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

The Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies (IMES) Program is an interdisciplinary curriculum administered by the Crown Center for Middle East Studies in conjunction with the faculty from several other departments. It is designed to provide a strong foundation in Middle Eastern studies with a specialized knowledge of Islam.

The major requires students to take elective courses from the departments represented by the faculty committee. Key contributing departments, in addition to Near Eastern and Judaic Studies, include politics, history, economics, sociology, African and Afro-American studies and anthropology. With a solid training in language, political theory and praxis, history, economics, sociology and anthropology, the major is especially appropriate for students wishing to pursue graduate work, particularly in the field of Middle Eastern studies, or for those who wish to pursue careers dealing directly or indirectly with the Middle East.

 Requirements for the Major

  • Four semesters of a Middle Eastern language (usually Arabic or Hebrew*)
  • A core course—Islam: Civilization and Institutions
  • Two courses focusing on the classical period
  • Two courses focusing on the modern period
  • Three electives

Students who demonstrate exceptional achievements in their courses have the opportunity to write a senior honors thesis. This provides an opportunity to spend a year on a self-chosen research topic under the guidance of a faculty member.

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