Middle East studies minor added to political science degree offerings

Development of the new minor started in 2018. (File photo by Tiffany Roney | Collegian Media Group)

Beginning in the fall, the Department of Political Science will offer a new Middle East studies minor.

Sabri Ciftci, associate professor of political science, helped create the program and will be co-director.

He said the program offers courses in intercultural exchanges, the history of Islamic thought, political Islam, religion and communication in the Middle East.

“[The] Middle East studies minor is an interdisciplinary program that helps build knowledge of important political, historical and cultural forces of a critical region on campus and beyond,” Ciftci said. “This minor gives students a dynamic perspective of a subject that has great global interest.”

Development for the Middle East studies minor began in 2018. The Kansas Board of Regents approved the program in April. The Office of the Registrar is currently adding the curriculum offerings to the course schedule.

Ciftci said that they hope to launch the program this fall.

“The planning for the minor was in place for several years when Arts and Sciences started a committee to form an area studies major. Within this initiative, a minor in Middle East Studies emerged as one of the most feasible programs,” Ciftci said. “Faculty interested in the study of the Middle East started planning in 2018 and 2019. The curriculum and the program requirements were vigorously debated in various committees, department meetings, academic affairs committees and the faculty senate.”

This program will be compatible with Kansas State’s mission, Ciftci said. He believes the minor allows students to learn about other cultures and be equipped with diverse research about the Middle East.

“[The] Middle East studies minor has the potential to generate intellectual synergies among students from various departments in issues concerning intercultural dialogue and national security,” Ciftci said. “The Middle Eastern Studies minor will form the foundation for advancing the study of a critical region that is of interest to Kansas State University faculty and students, the local community, the state and the nation.”