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Students performing at The Taste of Arabia.

Arabic & Middle Eastern Studies

Language is a passport. And McDaniel’s major in Arabic and Middle Eastern Studies—the only major of its kind in Maryland—provides front-row access through language to the history, culture, art, and politics of one of the most influential and important regions of the world.

Degree Types
Major , Minor
Complementary Programs
Distinctive Requirements
Study Abroad
Morocco, Jordan, & more

Studying an in-demand language like Arabic allows you to become proficient in a language that opens professional and educational doors. You’ll gain that proficiency in part by studying abroad in an Arabic speaking country for an entire semester. By embedding yourself in the culture and getting fully immersed in the language, you’ll gain an understanding of a new culture, learn to communicate with diverse­­­ populations, and become more globally engaged and prepared for a competitive job market.

Future Career Paths

Our graduates have had opportunities to:

  • Work with governmental organizations like the NSA, and NGOs in Washington, D.C.
  • Continue their study of Arabic language at the graduate level
  • Teach Arabic at the university level (one of our graduates recently landed a job teaching at the University of South Carolina).

With a firm grasp of the Arabic language and Middle Eastern culture, you’ll be equipped to explore careers in fields such as:

  • Politics
  • Economics
  • International relations
  • International business
  • Education
  • National security
  • Translation

Distinctive Courses

ARB 1101 - Elementary Arabic

The acquisition of oral/aural skills through intensive exposure to Arabic used both as the medium of communication and the object of study. It enables the student accurately to express his or her daily experiences in spoken and written Arabic, and to understand communications of a moderate level of difficulty.

ARB 2213 - Arab-American Literature

An overview of literary writing by authors of Arab descent in the United States from the early 20th century until today. Through texts by Khalil Gibran, Ameen  Rihani, Diana Abu Jaber, Naomi Shihab Nye, Mohja Kahf, Hisham Mattar, Etaf Rum and others, we will explore themes such as immigration, social change,  human rights, cross-cultural encounters, the situation of Arab and Muslim Americans before and after 9/11, and more. Course will be taught in English.

PSI 3333 - Conflict Resolution, Peacemaking, and Peacekeeping in Post-Cold War World

This course is designed to expose students to the multifaceted nature of conflict on the inter and intra state levels, historically, and in the current post Cold War period. This objective will be achieved by exploring the sources, causes, environmental impact, and determinants of conflict, presenting the various perspectives on the genesis and the amelioration of conflict, and utilizing some case method analysis to demonstrate the life cycles of some specific conflicts and the management or resolution thereof. The cases vary each semester but have included the following: The Middle East Conflict, the Anglo-Irish Conflict, the Gulf War (and now the second war against Iraq), the war on terrorism, and the conflict in former Yugoslavia and Rwanda. The course also covers the spread of radical fundamentalist Islam as a source of conflict in the Post Cold War World and specifically with regard to the “War on Terror.”

PSI 3306 - National Security in a Changing World

A survey of the international and domestic factors that shape contemporary U.S. national security policy and strategy. The course provides a brief introduction to traditional conceptions of military strategy and the use of force, examines the extent to which domestic political factors influence national security policy-making, and explores the merits and shortfalls of future national security strategies. Topics discussed include civil-military relations, leadership and accountability, terrorism, peacemaking and peacekeeping, and resource management.

Special Opportunities

Students majoring in Arabic and Middle Eastern Studies can choose one of two areas of study: a linguistic or a cultural specialization.

Student internship in Chile.

Cultural Specialization

The cultural specialization consists of a minimum number of courses in Arabic or any other language from the Middle East (Turkish, Hebrew or Farsi), a shorter period of study abroad component, and a substantial number of courses in English, depending on the area of interest of the students: history, political science, religious studies, sociology, etc.

Students exploring Budapest.

Linguistic Specialization

The linguistic specialization consists of as many courses in Arabic as possible, a study abroad component, plus a certain number of courses in English from art history, history, music, political science, religious studies, sociology, or any other field with courses related to the Arab world, the Middle East, or Islam.

Two student look at a laptop together.

The Arabic House

The Arabic house provides an opportunity to immerse yourself in the Arabic language right on campus. Each year, an Arabic house director comes from an Arabic-speaking country to study at McDaniel, share their culture, and help you improve your Arabic. Living in the Arabic house will fulfill study abroad requirements for students who are unable to travel. 

McDaniel Commitment in Action

The McDaniel Commitment—a series of opportunities guaranteed to all students—provides enhanced mentoring and coaching, and ensures every undergraduate student completes at least two meaningful experiential learning opportunities.

A student in a lab coat hold an Arabic book open while smiling at camera in front of a white background.

Green Terror Alum Class of 2024: Kramoh Mansalay Arabic and Middle Easter Studies - Linguistic Specialization

Best class ever: "Honestly, I would give it to one of my classes abroad in Morocco at Al Akhawayn University, Islamic Art and Architecture taught by Dr. Said Ennahid. His passion for his course was very evident and I believe that many people teach and convey information, but he professed his love for the subject matter and that encouraged me to learn more about it."

Photo of three female and one male wearing suits and lanyards gathered around a laptop while smiling.

Embassy visits and ambassador meetings enhance National Security Fellow’s summer internship

Tatiana Hamilton, Arabic and Middle Eastern Studies major and Political Science major, found her ideal internship with the National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations in Washington, D.C. “My interests are in national security and international relations, so seeing the inner workings of the National Council was exciting,” she says.

Army ROTC saluting each other.

Student Spotlight Griffin James Crowley 2019, Arabic and Middle Eastern Studies

Griffin is a three-year ROTC scholarship recipient who also spent a semester abroad in Arabic-speaking Rabat, Morocco. Crowley is going active duty and will attend the Infantry Officer Basic Course in Ft. Benning, GA.