The Middle Eastern field offers instruction in the history of the region stretching from Anatolia and the Eastern Mediterranean in the west to Iran in the east, from Armenia and the Caucasus in the north to the Arabian peninsula in the south, North Africa, the Ottoman Balkans, and Islamic Iberia, from the period of Late Antiquity (fourth-seventh centuries) to the present day. Permanent faculty consists of Michael Morony (pre-modern Middle East), Gabriel Piterberg (early modern Middle East), James L. Gelvin (modern Middle East) and Sebouh Aslanian (Armenian history, World history). More information about faculty can be obtained from their individual History Department websites.
In addition to fulfilling the requirements for admission to the History Department, students should have a background in at least one Middle Eastern language and provide evidence of previous coursework in Middle Eastern history. Students are expected to have an excellent command of spoken and written English.
- Students are required to complete six quarters of seminar work. All students in the Middle Eastern field must complete two of the following seminars: Historiography of the Pre-Modern Middle East, Historiography of the Early-Modern Middle East, Historiography of the Modern Middle East.
a. Before students are eligible to advance to candidacy, they must demonstrate to the satisfaction of their faculty advisor competency in two Middle Eastern languages. These languages should be germane to the student's present and future research interests and should be chosen in consultation with his/her faculty advisor.
b. Before students are eligible to advance to candidacy, they must demonstrate competency in one European language other than English. This language should be germane to the student's present and future research interests and should be chosen in consultation with his/her faculty advisor.
c. Those students who seek to specialize in Armenian history must demonstrate a reading knowledge of Classical Armenian (Grabar), one European language other than English, and at least one other Middle Eastern language germane to the student's present and future research interests and chosen in consultation with his/her faculty advisor.
Advancement to Degree:
- Before students are eligible to sit for their qualifying examinations, they must have completed all their coursework and language requirements.
- Students are to choose an examining committee of four members in consultation with their faculty advisor. This committee should include at least three faculty members from the UCLA History Department and may include faculty members outside the Middle Eastern field. Each of the members of this committee will work with the student to prepare him/her for the qualifying examinations. Faculty serving on the examining committee may require students to take those courses they deem necessary to prepare for the qualifying examinations.
- Students are expected to draft a dissertation prospectus in consultation with their faculty advisor. This prospectus should include (a) a full statement of the dissertation topic; (b) a statement explaining why the study of the chosen topic is warranted; (c) a discussion of earlier works related to the topic; (d) a statement of the methodology to be employed; (e) a research agenda. An annotated bibliography must accompany the dissertation prospectus. The dissertation prospectus must be distributed to the members of the examining committee two weeks before the oral examinations.
- The examinations consist of two parts: a written examination and an oral examination. The written part of the examination will consist of two written examinations in each of two Middle East field. One of these is to be the major field, but the other field can be outside of the Middle East with the permission of the chair of the student's dissertation committee. The nature of the written examinations is at the discretion of the examiners. The major field might be Pre-Modern Middle Eastern History, Early Modern Middle Eastern History, Modern Middle Eastern History, or Armenian History.
Once the student passes the written examination, he/she is eligible to sit for the oral examination. The examining committee will administer the oral examination after the second written examination. The oral examination will focus on questions relating to the prospectus.
- Students will choose, in consultation with the members of the examining committee, their dissertation committee from amongst the examining committee. If all four members of the examining committee are from the History Department, the students must choose, in consultation with their faculty advisor, a faculty member from another department to act as outside reader. This faculty member is to be present at the oral examination.