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Exploring the UCLA Near Eastern Studies Program

July 4, 2023
By AdmissionSight
A female student doing her letters of recommendation on the laptop

Exploring the UCLA Near Eastern Studies Program

Are you looking to embark on a journey of discovery in the field of Near Eastern Studies? Are you considering enrolling in a program that will provide you with the academic insight, professional skills, and cultural appreciation necessary in this field? Look no further than the Near Eastern Studies Program at UCLA. In this article, we will provide you with an in-depth overview of what the program entails, the faculty members involved and their expertise, courses and research opportunities, student life and activities, collaborative initiatives, and job prospects for graduates. Whether you’re a prospective student, a current student, an alumni or simply an interested individual, you will find valuable insights in this comprehensive guide.

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A Brief Overview of the Near Eastern Studies Program at UCLA

The Near Eastern Studies Program at UCLA is an interdisciplinary academic program that explores the history, culture, society, and politics of the regions that stretch from North Africa to the Middle East to Central Asia. The program aims to provide rigorous training in multiple disciplines, including anthropology, archaeology, history, linguistics, literature, philosophy, political science, and religious studies, with a focus on the Near Eastern region. The program emphasizes critical thinking, writing, and language proficiency and encourages students to engage with the intellectual, social, and political issues that impact the region today.

One of the unique features of the Near Eastern Studies Program at UCLA is its language program. The program offers courses in a variety of languages spoken in the Near Eastern region, including Arabic, Hebrew, Persian, Turkish, and Armenian. Students are encouraged to take language courses as part of their program, as it provides them with a deeper understanding of the cultures and societies of the region. The program also offers study-abroad opportunities, allowing students to immerse themselves in the language and culture of the region.

History and Evolution of Near Eastern Studies at UCLA

The UCLA Near Eastern Studies Program has a long and storied history, dating back to the early 20th century. In the 1920s, UCLA was one of the first universities on the West Coast to offer courses in Near Eastern Studies, with a focus on languages such as Arabic, Hebrew, and Persian. Over the years, the program has expanded both its course offerings and its faculty expertise, with scholars dedicated to research in various fields related to the Near East. Today, the program remains one of the most respected and well-regarded in the country.

One of the key factors in the success of the Near Eastern Studies Program at UCLA has been its commitment to interdisciplinary research. Faculty members in the program collaborate with scholars from other departments and schools across the university, including the departments of History, Anthropology, and Political Science, as well as the School of Law. This interdisciplinary approach has led to groundbreaking research in areas such as the history of the Middle East, the politics of the region, and the role of religion in society.

In addition to its academic programs, the Near Eastern Studies Program at UCLA also offers a range of extracurricular activities for students. These include study abroad programs in countries such as Egypt, Israel, and Turkey, as well as cultural events and lectures on topics related to the Near East. These activities provide students with a deeper understanding of the region and its people and help to foster a sense of community among those interested in Near Eastern Studies.

Faculty Members and Their Expertise in Near Eastern Studies

The faculty members in the Near Eastern Studies program at UCLA are a diverse group of scholars and researchers, each with a unique set of expertise and interests. They bring together a wealth of knowledge and experience, as well as a dedication to teaching and mentorship. The faculty members who teach courses in the Near Eastern Studies program have expertise in a range of areas, including ancient languages, culture, history, literature, and religion. Some of the notable faculty members include Professor Ali Behdad, who specializes in modern Iranian literature and culture; Professor Susan Slyomovics, renowned for her research on Middle Eastern and North African women; and Professor Reza Aslan, who is a leading expert on religion and politics in the Middle East.

In addition to these notable faculty members, the Near Eastern Studies program at UCLA also boasts a number of up-and-coming scholars who are making significant contributions to the field. For example, Assistant Professor Neda Maghbouleh is a rising star in the study of Iranian diaspora communities, while Assistant Professor Sarah E. Bond is gaining recognition for her work on ancient Roman history and its connections to the Near East. These faculty members, along with their colleagues, provide students with a rich and diverse learning experience that prepares them for careers in academia, government, and beyond.

Courses Offered in the Near Eastern Studies Program at UCLA

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The Near Eastern Studies program at UCLA offers a wide range of courses that cover a range of topics relating to the Near East. Students can choose from an array of classes, including “Introduction to the Near East,” “Islam and Politics,” “Jewish Mysticism,” “Persian Epic and Romance,” “The Ancient Near East,” and many more. These courses are designed to provide students with a comprehensive understanding of the Near Eastern region, its history, cultures, and religions.

In addition to the courses mentioned above, the Near Eastern Studies program at UCLA also offers language courses in Arabic, Hebrew, Persian, and Turkish. These language courses are designed to help students develop proficiency in reading, writing, and speaking the languages of the Near East. Students who complete these language courses can gain a deeper understanding of the cultures and societies of the region, and may also have the opportunity to study abroad in countries where these languages are spoken.

Graduate Programs and Research Opportunities in Near Eastern Studies at UCLA

The Near Eastern Studies program at UCLA offers graduate programs in various fields, including a Ph.D. in Near Eastern Languages and Cultures and a Master’s degree in Islamic Studies. Graduate students have opportunities to conduct research, engage in scholarly conferences, and present papers on their research. Faculty members also provide mentorship and support for graduate students to help them develop their professional skills, teaching experience, and research output.

In addition to the graduate programs, the Near Eastern Studies program at UCLA also offers research opportunities for undergraduate students. Undergraduates can participate in research projects led by faculty members or work as research assistants for graduate students. These opportunities allow undergraduates to gain hands-on experience in conducting research and contribute to the advancement of knowledge in the field of Near Eastern Studies.

The Near Eastern Studies program at UCLA also has a strong focus on language learning. Students can take courses in various Near Eastern languages, including Arabic, Hebrew, Persian, and Turkish. The program also offers language immersion programs and study abroad opportunities to help students develop their language skills and gain a deeper understanding of the cultures and societies of the Near East.

Student Life and Activities in the Near Eastern Studies Program at UCLA

Students in the Near Eastern Studies program at UCLA enjoy a vibrant and diverse campus life. They have access to a range of cultural and academic resources, including libraries, centers, and research institutes. They can also participate in student associations and clubs, such as the Near Eastern Student Association, which organizes various cultural events, discussions, and community outreach activities. Other extracurricular activities include study abroad programs, internships, and volunteer opportunities in Iran, Israel, Morocco, and other countries in the region.

Moreover, the Near Eastern Studies program at UCLA offers students the opportunity to engage in research projects and collaborate with faculty members on various topics related to the region. Students can also attend lectures, conferences, and workshops featuring prominent scholars and experts in the field. These events provide a platform for students to network, exchange ideas, and gain insights into the latest developments in Near Eastern Studies.

Additionally, the program encourages students to explore interdisciplinary approaches to the study of the Near East, by taking courses in related fields such as history, anthropology, political science, and art history. This interdisciplinary approach allows students to gain a comprehensive understanding of the region and its complex cultural, social, and political dynamics.

Collaborative Initiatives and Partnerships in Near Eastern Studies at UCLA

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The Near Eastern Studies program at UCLA is committed to fostering collaborative initiatives and partnerships with other academic institutions, research organizations, and cultural institutions. The program has established partnerships with various universities in the region, such as the American University of Beirut, Tel Aviv University, and the University of Tehran, to provide students with opportunities for study abroad and cross-cultural exchange. The program also collaborates with research institutes, such as the Center for Near Eastern Studies and the UCLA Center for Middle East Development, to facilitate scholarly research and outreach activities in the region.

In addition to these partnerships, the Near Eastern Studies program at UCLA also collaborates with cultural institutions to promote the study and understanding of the region’s rich cultural heritage. The program has worked with the Getty Museum and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art to organize exhibitions and events that showcase the art and culture of the Near East. These collaborations provide students with unique opportunities to engage with the region’s cultural heritage and gain a deeper understanding of its significance.

Furthermore, the Near Eastern Studies program at UCLA is committed to promoting diversity and inclusivity in the field of Near Eastern studies. The program actively seeks to recruit and support students from underrepresented communities and provides resources and mentorship to help them succeed in their academic and professional pursuits. The program also hosts events and workshops that explore issues of diversity and inclusivity in the field, and encourages students to engage in critical discussions about these topics.

Job Prospects for Graduates of the Near Eastern Studies Program at UCLA

Graduates of the Near Eastern Studies program at UCLA have a wide range of career paths to pursue. They can find employment in various areas, including academia, journalism, international relations, diplomacy, advocacy, and the private sector. Many graduates also choose to pursue further higher education, such as a Ph.D. in a related field. In recent years, there has been an increasing demand for professionals with expertise in the Near Eastern region, especially in the fields of cultural exchange, international development, and conflict resolution.

One of the advantages of the Near Eastern Studies program at UCLA is the opportunity for students to gain practical experience through internships and study abroad programs. These experiences can provide valuable skills and connections for graduates seeking employment in their chosen fields. Additionally, the program offers a strong foundation in language skills, which is highly valued in many industries, including government, business, and non-profit organizations.

Graduates of the Near Eastern Studies program at UCLA have gone on to work for a variety of organizations, including the United Nations, the U.S. State Department, major news outlets, and non-profit organizations focused on human rights and social justice. The program’s interdisciplinary approach and emphasis on critical thinking and analysis prepare graduates to tackle complex issues and make a positive impact in their chosen fields.

Insights from Alumni about their Experience in the Near Eastern Studies Program at UCLA

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Many alumni of the Near Eastern Studies program at UCLA have spoken positively about their experience in the program. They have praised the quality of instruction, the breadth of course offerings, and the opportunities for professional and personal growth. Some alumni have also spoken about the sense of community among students and faculty, and the supportive and inclusive culture of the program.

One alumna, Sarah, shared that her experience in the program not only provided her with a strong foundation in Near Eastern Studies, but also helped her develop critical thinking and research skills that have been invaluable in her career as a journalist. Another alumnus, Ahmed, spoke about the program’s emphasis on interdisciplinary approaches, which allowed him to explore connections between Near Eastern Studies and other fields such as anthropology and political science. Overall, the Near Eastern Studies program at UCLA has left a lasting impact on many of its alumni, providing them with a rich and rewarding educational experience.

Future Developments and Plans for the Near Eastern Studies Program at UCLA

The Near Eastern Studies program at UCLA is committed to continuing its tradition of excellence and innovation in teaching and research. The program plans to expand its course offerings, create new research opportunities for students and faculty members, and establish new partnerships with academic institutions and research organizations in the Near East. The program also aims to increase diversity and inclusion in its student body and faculty, as well as to support students from all backgrounds through financial aid and scholarships.

One of the major future developments for the Near Eastern Studies program at UCLA is the establishment of a new research center focused on the study of ancient Near Eastern languages and cultures. This center will provide students and faculty members with access to cutting-edge research tools and resources, as well as opportunities to collaborate with scholars from around the world.

In addition, the program plans to expand its outreach efforts to local communities by hosting public lectures, workshops, and cultural events that showcase the rich history and diversity of the Near East. These events will provide students and community members with opportunities to engage with scholars and experts in the field, and to learn more about the region’s complex and fascinating past and present.

Comparison with Other Universities’ Near Eastern Studies Programs

The Near Eastern Studies program at UCLA is widely regarded as one of the most esteemed and comprehensive programs in the country. However, there are many other universities in the United States and around the world that offer Near Eastern Studies programs. When comparing these programs, it is important to consider factors such as faculty expertise, course offerings, research opportunities, and student support services. UCLA’s Near Eastern Studies program stands out for its interdisciplinary approach, its commitment to diversity and inclusion, and its vibrant campus life.

Resources Available to Students Pursuing a Degree in Near Eastern Studies at UCLA

The Near Eastern Studies program at UCLA provides students with a wealth of resources to support their academic and personal growth. These resources include on-campus libraries and archives, research grants and scholarships, study abroad programs, internships, and extracurricular activities. Students can also benefit from various student support services, such as academic advising, career counseling, and mental health services.

Additionally, the Near Eastern Studies program at UCLA offers opportunities for students to engage with faculty members and participate in research projects. Students can work closely with professors on research projects, attend conferences and seminars, and present their own research findings. The program also hosts guest lectures and events featuring prominent scholars and experts in the field of Near Eastern Studies. These resources provide students with a comprehensive education and prepare them for careers in academia, government, non-profit organizations, and other fields related to the Middle East and North Africa.

Impact of the Near Eastern Studies Program on Society and Culture

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The Near Eastern Studies program at UCLA has had a significant impact on society and culture over the years. The program has produced numerous scholars and leaders who have contributed to a better understanding of the Near East, its cultures, and its people. Some graduates of the program have become prominent figures in various fields, such as journalism, diplomacy, and the private sector, using their knowledge and expertise to promote cross-cultural understanding and collaboration. The program has also organized various outreach activities and initiatives, such as cultural events, lectures, and publications, to promote awareness and appreciation of the Near Eastern region and its contributions to human civilization.

One of the most notable contributions of the Near Eastern Studies program has been its role in promoting peace and stability in the region. Graduates of the program have played key roles in various peace negotiations and diplomatic efforts, using their knowledge of the region and its cultures to facilitate dialogue and understanding between different groups. The program has also been instrumental in promoting academic and cultural exchange programs between the Near East and the United States, fostering greater understanding and collaboration between the two regions.

Another important aspect of the Near Eastern Studies program is its focus on preserving and promoting the cultural heritage of the Near East. Through its research and outreach activities, the program has helped to document and preserve important cultural artifacts and traditions, many of which are at risk of being lost or forgotten. The program has also worked to promote the study of ancient languages and scripts, such as cuneiform and hieroglyphics, which are essential for understanding the history and culture of the region.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the Near Eastern Studies program at UCLA is an outstanding academic program that provides students with a comprehensive education in the history, culture, and society of the Near East. The program offers a wide range of courses, opportunities for research, a vibrant campus life, and a supportive faculty and student community. Graduates of the program have gone on to pursue successful careers in various fields and have made significant contributions to society and culture. If you are interested in exploring the richness and complexity of the Near Eastern region, consider enrolling in the Near Eastern Studies program at UCLA. You won’t be disappointed.

Additionally, the Near Eastern Studies program at UCLA offers various study-abroad opportunities for students to immerse themselves in the culture and language of the Near East. These programs provide students with a unique and enriching experience that allows them to gain a deeper understanding of the region and its people. Students can choose from a variety of destinations, including Egypt, Israel, Jordan, and Turkey, among others. Studying abroad not only enhances a student’s academic experience but also prepares them for a globalized world and future career opportunities.

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