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Found 15 results

  1. I'm applying to masters' programs in Middle Eastern studies straight out of undergrad. I go to an Ivy League school and I'm going to graduate with at least a 3.2 GPA. I have some internship experience in my field and not much academic research experience, but I do have a lot of writing experience in my field. I have a strong SOP and good LOR (one of them is from one of the foremost professors in IR) and I am also fluent in Arabic with study abroad experience. My GRE scores are good (163V, 155Q, 5W) but I'm worried that my GPA will drag me down...what schools are considered 'safe', 'middle', and 'reach' for me?
  2. 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!
  3. Hello, would appreciate thoughts regarding graduate school decisions/comments from people in the same boat. Interested in the Middle East, development, and human rights. I have State Dept. experience and did some volunteer NGO work in Lebanon. Accepted to: Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey - International Policy and Development MA program ($14k fellowship over 2 years) George Washington University - Middle East Studies MA program, concentration in International Affairs and Development ($5k/year fellowship) - waiting on another fellowship that would fully fund 1st year. Fletcher at Tufts University - MALD program ($24k fellowship over 2 years) SAIS at Johns Hopkins University - MA program, no funding still waiting on a decision from the Ford School at University of Michigan (MPP program). SAIS was my #1 because I wanted to strengthen my economic/quant skills.. took an online econ course to prepare and started to reconsider haha, and the $0 funding doesn't help. Fletcher seems up my alley with their human rights rep, and they gave me the most funding, but they're also more expensive than GWU and don't have the DC advantage. Michigan would probably be my top choice if I get accepted because of in-state tuition. Their MPP is ranked 3rd after Berkely and HKS, and they offer several international-oriented courses so I'd still walk away with the skills and expertise that I want. Middlebury is great but can't compare with the other schools, especially considering I will still have to take out significant loans to go there, so it's probably out of the running. I prefer to be abroad post-graduation, and am also considering going the PhD route at some point in the future, so I'd like to be somewhere where I could do an MA thesis. and with that I welcome any thoughts/advice
  4. Problem: I've been accepted into some incredible programs and now I'm having a truly difficult time deciding between them. I honestly didn't expect to get into more than one or two programs (my undergrad GPA wasn't amazing), so while I'm pleasantly surprised, I'm overwhelmed! I have been accepted at: Georgetown University - MA in Conflict Resolution, No funding University of Denver - MA in International Studies, No funding The Graduate Institute in Geneva - MA in Political Science/International Relations, No funding Here are my thoughts: I'm primarily concerned with international conflict and have particular interest in studying genocide and the implications of genocide when looking at a conflict (hope this isn't too vague). Alright so here is what I'm considering so far, U. Denver and Georgetown are basically the same price, and IHEID might be cheaper unless cost of living proves to be formidable. However, my fiancé is going to work while I'm in school (he is a teacher), so finding a job in the United States might be easier for him. (Also if anyone has any advice on getting him a work visa for Switzerland, I would appreciate more information:D) I'd like to do my PHD later on, but between that and my master's I would like to either work in field, possibly State department, UN, or another reputable large NGO (I'm a very optimistic person). Which programs would help me with this? I know technically all of them seem to have great placement records for jobs , but are there differences in the types of jobs I could get? Would going to a European school exclude me from jobs in the State department? Could going abroad for masters also impact potential future PHD programs? I'm not really sure if an MA from Europe or the States would be weighed the same. And how concerned should I be about prestige? All of these schools are highly influential in this field, but do you think one is "better" than the others?
  5. Which one of these three courses is a better fit for an academic career in pre-modern Ottoman/European history? - MA in History (SOAS) - MPhil in Islamic Studies and History (Oxford) - MA in History (Leiden) - MA in History (Central European University)
  6. Hey everyone. I've recently been accepted into NYU Hagop Kevorkian Center, the University of Chicago, and the University of Texas at Austin as a master's student for the upcoming fall. I'm interested in studying the modern Middle East, and I hope to pursue a PhD after my master's. Professionally, I would like to go into advising on or developing US foreign policy with a focus on the Middle East (Perhaps a job in the White House or in a political think tank in DC). That being said, I have not completely ruled out the possibility of teaching in the future as well. Bearing all this in mind, I would like opinions from other people who are similarly in my position, who are currently studying at these schools, or even alumni, anyone who might be able to shed some light on my situation and give helpful advice, as I am torn between the aforementioned schools. I will also say that at the moment, it seems that UT Austin is the most financially feasible so far (lowest tuition, but I haven't heard if I will receive an TA position yet - I should find out in the next couple of weeks). Any thoughts/opinions on which school I should attend? Thank you all in advance.
  7. In contrast with previous years, there does not seem to be much Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations activity on the forum. I doubt that this is because there's less interest than usual or fewer applicants, so maybe it would be a good idea if everyone in the field came together in this thread to share what we're applying for. I've applied to a number of Ancient Near East PhD programs, generally Assyriology related. It's a niche subject, so I'd be delighted if there's anyone else out there with similar interests. Anyone else?
  8. Hey all, Which schools are strong in the Middle East related studies ( both in the states and globally)? e.g. have very famous faculty/ great courses/ good alumni network, etc I'd like to set my major in IR/MPA/MPPand have my concentrations on the Middle East region, development, policies... and then work in these fields after my graduate studies. THANK YOU!
  9. Hello all, I need your help! I am an applicant to Master's programs in Middle East Studies. I have been accepted to my top 3 programs - Georgetown's Master's in Arab Studies (MAAS), Harvard's Center for Middle East Studies (Harvard CMES), and the University of Chicago's Center for Middle East Studies (Chicago CMES). In addition, I am currently waiting on the second round decision for a Fulbright full grant to Jordan. My research interests lie mostly in modern Middle Eastern politics. The majority of my undergraduate work has centered on Syria and Lebanon in particular. I am in my fourth year of college level Arabic study, and have traveled extensively in the region. I anticipate pursuing a career in government (foreign service, intelligence, etc.), but academia remains an option. The various offers look like this: Harvard: No funding. Will not allow deferral for Fulbright. Deadline (04/16). University of Chicago: 1/2 tuition funding. No deferral. Deadline (05/01). Georgetown: Waitlisted for a tuition scholarship. Likely deferrable. No information on deadline yet. Fulbright: No decision yet. However, my university has an excellent track record with the program, and the primary advisor seems to think that my chances are good. Will hear back anywhere from late April to mid May. Note that I need to decide which university I am attending before I hear about Fulbright. Here's the rub: I need to decide between these three programs. Georgetown has a net benefit over Harvard and UChicago in that it would likely allow for deferral if I received a Fulbright. The extra year would allow me time to apply for external sources of funding. Since I am on the waitlist for a tuition scholarship, there is some chance of funding right now. UChicago is clearly the best option if I'm looking to avoid debt. According to the website, second years in the program frequently receive full tuition funding. My impression is that UChicago's program is not geared towards the modern Middle East, but instead to the ancient Near East. Harvard is my first choice, but is accompanied by serious disadvantages. First, if I accepted their offer (on their rather early deadline), I would have to turn down Fulbright if I got it. Second, since they do not fund A.M. students, I would need to go into >50k dollars in debt to attend the program in the first year. With this said, it is a top notch program, and its branding may be important in the long run. This is especially true in the Middle East, where Harvard has made an excellent name for itself. Finally, Fulbright is very important to me. In this field, experience and language proficiency is critical. My grant would give me an opportunity to accelerate my language ability while making connections in the region. In other words, I would be heartbroken if I received the grant and was obligated to decline it. Summary: What would you do if you were in my position? Would you take Harvard, forgetting about the Fulbright and going into debt? Or Georgetown, hoping for the Fulbright and funding, but missing out on Harvard? Or finally, would you "follow the money" to UChicago, passing up on Harvard and Fulbright? Thank you all in advance for your opinions!
  10. 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:
  11. 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!
  12. 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.
  13. I am writing my SOP and have the strong urge to organize my SOP this way: 1. my specific research interest (food of the Middle East) 2. how it fits with the discipline (situated food in context blah blah geography) 3. why I am qualified to study it (world systems theory seminar, food studies, place in my life, academic interest, hebrew language skills) 4. why I chose this school in particular (strong Middle East dept., profs with background in cultural geography theory, food, gender studies) Both official and unofficial suggestions of outlines are usually: 1. intro hook/interest in discipline (place is important/geography but saving research topic for #3?) 2. academic background/qualifications (history major, hard worker, this is still going to sound odd without them knowing my specific interests yet) 3. specific area of interest (food of the Middle East) 4. why this school in particular (see above) Is there a problem with reorganizing my outline how it seems to flow best? Is there some reason adcoms prefer to see it the "usual" way? Do I have to have a charming hook? Shouldn't my research interests be enough, with my personality coming out slowly in my writing? Won't my personal statement be the place for me to write about growing up in a rural setting, immigrant grandparents, my personal interest in the topic, anecdotes, etc.? Thanks! -I Miss Coffee (and wish I was drinking it but I can't, at least not until the anxiety of this application process is over)
  14. Hello ~~ I've already matriculated into a PhD program in August, but I'm thinking about reapplying to one school for F2012 that I was wait-listed to for F2011. My reason for doing so is that my current program has no one I can work with. I focus on IR and CP in the Middle East - no one in my department does any work on this region and the department has a heavy theorist and Americanist (quant) layout. Thus far, I like all the faculty - they're collegial, smart, and nice, though I'm not sure that these traits will help me advance my research and my career. Anyways I'm just looking for some advice from those who have been in a similar situation, i.e., dealing with a bad fit. Or, even if you haven't been in a similar situation, do you think fit is vital? You may be thinking to yourself, "why would Atua accept a bad fit offer?" Long story short, I accepted my best financial offer because all of my acceptances were backups with bad fits. Why did this department accept me? The person who accepted my cohort picked a few of us with Middle East interests (maybe to build cohort camaraderie?), but I'm not sure why this was done given the lacking IR faculty. Thanks~~ Atua
  15. 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!
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