Professor of Middle East Studies lecturing to students

Middle East Studies

About Our Program


The Middle East Studies Program/major involves the study of the history, politics, cultures, religions and languages of one of the most complex and critical regions of the world. While the program is of special interest to students who plan careers in government service or business, majoring in Middle East Studies meshes with and complements well other areas of study, such as International Relations, Global Studies, Political Science, History and International Business, to name a few.

Some of the questions students will encounter in courses in this program include: What are the main tenets of the major religions of the area? What is the history of the peoples of this region? What are the political systems of these countries like? Why is the region so critical to world politics? What are the differences in Middle Eastern cultures, within the Middle East and between the Middle East and the West and the East?

The Middle East Studies major also seeks to understand the question of democratization, political violence, the role of religion, and ideology and, the role of tradition and history in shaping the physical and psychological make-up of the region. The program will be complemented with a Study Abroad component offering students a hands-on experience in the life and culture and tradition and history of the Middle East.

Career choices include State Department area specialist, diplomatic service (national and international), policy adviser, policy analyst, federal, state and local government service and teaching. This major with a B.A. Degree can lead to advanced degree programs in Middle East Studies, International Relations, Comparative Politics and Global Studies.

The Middle East Studies Program has its academic "home" in the Department of Political Science and Economics.

Program Student Learning Outcomes
Upon completion of the Middle East Studies major requirements, students should be proficient in the following areas and be able to:
1. Distinguish between the main tenets of the major religions of the Middle East
2. Explain the differences and similarities between the political systems of the Middle East
3. Correlate the role of religion, ideology and culture to the notions of modernization and

Degrees We Offer
We offer an Associate (AA) Degree in Middle East Studies.

Contact Information / Program Director:
Dr. Manoutchehr Eskandari-Qajar

Office and Phone: IDC 357, ext. 2435

For additional contact information and department faculty, please click on "Middle East Studies +" at the top of the page, and select the "Faculty and Staff" link.

Honors and Awards
Each Spring Semester, one outstanding student in Middle East Studies is chosen by the Director of the program and recognized at the Outstanding Students Awards Banquet as the "Outstanding Student in Middle East Studies." This student will also be given the "Margareta Jamner Middle East Studies Student of the Year Award," named in honor of Margareta Jamner, benefactor and first graduate of the Middle East Studies program at SBCC. This award was permanently endowed in 2008 by Mrs. Jamner to give students a $500 award for this achievement each year.

Each Spring Semester, students may also apply for one of three prestigious scholarships in Middle East Studies in the amount of $1,000 each: the "Manoutchehr M. Eskandari-Qajar Honorary Scholarship in Middle East Studies," made available in perpetuity to students in the Middle East Studies Program by a generous donation of Mr. and Mrs. Fred Jamner in honor of the founder of the Middle East Studies Program at SBCC, Dr. Manoutchehr Eskandari-Qajar; the "Gene Knudsen Hoffman Middle East Studies Scholarship," made available through a permanent endowment by Mrs. Lessie Sinclair Nixon in honor of Gene Knudsen Hoffman; and the Madeleine and Peter Jacobson Middle East Scholarship," made available in perpetuity by a generous donation by Mr. and Mrs. Jacobson. Details on how to qualify and apply for these prestigious scholarships can be obtained at the Financial Aid Office in the Student Services Building (East Campus), or by calling ext. 2716.

Study Abroad
Every two years, the Middle East Studies Program arranges a Semester Abroad program through the SBCC Study Abroad Office. The inaugural Semester Abroad Program in Middle East Studies will leave in Spring of 2007 for Athens and Istanbul. All SBCC students in good standing qualify to apply. A number of scholarships in various amounts are available for this Study Abroad program. For details, please contact the SBCC Study Abroad Office.

Student Programs
The Middle East Studies Club (MESC) is a student organization which meets regularly during the semester and plans programs designed to involve the student community in political issues dealing with the Middle East. For further information, contact Dr. Eskandari-Qajar, ext. 2435.

Transfer Opportunities
SBCC's Middle East Studies Program is fully articulated with the UC and CSU systems. Students in the program will have satisfied most if not all lower division requirements for the respective majors at four-year schools, such as UCSB's Islamic and Near Eastern Studies Program and major. For transfer details, please consult with the Counseling Center in the Student Services Building (East Campus).

Student Participation
The Middle East Studies Club (MESC) is a student organization which meets regularly during the semester and plans programs designed to involve the student community in political issues dealing with the Middle East. 

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