Students enrolled in the AM program may choose to write a master's thesis, but a thesis is not required to complete the degree; those considering further graduate study are strongly encouraged to write a master's thesis. Students are responsible for securing the commitment of a Thesis Director to supervise the thesis by the end of the spring semester of their first year. The Thesis Director will meet with the student at regular intervals during the second year to ensure progress on the thesis. (Harvard faculty who serve as Thesis Directors may choose to supervise a 300-level reading and research course as a means of thesis supervision). In the final semester, students writing a master's thesis are expected to enroll in "MES 299b—Master's Thesis in Middle Eastern Studies." The thesis is expected to be an original contribution to academic scholarship and may not be submitted for an additional course.
See our list of recent AM thesis titles for a snapshot of the areas of interest to recent grads.
CMES Thesis Prize
CMES awards a thesis prize of $300 for the best master's thesis in Middle Eastern Studies as determined by a faculty committee. The thesis prize is awarded annually at the end of the spring semester.