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Master Program in History and Middle Eastern Studies


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Hello everyone!


I am a current history undergrad at UCLA (double majoring in History and the Study of Religion and minoring in Anthropology and Middle Eastern Studies) and would like some advice on Master programs in History and Middle Eastern Studies. I have been very fortunate to have amazing professors and TAs who have an incredible amount of faith in me but I have a problem. I studied abroad last year and completely failed the program. I have a lot of familial problems that I normally can work through because I am so busy and therefore can distract myself with work but I had so much free time studying abroad that the problems just consumed me ( a family friend passed away, my grandfather was diagnosed with a flesh eating disease, my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer [thankfully the tests determined that her tumors are benign], my dog and cat of 12 years both died, and other issues that I will not mention).


Before this I had a good GPA but it took a severe hit after studying abroad. My professors still have an unbelievable amount of faith in me. They are still pushing me to apply to the History/Middle Eastern master programs at Oxford, SOAS, the University of Leiden, and so on but I don't believe that I can get into these universities after failing last year. I am still going to apply to these universities because they offered to write recommendation letters specifically for these schools but I would like advice on other History and Middle Eastern Master programs that are not so unattainable. 


This is my last year at UCLA so I will be applying to master programs this Fall. Before studying abroad last year, I took a couple of courses on Ottoman History and a doctorate course on Ottoman Historiography which I found to be incredibly fascinating. Therefore Ottoman History is a subject that I want to pursue (I am still indecisive about which period. Although I do prefer the the origins through the reign of Sultan Suleiman I). Besides this, I am interested in the relationship Turkey has now (after the end of the Ottoman Empire) with its former territories; specifically, the Balkans as well as Turkey's relationship with Western Europe.


Here are some specifics.


-fluent in French and Spanish

-Beginning Arabic this year

-want to go into academia to become a professor

-prefer not taking a year or two off but am not completely opposed to the idea 

-history GPA is 3.89 but overall GPA is 2.7

-open to programs in any state or country


Any advice you guys might have I would greatly appreciate it!  Thanks!




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Your application (both now and for your PhD in the future) will definitely need to find a way to explain that your poor performance during study abroad was influenced by factors other than your failure to deal with the situation in the country where you were studying, which could make it seem like you're not up to the task. If possible, get one of more of your profs to corroborate this fact in their LORs.


I would also start taking modern Turkish as soon as possible. Ottoman Turkish, which you will need to know, will require you to know both Turkish and Arabic as prerequisites, but requires a more advanced level of Turkish than Arabic, which primarily contributed its alphabet and a few loanwords. 

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