South Asian & Middle Eastern Studies, MA

for the degree of Master of Arts in South Asian & Middle Eastern Studies

center director: Hadi Salehi Esfahani

associate director: Angela Williams

overview of grad college admissions & requirements:

college website:

center website:

center faculty: Center for South Asian & Middle Eastern Studies Faculty

center office: 221 International Studies Building, Urbana, IL 61801

phone: (217) 244-7331


The Center for South Asian and Middle Eastern Studies offers an MA in South Asian Studies and an MA in Middle Eastern Studies.  The MA program provides preparation in language and area studies for students intending either to pursue a Ph.D. in a related field or to enter a career requiring language and regional expertise, such as  in  government, an NGO , business, media, international law, private foundations, or cultural exchanges.

Graduate Degree Programs in South Asian & Middle Eastern Studies

South Asian & Middle Eastern Studies, MA


Applicants to the graduate program must submit an application for admission online ( and submit a statement of purpose, three letters of reference completed by teachers, advisers, or recent employers, and a 10-20 page writing sample. Also required are original transcripts (with English translations if applicable) showing all undergraduate and graduate work completed. Applicants are expected to have a strong background in at least one South Asian or Middle Eastern language; normally, this means a minimum of two years of formal study. Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores are required and should be submitted to institution code 1836. Applicants whose native language is not English are required to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) and must score at least 103 on the internet-based test (iBT) for admission with full standing; they must also pass the speaking sub-section of the iBT with a minimum score of 24 (see Applicants must have a BA or a BS degree to apply to the MA program. Applications are accepted for fall admission only.

Financial Aid

The Center makes every effort to assist graduate students in securing financial aid. Financial aid packages usually combine some form of fellowship support with teaching or research assistantships in a manner that allows for both teaching experience and timely completion of the degree. Financial aid may include: University Fellowships, Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) Fellowships, Minority Academic Partnership Plan (MAPP) Fellowships, teaching assistantships, and research assistantships. All awards of financial aid are made following competitive application.

Master of Arts in South Asian and Middle Eastern Studies

Three 500-level courses in the major field in area related courses12
Elective hours20
Language Requirement: Third-year competency in South Asian or Middle Eastern language, demonstrated by satisfactory completion of appropriate coursework or by proficiency examination.0
Total Hours32

Other Requirements1

Other requirements may overlap
Minimum 500-level Hours Required Overall: 12
Upon completion of their coursework, candidates will complete a Master's thesis. Candidates may take up to 8 hours of SAME 599 (Thesis Research), which may be counted toward their elective hours.
Minimum GPA: 3.25