There are certain academic disciplines in which knowledge of a specific geographic area would provide a competitive edge. This Area Studies minor allows students to concentrate in the politics, culture, and economic structure of a specific geographic region. This minor will enable students to apply their academic experience in their major discipline to a geographic region and allow students to present a broader academic portfolio to potential employers or graduate schools. This Area Studies minor requires 18 semester hours. Additionally, students are encouraged to undertake the study of a language appropriate to this geographic area.

Students may apply transfer credit towards courses that count towards the minor. Many students will be able to fulfill the majority of the course requirements for a minor by carefully selecting and aligning the electives within their degree program.

Minor Objectives

Upon successful completion of this minor, the student will be able to:

General Knowledge of Regional Politics and Security

  • Investigate the concepts and theories of comparative analysis of different political regimes and economic markets.
  • Explain the role of international, regional, and non-governmental organizations in the regional context.
  • Compare and contrast the political, economic, social, and military components of national and regional power.
  • Articulate the importance of key nations to the strategic interests of the United States.


  • Determine the significant political, economic, security, diplomatic, and social challenges facing a selected region -- individually as separate nations and collectively as a region.
  • Describe the economic policies, challenges, and opportunities facing a particular region.


  • Examine the origins, course, and character of the civilization of a selected area from pre-written history until the present.
  • Describe the key historical events that shape the region’s current policies and processes.

Philosophies, Religions, and Popular Culture

  • Evaluate the importance of philosophical, cultural, and religious schools of thought underlying development in the selected area of study.
  • Identify the role culture plays in the political, cultural, economic, and social policies of a region.
  • Analyze the rise and spread of the major philosophies and religions in the selected area of study.
  • Describe the impact of the predominant religions in the selected region.
  • Analyze the role of literature as an expression of culture and politics of the selected region through a reading of the national literature.

Minor Requirements (18 semester hours)

IRLS260Middle Eastern Culture3
IRLS360Global Politics of Islam3
IRLS460Government & Security in the Middle East3
Select 2 courses from the following:6
History of the Middle East
Arab-Israeli Conflict: Contemp. Politics & Dipl.
Politics and Security in the Persian Gulf
Religions of the Middle East
Total Semester Hours18