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  University of Pennsylvania
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Degree Requirement AIS Courses AIS Faculty

Degree Requirement

Undergraduate Programs

The Major [ Minimum requirement 14 c.u.]

Students are required to take 6 c.u.'s of language, 6 c.u.'s of history, literature, and religion, and 2 electives to be chosen in consultation with the major adviser. All changes from the normal major requirements must be approved in advance. For Arabic, instruction and testing is proficiency-based, and students will be expected to reach an ADVANCED level of proficiency by the completion of their major program. The Major Adviser is Professor Roger Allen.


 

General Requirements:
- Language Requirement: 6 c.u. Both basic language courses and advanced courses in literature in the original language count toward this requirement. Some concentrations impose additional language requirements, which are taken from the electives (see below).


- Breadth Requirement: 2 c.u. Two courses must be taken from NELC offerings outside the student's chosen concentration. These are to be selected for appropriateness with the student's advisor.


- Electives: 6 c.u. These will normally be content courses within the chosen concentration, but each concentration imposes certain constraints on the electives to be selected.


- Concentration Paper Requirement: Within his or her chosen concentration, every student must write a substantial term paper in an appropriate "upper-level" course. Course offerings fulfilling this requirement will vary from year to year; examples of such courses for each concentration are listed below. (In the case of courses double-numbered at both the 200 and 400 levels, the requirement will be met only by enrollment at the 400 level.) In all cases, these courses must be pre-designated by the student, and the paper topic must be pre-approved by the professor. Upon completion and acceptance of the term paper a form must be filed with the student's record. In a term during which no appropriate course is offered in the student's concentration, the advisor may approve a 499 reading and research course with an appropriate instructor.


Specific Requirements:

Islamic Middle East: The 6 c.u. language requirement is to be fulfilled in Arabic, Persian, or Turkish. Electives, to be chosen in consultation with the student's advisor, may be focused on either the medieval or modern period, but must include a minimum of one course each in history, literature (in the original or translation) and religion. Examples of concentration paper courses are NELC 434 (Arabic Literature and Literary Theory) and 437 (The Islamic Intellectual Tradition).


Modern Middle East: This concentration, combining the study of modern Israeli and Arab-Islamic cultures, has a language requirement of 6 c.u.'s (which may be split between two years [4 c.u.'s] of either Arabic or Hebrew and one year of the other language). Students are encouraged to study the second of the two languages for two years also, by using 2 of the elective courses (see below) for that purpose. The remaining 6 c.u.'s should include 5 elective courses chosen in conjunction with the major adviser from Middle East courses in NELC (and occasionally other departments) and 1 (one) concentration paper course. Examples of the concentration paper course include: NELC 434 (Literary Theory and Arabic Literature), NELC 252 (Themes in the Jewish Tradition), NELC 437 (Islamic Intellectual Tradition) or an independent study course. 

Double Majors 
NELC welcomes and encourages students majoring in other departments to double-major in NELC. Prospective double-majors should consult the relevant concentration advisor for help in arranging their program and for coordinating the two majors. Note that theses in other majors may not be substituted for the concentration paper requirement.


Arabic Major Honors Program

In addition to the major requirements listed above, students who opt for departmental honors will be required to take an additional 2 c.u.'s in reading Arabic Texts. These may be selected from the courses numbered NELC 430, 432, and 433. Honors students will also be required to write a senior thesis under the supervision of one of the department's faculty members specializing in the Islamic Middle East. Students choosing to submatriculate into the graduate program in Arabic & Islamic Studies MUST fulfill the requirements of the Honors Program.

 

Them Minor [Minimum requirement 8 c.u.]

 

General Requirements:
-Language Requirement: 4 c.u. Both basic language courses and advanced courses in literature in the original language count towards this requirement.
-Electives: 4 c.u. These will normally be content courses within the chosen concentration, but each concentration may specify additional requirements.

Specific Requirements:


- Islamic Middle East: The 4 c.u.'s of language courses should be chosen from the following: ARAB 030, 031, 033, 431, 435, or 530. The electives may be chosen from the following: NELC 137, 225, 233, 237, 336, 432, 433, 434, 436, 438, 439, 516, 536, 537, 539; ARTH 416, 417; ANTH 540; H1ST 81, 166; LGST 529; PSCI 162, 461, 462, 463; RELS 143.


- Modern Middle East: The Language requirement is normally fulfilled by second-year level of proficiency in either Hebrew or Arabic (4 c.u.). Those students who enter with proficiency in one of these languages or who can fulfill the requirement in fewer than four courses can either take more advanced language or literature in the original language courses or elementary courses in the other language. The four elective courses must include courses that deal with both the Arab and Israeli worlds and should include courses from at least three of the following areas: history, literature, religion, and the social sciences.

Graduate Degree Program

General Requirements:
-Language Requirement: 4 c.u. Both basic language courses and advanced courses in literature in the original language count towards this requirement.


-Electives: 4 c.u. These will normally be content courses within the chosen concentration, but each concentration may specify additional requirements.

Specific Requirements:
- Islamic Middle East: The 4 c.u.'s of language courses should be chosen from the following: ARAB 030, 031, 033, 431, 435, or 530. The electives may be chosen from the following: AMES 137, 225, 233, 237, 336, 432, 433, 434, 436, 438, 439, 516, 536, 537, 539; ARTH 416, 417; ANTH 540; H1ST 81, 166; LGST 529; PSCI 162, 461, 462, 463; RELS 143.


- Modern Middle East: The Language requirement is normally fulfilled by second-year level of proficiency in either Hebrew or Arabic (4 c.u.). Those students who enter with proficiency in one of these languages or who can fulfill the requirement in fewer than four courses can either take more advanced language or literature in the original language courses or elementary courses in the other language. The four elective courses must include courses that deal with both the Arab and Israeli worlds and should include courses from at least three of the following areas: history, literature, religion, and the social sciences.

 

The Major

A.M. degree

Courses:
Students will take four (4) c.u.'s in language beyond the Advanced Intermediate level as specified above. These include one each in syntax and composition and two reading courses. In addition, they are required to take four (4) courses in Islamics (history & religion) and two (2) courses in Arabic literature. Two (2) course units of a minor Islamic language (usually Persian or Turkish) are required, as is a reading knowledge of one European language (usually French or German although substitutions may be made with the approval of the Faculty).


Exams:
At the conclusion of coursework (and once the European language reading exam has been passed), the student will prepare for Comprehensive Examinations. A BASIC READINGS LIST FOR THIS PURPOSE IS AVAILABLE.

The criteria for the European language examination (passages for translation selected from a work in the field of specialization of the candidate) are: 
1- Accuracy of translation;
2- Speed (how much is translated in the allotted time); 
3- Readability of the English version.

The subjects for the A.M. examinations are as follows: 
1- Arabic language and its history; 
2- Middle Eastern history and historiography during the Islamic period and
the institutions of Islam;
3- Arabic literature & criticism.

Thesis:
Upon successful completion of these exams, the A.M thesis is prepared under the supervision of one or more members of the faculty in Arabic & Islamic Studies. Students proceeding to the Ph.D. program must complete an A.M. thesis. Students wishing for a TERMINAL A.M. degree may submit two lengthy term papers for consideration by the faculty instead of the A.M. thesis.


Ph.D. degree

Courses:
This degree program consists of a further eight (8) course units beyond those required for the A.M. program described above. (For students entering with an A.M. or equivalent degree from another institution, up to eight (8) course units MAY be transferred into this program at the discretion of the Arabic & Islamic Studies faculty and the Graduate Chair of the Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations Program.

The required eight (8) course units break down as follows:

Three (3) in Arabic literature and Islamics at the advanced seminar level (600+), distributed according to the field of interest in the ratio of 2:1;

 

Two (2) course units at the second-year/Intermediate level in the minor language (the first-year/Elementary level I part of the A.M. requirements);

 

Three (3) elective courses to be chosen in conjunction with the major adviser and the student's committee.


Exams:
At the conclusion of course work, the student must pass a second reading exam in a European language (French or German; other options open at the discretion of the faculty). The criteria for this exam are the same as those mentioned in the A.M. section above.

There will also be a comprehensive examination (for which a reading list is also available). As opposed to the equivalent examinations for the A.M. degree, these examinations will presume a high degree of familiarity 
with sources in the Islamic languages chosen by the student and of readings in texts from the various disciplines within the fields of study.

Dissertation:
Upon successful completion of the examination process students will prepare a DISSERTATION PROPOSAL under the guidance of their adviser and committee. Regulations regarding this process are to be found in the general departmental guidelines for graduate students.

Committee:
All graduate work will be done under the supervision of an adviser who will be a member of the Asian & Middle Eastern Studies Department. This adviser will be a member of the faculty in Arabic & Islamic Studies and will chair the student's committee. This committee will normally consist of members of the Asian & Middle Eastern Studies Department, although other members of the Graduate Group in Asian & Middle Eastern Studies may be invited to join when the interests of the student seem to justify such an expansion of the committee.

 

The Minor

Courses:
A thorough knowledge of modern standard Arabic equivalent to proficiency in Advanced Intermediate Arabic (ARAB 033). This may be shown either through course work at this university or through reaching the required level (80% aggregate) on the appropriate proficiency test.

Exams:
Two subjects will be examined:

1- Arabic language literature (history and criticism, based on sources in European languages); 
2- Islamics: the history of the Middle East in the Islamic era, and the institutions of Islam.

Students interested in taking the Minor Program are strongly encouraged to take the appropriate courses at this university in order to achieve the necessary standards for these examinations. They should also consult the Arabic & Islamic Studies faculty about additional readings.