dome of the rock in jerusalem

Jewish, Islamic, and Middle Eastern Studies

Major & Minor

Jewish, Islamic, and Middle Eastern Studies

Jewish, Islamic, and Middle Eastern Studies is an interdisciplinary program whose purpose is to explore the historical experience; literary, religious and cultural expression; and political and material life of the Jewish, Islamic, and Middle Eastern civilizations. Our program is unique in the United States because it integrates Islamic studies and Jewish studies. There are two tracks offered in the major and minor, encouraging students to tailor their experience more closely to their interests: the Comparative Jewish and Islamic Studies track and the Modern Middle Eastern Studies track. Whether students favor the study of language, literature, religion, history or politics, they will find in our courses a way to deepen their appreciation of these complex and diverse societies and cultures. Students also will be encouraged to explore the interaction of Jews and Muslims with neighboring societies and cultures in the Middle East, Europe, North Africa, and other parts of the world.

Our majors and minors have gone on to do many diverse things after graduation. Many have entered professional schools in such fields as law, journalism, education, the ministry or rabbinate, government, and communal or social work. Others have gone on to do graduate work in either Jewish or Islamic studies or related disciplines. Still others have combined their interest in Jewish, Islamic, and Middle Eastern studies with careers in business, medicine, or scientific research. All have found the major to have been an intellectually and emotionally rewarding experience and an important component of their overall development.

Interested in Study Abroad?

Study Abroad

Students majoring in Jewish, Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies are encouraged to participate in the Washington University Overseas Studies program. The university currently sponsors preapproved programs of study at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, the University of Haifa, and the American University of Cairo. Study abroad options (which may require approval on a case-by-case basis) also exist for Prague (CET), and American University of Beirut (AUB).

Learn more about study abroad

Major and Minor in Jewish, Islamic, and Middle Eastern Studies

MAJOR

Two Tracks Students who wish to major in Jewish, Islamic, and Middle Eastern Studies will select one of two tracks: Comparative Jewish and Islamic Studies or Modern Middle Eastern Studies.

Units required: 24 advanced, in addition to prerequisites

Prerequisites for Both Tracks

  • 100- and 200-level language (Arabic or Hebrew), by course work or by placement.
    (A student who skips the first four semesters of Arabic courses by placement must successfully complete L75 307D Advanced Arabic I. A student who skips the first four semesters of Hebrew courses by placement must successfully complete L75 320D Third Level Modern Hebrew I or L75 3841 Intro to Biblical Hebrew. Students who complete the third level language course with a grade of B- or better will receive 6 units of back credit.)
  • L75 JIMES 210C Introduction to Islamic Civilization AND L75 JIMES 208F Introduction to Jewish Civilization: History and Identity
    (Students with substantial prior course work may substitute an additional upper-level course with permission of their adviser and the director of undergraduate studies.)

Comparative Jewish and Islamic Studies Track Requirements

  • At least 3 credits in 300- and 400-level Jewish studies or Hebrew literature courses
  • At least 3 credits in 300- and 400-level Islamic studies or Arabic literature courses
  • 15 credits in 300- and 400-level JIMES courses, distributed as the student wishes
  • 3 credits in the departmental capstone course to be taken during the senior year
    (Students may take this course during their junior year with permission of their adviser and the director of undergraduate studies.)

Modern Middle Eastern Studies Track Requirements

  • 15 credits in 300- and 400-level JIMES courses, distributed as the student wishes
  • 3 to 6 credits in 300- and 400-level courses that are pertinent to the modern Middle East that may be home-based outside of the department (i.e., home-based in Anthropology, History, International and Area Studies, Political Science, Religious Studies, and so on)
  • At least 3 credits in 300- and 400-level premodern Middle Eastern studies courses 3 credits in the departmental capstone course to be taken during the senior year
    (Students may take this course during their junior year with permission of their adviser and the director of undergraduate studies.)

 

MINOR

The minor in JIMES requires a minimum of 9 units at the 300-level or above and a minimum of 18 total units. Students who wish to minor in Jewish, Islamic, and Middle Eastern studies will select one of two tracks: The Comparative Jewish and Islamic Studies Track or The Middle Eastern Studies Track.

Comparative Jewish and Islamic Studies Track Requirements

Required Foundational course:
•    L75 JIMES 210C Introduction to Islamic Civilization OR
•    L75 JIMES 208F Introduction to Jewish Civilization: History and Identity
 
Electives:
•    6 credits in 300- or 400-level Islamic studies or Arabic language and literature courses (under L49 Arabic or L75 JIMES)
•    6 credits in 300- or 400-level Jewish studies or Hebrew language and literature courses (under L74 Hebrew or L75 JIMES)
•    3 credits at any level in JIMES courses at any level (L75 JIMES only; this does not include language courses)


Middle Eastern Studies Track Requirements

Required Foundational course:
•    L75 JIMES 210C Introduction to Islamic Civilization OR
•    L75 JIMES 208F Introduction to Jewish Civilization: History and Identity

Electives:
•    3 credits at any level in Middle Eastern Studies courses (L75 JIMES)
•    12 credits in 300- or 400-level Middle Eastern Studies courses (L75 JIMES)

Curricular Information:

This minor curriculum was first published in the 2021-22 Bulletin. Current students — those who have declared a JIMES minor and those considering it—are permitted to complete the minor requirements reflected in the Bulletin at the time they matriculated, with the understanding that substitutions for certain requirements may be necessary. 
Current students may also elect to follow the above requirements with the permission of the Department. Please contact the JIMES office for more information.

Additional Information:

•    Study Abroad: Students enrolled in preapproved Washington University study abroad programs during the regular academic semester, in summer programs, and in transfer courses can earn a maximum of 3 units subject to review by their adviser and the director of undergraduate study.
•    Grades: A grade of B- or higher must be earned in each language course in order to advance to the next level.
•    Pass/Fail: No course taken pass/fail can count toward the minor.
•    Courses taught outside of JIMES: A student may request credit for courses taken outside of the department (other than those that are cross-listed) by seeking the permission of the director of undergraduate studies and the department chair.