Middle Eastern Studies Degree

This field will no longer be accepting applicants after the spring 2017 admission cycle (March 15 to April 15, 2017). If you have started your admissions coursework, you may continue and apply during summer, fall, or spring. To find courses, you can log into online services and choose Degree Program Admissions from the menu.

If you have not taken any admissions courses, you may be interested in the related graduate degree field of international relations. Our Enrollment Services team can also offer advice on suitable alternatives. Sign up, and we’ll contact you.

Gain a deeper, multifaceted understanding of the Middle East’s extensive history, culture, religion, government, and societal tensions. In this master’s degree program you examine the region’s contemporary impact on international relations and its role in the global community.

Key learning outcomes

Through the degree in the field of Middle Eastern studies you:

  • Develop thorough grounding of the religious, literary, and artistic traditions of the Middle East.
  • Gain insight into the historical and political dynamics that contribute to contemporary Middle Eastern culture.
  • Build an understanding of the region’s political and economic impact on current global issues.

Program Overview

The degree includes nine courses—at least three taken on campus—and a thesis.

  • Get started. You begin by completing three admission courses from the program curriculum. This is your opportunity to demonstrate your commitment and ability to perform well as a Harvard student
  • Apply to the program. While you are completing your third admission course, you submit your application. We have application periods in the fall, spring, and summer.
  • Continue your studies, online and on campus. As you progress through the program, you choose from courses offered on campus or online, in the fall, spring, or summer. To fully experience Harvard, you take at least three courses on campus as part of your degree.
  • Complete your thesis. Working with a thesis director, you conduct in-depth research on a topic relevant to your work experience or academic interests, producing publishable quality results. You’ll emerge with a solid understanding of how research is executed and communicated.
  • Graduate with your Harvard degree. You participate in the annual Harvard Commencement, receiving your Harvard University degree: Master of Liberal Arts (ALM) in extension studies, field: Middle Eastern Studies.


Affordability is core to our mission. Our 2016–17 graduate tuition is $2,550 per course; the total tuition cost of earning the graduate degree is approximately $25,500.

There are a number of financial aid options available once you’re admitted to the program.