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Language Requirement



Students should take two years of a Middle Eastern language (Arabic, Hebrew, Persian, or Turkish) by the time they graduate. Students planning to continue on for a PhD in a field related to Middle East Studies should choose the language relevant to their area of study or interest. Also, they are strongly encouraged to take at least three years of a Middle East Language. Native speakers of a Middle Eastern language are strongly encouraged to study a second Middle Eastern Language.
 
To fulfill the language requirement, students must take a proficiency exam in the Middle East Language of their choice demonstrating high intermediate proficiency (the equivalent of two years).

Only credits for advanced language courses (beyond second year) can be applied to the 30 required graduate credits (i.e., MES 76001 and MES 76002). Students may apply a maximum of nine credits in language courses toward the 30 credits required for the MA-MES.
 
All MA-MES students, including native/heritage speakers, should contact the Language Coordinator before the end of their first semester in the MA program to either confirm that they are exempt or have fulfilled the language requirement, or to discuss how they plan to fulfill it. 
 
All MA-MES students who have not fulfilled the requirement or who are not exempt from the requirement at the time of the first communication with the Language Coordinator, must have the Language Coordinator confirm that the requirement has been met before students can apply for graduation.
 
 
For Arabic: 
1. Students can pass a credit bearing 4th semester Arabic course at a university accredited in the US with a minimum grade of a B.  Students who have not done this before their arrival in the program, can, for example, take the class at any CUNY campus or any other US accredited university in the US or abroad.
 
If a student needs to take a number of Arabic courses before completing the 4th semester course, we strongly recommend that he or she does those courses at the school at which he or she intends to take the 4th semester course. Philosophies of Arabic programs tend to vary widely and it is our experience that moving from one program to another is difficult.
 
Examples of 4th semester courses that would not fulfill the language requirement would be courses offered in continuing education programs, cultural centers, at language centers, or at mosques. Of course, one can take Arabic courses anywhere one likes and then fulfill the requirement via a test (see 2 below). Please be aware, though, that 4 semesters of Arabic at a continuing education program, at a cultural center, or at a mosque does not usually equal 4 semesters of Arabic in an intensive or credit bearing program. If you have any question about whether a course would count toward the language requirement, please check with the Language Coordinator. 
 
2. Or students can receive a grade of no less than B- on Hunter College’s ARB 202 final exam (given in late May every year). The exam tests all 4 language skills and generally assumes knowledge of the material in the 3rd edition of Alif Baa (Brustad, et al), al-Kitaab part 1 (Brustad, et al) and the first 3 chapters of al-Kitaab part 2 (Brustad, et al). Please coordinate taking the exam with the Language Coordinator starting in the semester before you plan to take the exam.
 
 
For Hebrew:
1. Students can pass a credit-bearing 4th semester Hebrew course at a university accredited in the US with a minimum grade of a B. Students who have not done this before their arrival in the program, can, for example, take the class at any CUNY campus or any other US accredited university in the US or abroad.
 
Examples of 4th semester courses that would not fulfill the language requirement would be courses offered in continuing education programs, at cultural centers, at language centers, or at synagogue schools.  Of course, one can take Hebrew courses anywhere one likes and then fulfill the requirement via a test (see 2 below).  Please be aware, though, that 4 semesters of Hebrew at a continuing education program, at a cultural center, or at a synagogue school does not usually equal 4 semesters of Hebrew in an intensive or credit bearing program.  If you have any questions about whether a course would count toward the language requirement, please check with the Language Coordinator. 
 
2. Or students can receive a grade of no less than B- on Hunter College’s HEB 202 final exam (given in late May every year).  The exam tests the four language skills and seeks to cover all the basic grammar.  Please coordinate taking the exam with the Language Coordinator starting in the semester before you plan to take the exam.
 
For Persian and Turkish:
Students must score 12/12 on NYU’s “12-point exam” proficiency tests in either of those languages.  For more information on the test see:  http://bit.ly/PAH0Xr.  Please note that the test costs $300 and that exam results can take up to 8 weeks to receive.
 
Please note that the classes you take to fulfill your language requirement do not count toward your degree. Only credits for advanced language courses (beyond second year) can be applied to the 30 required graduate credits (i.e., MES 76001 and MES 76002). Students may apply a maximum of nine credits in language courses toward the 30 credits required for the MA. Please check with the Director or Associate Director of the MA program to determine ahead of time if a particular language course will count toward your degree.
 
For students planning to go on for a PhD in Middle East Studies or a related field, it is strongly recommended that they complete at least 3 years or a single Middle Eastern language.
 
For native/heritage students it is strongly recommended that they study a second Middle East language or a European language while in the MA program relevant to their course of study.  Native/heritage students must check with the Language Coordinator at the beginning of their first semester in the MA program to see if they are exempt from the language requirement.
 
For non-native/heritage students who have fulfilled the language requirement before their arrival in the MA program, it is strongly recommended that they take additional courses in the Middle Eastern Language they have studied previously or that they begin to study a second Middle Eastern language or a European language while in the MA program relevant to their course of study.
 
The Language Coordinator currently is:
 
Christopher Stone
Associate Professor of Arabic
Head of Arabic Program
Department of Classical and Oriental Studies           
Hunter College, CUNY 
212-650-3138
cst@hunter.cuny.edu