Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies Minor

Department of Religious Studies

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125 Carolina Hall, CB# 3225

(919) 962-5666

Carl Ernst, Co-Director Center for Middle East and Muslim Civilizations

Barbara Ambros, Chair

David Lambert, Director of Undergraduate Studies

Myra Quick, Student Services Manager, Registrar

The undergraduate minor in Islamic and Middle Eastern studies (ISME) is intended to offer students access to two complementary perspectives, the transregional study of Islam and Muslim societies in interaction with surrounding cultures, and the Middle East as a complex region seen through multiple disciplinary perspectives.

Department Programs



Graduate Programs


In addition to the program requirements listed below, students must:

  • take at least nine hours of their minor "core" requirements at UNC–Chapel Hill
  • earn a minimum of 12 hours of C or better in the minor (some minors require more)

For more information, please consult the degree requirements section of the catalog.

The minor consists of five courses, which must be taken in at least two different departments; at least one course must be from the Department of Religious Studies, and at least one course must be at an advanced level (400 and above).

Core Requirements
RELI 180Introduction to Islamic Civilization 13
or HIST 138 History of Muslim Societies to 1500
One of the following three courses:3
HIstory of Muslim Societies since 1500
The Modern Middle East
Modern Muslim Societies
Three elective courses (see course lists below)9
Additional Requirements
Three of the five courses in the minor (including the required courses listed above) must be selected from one of two subject categories—either Islamic studies or Middle Eastern studies—as indicated by the two lists of approved courses below.
The other two courses must come from the other category.
Total Hours15

One language course at level 5 or higher in Arabic, Hebrew, Hindi-Urdu, Persian, or Turkish can count as a course toward the minor. Up to two courses in Islamic and Middle East studies at Duke University may count toward the minor if approved by the director of the Carolina Center for the Study of the Middle East and Muslim Civilizations.

Although this minor is housed in the Department of Religious Studies, the director of the Carolina Center for the Study of the Middle East and Muslim Civilizations is responsible for advising all students who minor in Islamic and Middle Eastern studies.

Islamic Studies

ARAB/ASIA/RELI 681Readings in Islamicate Literatures3
ASIA 59First-Year Seminar: Media Masala: Popular Music, TV, and the Internet in Modern India and Pakistan3
ASIA 331Cracking India: Partition and Its Legacy in South Asia3
ASIA/HIST 135History of the Indian Subcontinent to 17503
ASIA/HIST 136History of India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh: South Asia since 17503
ASIA/HIST 138History of Muslim Societies to 15003
ASIA/HIST 139HIstory of Muslim Societies since 15003
ASIA/RELI 180Introduction to Islamic Civilization3
ASIA/RELI 181Modern Muslim Societies3
ASIA/RELI 582Islam and Islamic Art in South Asia3
ASIA/RELI 584The Qur'an as Literature3
GEOG 448Transnational Geographies of Muslim Societies3
GSLL/RELI 218Christianity and Islam in the Middle Ages3
PWAD/RELI 481Religion, Fundamentalism, and Nationalism3
RELI 64First-Year Seminar: Reintroducing Islam3
RELI 185Women/Gender/Islam H3
RELI 248Introduction to American Islam H3
RELI 289Muhammad and the Qur'an3
RELI 385Modern Muslims and the Qur'an3
RELI 480Modern Muslim Literatures3
RELI 485Gender and Sexuality in Islam3
RELI 580African American Islam3
SOCI 419Sociology of the Islamic World3

Honors version available. An honors course fulfills the same requirements as the nonhonors version of that course. Enrollment and GPA restrictions may apply.

Middle Eastern Studies

ARAB 150Introduction to Arab Cultures3
ARAB 151Arabic Literature through the Ages3
ARAB 350Women and Leadership in the Arab World3
ARAB 434Modern Arabic Literature in Translation3
ARAB 453Film, Nation, and Identity in the Arab World3
ASIA 126Introduction to Persian Literature3
ASIA 235Israeli Cinema: Gender, Nation, and Ethnicity H3
ASIA 357The Arab-Jews: Culture, Community, and Coexistence3
ASIA 431Persian Sufi Literature3
ASIA 435The Cinemas of the Middle East and North Africa3
ASIA/CMPL 256Love in Classical Persian Poetry3
ASIA/CMPL 258Iranian Prison Literature3
ASIA/CMPL 359Literary Diasporas of the Middle East3
ASIA/CMPL 442Postcolonial Literature of the Middle East3
ASIA/GEOG 447Gender, Space, and Place in the Middle East3
ASIA/HIST 276The Modern Middle East3
ASIA/HIST 277The Conflict over Israel/Palestine3
ASIA/HIST 536Revolution in the Modern Middle East3
ASIA/HIST 538The Middle East and the West3
ASIA/HIST/WGST 537Women in the Middle East3
ASIA/JWST 60First-Year Seminar: Israeli Culture and Society: Collective Memories and Fragmented Identities3
ASIA/JWST 436Language, Exile, and Homeland in Zionist Thought and Practice3
ASIA/PWAD 69First-Year Seminar: Wars and Veterans: Iran, Iraq, and Afghanistan3
ASIA/RELI 583Religion and Culture in Iran, 1500-Present3
ASIA/WGST 127Iranian Women Writers3
ASIA/WGST 329Middle East Women Writers3
ASIA/WGST 471Gender and Sexuality in Middle Eastern Literature3
GEOG 59First-Year Seminar: Space, Identity, and Power in the Middle East3
HIST 163Modern Central Asia3
HIST 5119/11 in World History H3
JWST/RELI 343Religion in Modern Israel3

Honors version available. An honors course fulfills the same requirements as the nonhonors version of that course. Enrollment and GPA restrictions may apply.

See the program page here for special opportunities.