muslim, with substantial Jewish congregations. Minors can participate in a number of study abroad programs. Visit for more details.


Coursework covers a variety of topics, including:

  • Arabic language and culture
  • Islamic art
  • Middle East history
  • Middle East literature and film
  • Middle East philosophy

Career Options

The program offers a variety of career options, including those in:

  • Education
  • Government and diplomacy
  • International business
  • International relations
  • Non-governmental organizations

Why Study Middle East Studies at Grand Valley?

The program:

  • Prepares students for an increasingly diverse world of peoples, cultures, religions, and economies.
  • Is a gateway to gaining communicative and intercultural skills in a global economy.
  • Provides opportunities for study abroad and rich cultural enrichment.
  • Capitalizes on increasing interest in the non-Western world from a variety of disciplines.
  • Offers opportunities to participate in the Model Arab League simulations held annually.
  • Provides opportunities to attend field trips to points of cultural interest locally and in the Detroit area.


“The MES program provided me with an exceptional education in the history and culture of the Middle East and North Africa. I have come to value my MES minor not only because it has made me more able to understand current global events, but I have also found that it consistently helps set me apart from the competition.”


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