Middle East Politics Certificate

The Middle East features often in statements made by politicians, and stories from the region are a constant staple of the media. However, it is still considered by many to be a “mystery.”  This is in part a result of the misrepresentation of the region and its peoples in addition to the incessant regional political developments, especially during the current decade. 


The purpose of the suggested certificate is to provide students with a deeper understanding of the politics of the region that goes beyond stereotypes disseminated by the media and manipulated by political and interest groups. It will introduce students to current research and practice concerning the complex interplay among the different peoples and the states of the Middle East, as well as the interaction between the region and the rest of the world. 

While the certificate will be issued and managed by the Political Science department, students can take courses from a host of other departments and programs, for instance Geography, History, Languages, Religious Studies, and Women and Gender Studies.  Such an interdisciplinary approach will expose students to a variety of perspectives on the study of the Middle East.  It will also train them to investigate the interconnections among the different aspects of the political in the region.


The certificate is designed to appeal primarily to students interested in pursuing a career in foreign policy, security, non-governmental organizations, conflict resolution and academia.  Topics covered in the certificate include: the structure and dynamics of the Middle East interstate system, the relation between state and society, colonialism, decolonization, nationalism and globalization(s) in the Middle East. 

Students will examine relevant theoretical and methodological literature in these aforementioned areas and will apply them in their coursework. Upon completing this certificate students should be able to:

  • understand the place and function of the Middle East in the current international system.
  • identify and analyze the deep structures that regulate the politics of the region.
  • understand the main ideological movements and divisions in the region.
  • appreciate the main cultural and religious expressions of the peoples of the region.
  • appreciate the complexities and diversity of Middle Eastern societies.
  • understand the interplay between politics and religion in the Middle East.
  • understand the challenges facing democratization efforts in the region.
  • understand the causes of the main conflicts in the region and the reasons for the failure of international endeavors to resolve them.

Certificate Requirements:

  • Students have to take at least three Political Science courses that have a Middle East focus. Students will be required to take an introductory course and a capstone.
  • Minimum hours in residency: all courses must be taken in residency at CU Denver
  • Minimum GPA and Allowable grades: 2.0 minimum GPA with no program course below C for the undergraduate certificate
  • Admission requirements: None. All students are eligible to enroll in the program.


The undergraduate certificate will require 5 program courses. All of the courses (except for ARAB 2120 Intermediate 2) have to be upper division courses, (3000 or 4000 level); of these only one can be an independent study.


  • ARAB 2120 Intermediate 2
  • GEOG 3150 Middle East
  • HIST 4461 The Modern Middle East*
  • HIST 4462 Islam in Modern History
  • PSCI 4736 The Middle East in World Affairs*
  • PSCI 4150 Gender Politics in the Middle East: Beyond Orientalism and Islamism**
  • PSCI 4165 Islamic Politics and Culture
  • PSCI 4156 The Arab-Israeli Peace Negotiations**
  • PSCI Political Systems of the Middle East and North Africa
  • PSCI 4002 Middle East Politics and Society in Film*
  • RLST 3120 Islamic Traditions
  • RLST 3100 Islamic Politics and Culture
  • WGST 4150 Gender Politics in the Middle East: Beyond Orientalism and Islamism**

This list is based on the existing courses. Other courses may be added in the future.

  • *Counts as an introductory course
  • **Counts as a capstone course

For more information, please contact Dr. Bassem Hassan at: Bassem.Hassan@ucdenver.edu