Writing a Senior Thesis

All students who complete their junior year with a cumulative index of 3.25 or higher in IMES (including Hebrew or Arabic courses) are eligible for enrolling in IMES 99a and IMES 99b in their senior year.

Reminder: Students with a general cumulative index above 3.8 can graduate with summa cum laude only if they have received departmental honors, i.e., an accepted Senior Honors Thesis.

For additional information, review our thesis guidelines

About the Major

Requirements for the Major


A. Four consecutive semesters of either Arabic or Hebrew* beginning with either ARBC 10a or HBRW 10a (or 19a) or at a higher level if determined by placement.

Courses that count toward the language requirement include: ARBC 10a, ARBC 20b, ARBC 30a, ARBC 40b, ARBC 103a, ARBC 103b, ARBC 106a, ARBC 106b, HBRW 10a (or 19a), HBRW 20b (or 29b), HBRW 34a (or 39a), HBRW 35a, HBRW 44b (or 49b), and any 100-level Hebrew (HBRW) course.

B. Core course: IMES 104a (Islam: Civilization and Institutions).

C. Two courses pertaining to the classical period: NEJS 3a, 140a, 144a, 185a, 186a, 186b, 188a, 188b, 190b, 194b, 195a, 195b, 197a.

D. Two courses pertaining to the modern period: ANTH 120b, 122b, 141a, ECON 122b, FA/NEJS 183a, HIST 111a, 112a, 114a, IMES 105a, NEJS 141b, 145a, 145b, 177a, 185b, 197b, POL 128a, 133a, 135b, 136b, 143b, 162b, 164a, 166b.

E. Three additional courses from the list of electives below. The Senior Honors Thesis courses, IMES 99a and IMES 99b, may count as two courses toward the completion of an IMES major.

F. Honors: IMES students who complete their junior year with a cumulative GPA of 3.25 or higher are eligible to enroll in IMES 99a and 99b, the IMES Senior Thesis, during their senior year. All students who aspire to graduate with honors in IMES must register for IMES 99a in fall semester and IMES 99b in the spring semester, and complete their thesis project.

G. No course with a final grade below C- can count toward fulfilling the major requirements in Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies.

H. No course taken pass/fail may count toward the major requirements.

*Arabic and Hebrew are offered at Brandeis. Students interested in taking another Middle Eastern language are encouraged to explore opportunities at universities that are part of the New England Consortium.