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Masters in Arab/Middle Eastern Studies

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Hello Everyone!


This is my first post in the Gradcafe. I have looked at some topics here and have been very impressed with the beneficial feedback and replies that askers receive from the members of this forum. Therefore, I was hoping to get your advice on my situation.


I am 24 years old. I moved to the United States several years ago from the Middle East as a refugee. I recently earned my bachelor's in biology from a U.S university. At first, I thought I wanted to go to medical school so I started exploring the field through volunteering and community service in clinics and hospitals. However, I have realized that medicine may not be the best option for me. I find myself more inclined toward politics and international issues. Watching debates and reading news of the world in general and the Middle East in particular has always been an avocation for me. I took some politics classes in college and enjoyed studying for them to the extent that I was very close from double majoring in both biology and political science.


I have been looking at some graduate programs for IR and interdisciplinary studies at several schools, such as Georgetown, Chicago, and Harvard. However, the program that I find myself inclined toward the most is the "Masters in Arab Studies" that's offered at Georgetown. Although I graduated with Honors and have a GPA of 3.9, I am concerned that my science background will put me at a disadvantage as an applicant. Also, most of my extracurricular activities are associated with the medical field. Therefore, I wanted to know what my chances are of getting accepted to such programs with my current qualifications, assuming that I have a good GRE score, which I haven't taken. Also, what can I do to make myself a competitive applicant?


It is worth mentioning that Arabic is my first language and that I am now considered a permanent resident (Green Card holder). Thank you in advance for your help and I look forward to hear your replies!


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I like this program also... probably your best "enhancer" would be to do something in the arab world (work/volunteer/study) for 1-2 years.  But not "a must"... perhaps your personal experience there will make a compelling story for your app. I dont think the biology major is a disadvantage... Id say that in general, a "general" undergrad field + strong connection to Arab world is an advantage over an international relations undergrad without MENA experience.  Your language skills are a big plus for sure!

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