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Found 10 results

  1. Greetings, Long-time lurker, first-time poster. I figured it might be worthwhile to get a reality check from some of my peers on here, as you all would know better than many of the real-world people I know about the MES world and what their admissions processes look like. I could really use some perspective and context about this matter, so some feedback would be greatly appreciated. I am in an unconventional situation where: a) I am adamant about transitioning into academia/the humanities to study the Middle East with a focus on the intellectual history of the Levant and Ottoman Empire. b ) I have a B.Sc. in Business Administration from a top 50 public school in New England, where I double concentrated in Finance and Production Operations Management, and double minored in Statistics and English (GPA 3.20). c) my work experience in the four years since graduation has been at a tech start-up that has no relation to my academic interests. d) I do not have a thesis or any worthy research papers to provide as writing samples, (although I do have some critical analyses from somewhat pertinent (i.e. post-colonial studies) classes that I could tidy up and submit instead). On the other hand, these are the merits and motivations that compel me to pursue education in MES: 1) I quit my job a few months ago to focus on making this transition and explore my academic interests. That has involved me traveling throughout Turkey and the Arab world, as well as studying a lot of pertinent academic and literary texts on my own (Said, Massad, Ahmed, Soueif, Saleh, Hafiz, Darwish, etc). 2) I speak (and write/read, to a lesser extent) Arabic fluently, having lived in Jordan during my high school years (although US born, I am of Palestinian origin). I am currently in Palestine volunteering on a construction project, but my intention in the next few months is to relocate to Turkey (after finishing up with grad school apps) to learn and experience the Turkish language/society. 3) The more I study, the more interested I become in understanding the world through the intellectual lens of the Arab world, as reflected and informed by its cultural artifacts, society, and intellectual history. 4) I have long been interested in (and intermittently engaged) in the politics and affairs of the Arab world (ex: I founded and led a Students for Justice in Palestine coalition on my campus, attended the international Arabic debate tournament in Qatar on behalf of my university.) 5) I am privileged in the exposure and access I have been afforded in the Middle East over my lifetime: I have spent extended periods of time getting to know many villages/communities throughout Palestine, I know Amman and its society extremely well, and I have lived in two different emirates in the UAE. I have read literature from all over the Middle East. 6) I am in a fortunate situation where I do not need to go into debt to pay off a terminal MA 7) I have somewhat compensatory LORs in that they come from my more academic literature/humanities professors, and not from my quantitative/Business professors So, considering all of the above, what I need help figuring out is: 1. Considering my irrelevant academic and professional background, not to mention relatively low GPA, do I even stand a chance at getting into a reputable program in the US? From my research it appears that most academic (as opposed to security/intelligence)-focused programs are housed at the nation's most elite institutions, and thus I am looking to apply to the following programs (Columbia MESAAS, Harvard CMES, NYU, Princeton, UChicago) - Am I missing any programs, particularly ones with easier admissions? Are British universities (SOAS, Oxbridge, King's) more merciful in that regard? 2. Is there anything in particular about my profile that I should emphasize in my SOP - anything I already have that grad school admins love to see? - The way I see it, I am lacking in GPA (taking the GRE next month) and academic background (save for my English minor), but I do have the language skills and the regional experience in addition to a strong personal interest in the academics of it all (enough to be making a deliberate career pivot, as I am). After all, this is a passion-driven endeavor I am undertaking. Are any of these points particularly valuable? 3. Is a college essay entitled "The conflict of Afro-Islamic Spirituality and Western Modernity as depicted in “Ambiguous Adventure” going to cut it as a writing sample? Considering I do not have a mentor/professor to advise on the process, would it still be better if I wrote something more pertinent/up-to-date from scratch? - Frankly, I just do not have many papers from my undergraduate that are in excess of 10-15 pages, let alone ones that are of material relevance to the programs I am applying to. My hope was to edit this paper thoroughly and use it in lieu of a research paper or thesis. 4. Can my unconventional background as a Business major and tech industry member be regarded as a positive? If not, are there any obvious ways in which I could spin it as such? - I worry that I was incorrect in my early assumption that my background is not a serious hinderance to my prospects, and that it might in fact help me stand out as a truly interested/invested candidate. Is that baseless? Looking at this forum and the MES/poli sci undergrads wielding 3.8+ GPAs, three languages, and highly relevant experience... I begin to doubt the value of my earnestness to these grad admission boards. Thank you, thank you, thank you for reading all of this. I look forward to getting some guidance from any fellow hopefuls or admittees - any context/perspective will help me evaluate how to best allocate and apply my efforts. Your responses are greatly appreciated!
  2. Hi, first time posting Came across mention of a GradCafe on UK-based The Students Room. I've applied for MA History, SOAS and MSc Islamic Studies & History, Oxford and (soon) MSc in Empires, Colonialism, and Globalisation, LSE. I am also a SOAS graduate in BA Arabic from ten years back but still use their library as an alumnus frequently. Then seeing the word "Fall" when signing up, I recognised this is a US-based forum (and consequently there is a red line under "recognised" as I write). In any case some good general info here on research, academia and the like. Good to be amongst (another red line) grown-ups finally. To garner good karma I try to help others if I can. I am a Londoner, born and bred, so if there are any questions about living here then I'm most happy to help. Little things, like: use the Victoria line to cut through the tube quicker; it's pronounced WOOS-ter sauce and so on.
  3. Can we create a list of MA and PhD Islamic Studies programs by commenting your own schools here or links for general information? I am a current MA student at Rutgers University in the Islamic Studies program. Link: http://religion.rutgers.edu/graduate/program-information Rutgers MA program is good because it allows you for a year of exchange study at Princeton University.
  4. So I am currently a rising senior contemplating my post-graduate plans. I'm still very much in the academic mind set and I am very intent upon continuing with my foreign language as soon as I graduate. In my estimations I should go straight to graduate school to build upon my schooling and continue with Arabic as soon as possible (so as to not get rusty). However, many of the more professional schools (like one of my top choices, SAIS), only admits a small amount of students straight from undergrad. The admissions office from SAIS specifically told me they admit 10% with no work experience. Is it worth applying to top schools with no work experience? I have spent a year abroad doing intensive language studies, I spent last year doing a DC internship, and I'm spending the upcoming summer doing a government language fellowship. I have very good grades yet I come from a no-name private school. I feel like there are very few jobs that would hire me straight from undergrad in the fields I'm interested in (namely international security, intelligence, war studies, middle eastern studies, Arabic) so it seems to me that work experience will be very difficult to come by. Does anyone have any advice for me? Has anyone went straight to graduate school and regretted it? I can't seem to think of a place to apply to work in the aforementioned fields without any relevant experience or graduate degrees. Thanks in advance!
  5. Hi everyone, I see that Middle East and North African studies are kind of scattered throughout the forum, and not many people have started threads about contemporary studies. I'm very interested in Georgetown's program, and I've seen that a lot of people on here have applied and been accepted. I would be interested in seeing what it takes to get into the program with full funding, and so I'm starting this thread. Hopefully this can serve as a reference point for future applicants of this and other, comparable programs. Please type your info and stats below. Thanks and good luck! !بالتوفيق PROFILE: Type of Undergrad Institution: Major(s)/Minor(s): Relevant Coursework: Undergrad GPA: GRE: Other Tests (TOEFL, etc.): Letters of Recommendation: Relevant Work/Internships/Volunteer Experience: Relevant Experience Abroad: Research/Teaching Experience: Language skills (Arabic level, other languages): Subfield/Research Interests/Concentration: Scholarhips/Grants/Aid Applications Submitted (FLAS, departmental, etc.) RESULTS: Acceptanced/Waitlisted/Rejected/Pending: Other programs applied to:
  6. I have been under the impression that it is difficult to get funding for masters programs. I am not entirely sure how accurate this is so I wanted to shout out to you guys and get thoughts. Top schools I'm considering: Johns Hopkins Georgetown NYU UVA UT Austin Does anyone have experience with these schools in particular or know about their reputation? Furthermore, are there strong schools that offer large amounts of aid that anyone knows of? Thanks!
  7. So I am currently in the process of looking for graduate schools to apply for. Money is definitely a factor for me and, although I want to go to a prestigious and academically rigorous program, I very much need financial aid. What is the likelihood of receiving funding for a MA program? Is there a secret to working the system or finding out which schools consistently give either merit or financial aid based aid? So far all I see on website are vague references to subjective amounts of funds given to students with their acceptance letters. For me, personally, a school that has a higher likelihood of giving financial aid would up my likelihood of applying to it. Some schools I'm interested in are UVA, Johns Hopkins, UT Austin, Georgetown, Kings College London, Oxford/Cambridge (debating), SOAS, and the American University in Beirut. As a potential student, is the best place to look for fin aid from the university itself or from other fellowships/programs? In my preliminary searches I was unable to find many scholarships or programs that I seem eligible for (though that may be my naivete). Thanks in advance, I am just looking to be pointed in the right direction at this point.
  8. Hello, I received an admission letter from University of Michigan today(2/21) for their M.A. program in Modern Middle Eastern and North African Studies. I am awaiting results from 7 other universities that I applied to, while I got rejected from UT Austin on 9 Feb 2012. I have been compiling the following list of NE/ME Studies programs since last October. You will find most of the information for your application process, such as required documents, application fee, ETS code, website links, SOP length and questions, topics for the writing sample, etc. I believe this will save you lots of time spent on navigating the labyrinth of grad school websites. Please note that some parts of this text are written in Korean. Also, I do not guarantee the correctness of the information on this list, so please do check out the details on each program's website. I wish good luck to you all. * LINK: http://www.evernote....5e6a47a66de0f8f (last update on 21 Feb 2012) Woong-ki Min freegeist@gmail.com ARABKOREA.NET
  9. I am interested in pursuing a master's degree in Middle Eastern Studies in Fall 2012, but I'm wondering if A. I am qualified to do so right out of college or if I really need to take a break to gain some experience, B. if I should seek to pursue the MA in the U.S. or in the Middle East, and C. which schools I should consider. Here's a little about myself: I am going into my final year of undergrad joint-majoring in Anthropology and Human Rights with a concentration in Middle Eastern Studies. I spent the summer of 2010 interning at an NGO in Beirut and last semester studying abroad at the American University of Beirut. My research interests are diaspora studies, displacement studies, and memory works. I will be writing my senior thesis on the Armenian Diaspora in Beirut. I am fluent in Armenian and advanced-level in both modern standard and Lebanese Arabic. Not immediately but in the near future I plan to pursue a PhD in MES, and I would like to make the most out of the MA I pursue to put me in a good position for this. Regarding research and language development, being in the Middle East would, of course, be the ideal place, especially with regards to my research interests. Cost-wise, I wouldn't be breaking the bank to get the MA at say, AUB, as opposed to any U.S. school (favorites are Columbia and NYU). However, my main concern is really the reputation of a school in the ME versus that of a school in the US--like what if I were to take some time off after MA to work, would my MA from the ME be looked upon favorably or no? Any advice would be greatly appreciated!!! Thank you in advance!
  10. Hi all, I'm looking for a Poli Sci PhD program that includes studying a foreign language. I'm interested in studying politics of the Middle East (not interested in Middle East Studies degree), and thus continuing my study of Arabic; I'm currently in intermediate Arabic. Of course there are options like studying on my own time, but I would prefer a curriculum that includes language study. Do any programs exist that encourage students to become fluent within their curriculum, as opposed to simply taking two years of language study (like many of the UCs in California) to clear language requirements? Best, Atua
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