Certificate of Arab and Regional Studies (CARS)


The Certificate of Arab and Regional Studies (CARS) is designed to provide students with a broad interdisciplinary understanding of the Arab and Islamic worlds.

The certificate is primarily centered on the history and current issues of the Arab world and capitalizes on the unique geographical, cultural and academic situation in Qatar. It highlights the connection of regional history with current issues and stresses the impact of culture on the self-understanding of the Arab and Islamic world and its relationship with the West.

Program Goals

As an interdisciplinary program, Arab and Regional Studies:

  • Provides students with the strong historical and civilizational background necessary to make sense of the development and current issues of the region.
  • Introduces students to the main political and economic issues and challenges of the region.
  • Fosters a reflection on the manifold interactions, past and present, between the region and the West.
  • Integrates the interdisciplinary academic experience of students within the context of a substantial research paper.

CARS Requirements

  • Completion of any two gateway history courses approved for the program.
  • Completion of one course on contemporary politics in the Middle East.
  • Completion of one course in the social sciences, including the sociology, anthropology, or economics of the Middle East.
  • Completion of any humanities course on the Western Asia and North Africa region, that includes attention to its interaction with other parts of the world.
  • Completion of a sixth course on the Middle East in any discipline.
  • Completion of a significant research thesis. The research thesis is to be written under the direction of a faculty mentor either independently or as part of a course on the Middle East, in any discipline. The faculty mentor will have to attest that the thesis reflects substantial research on the Middle East.

Most courses will be completed during junior and senior year. 

Arab and Regional Studies Sample Electives

GU-Q offers a variety of courses that fulfill the requirements of the Arab and Regional Studies certificate.

Below are some recently offered elective courses:

  • ARAB 4466:The Contemporary Arabic Novel
  • HIST 1601: Middle East I
  • HIST 1602: Middle East II
  • HIST 4607: Islamic Law and Gender
  • INAF 3271: Media in the Middle East
  • THEO 3010: Religion and Conflict
  • THEO 3420: Islamic Mystical Tradition

Final Research Thesis

In the senior year, each student pursuing the Certificate of Arab and Regional Studies writes a research thesis under the supervision of a faculty mentor. The thesis enhances and advances the student’s research interests and skills. The completed thesis must be reviewed and approved by a faculty committee in order for the Certificate to be awarded. The student will be expected to give a formal seminar outlining the main finding of the research.

CARS Thesis and Application Timeline

2024-2025 (NEW applicants to CARS):
  • January 15, 2024: Information session
  • February 20, 2024: CARS application deadline
  • March 2024: Communication of decisions
  • April 2024: Initiate contact with mentor
  • Summer 2024: Initiate CARS project research
  • September 1, 2024: Submission of extended abstract, short progress report and bibliography
  • October 31, 2024: Submission of draft thesis
  • November 2024: Receive feedback from mentor
  • January 16, 2025: Research project presentations
  • January 30, 2025: Submission of completed thesis to mentor
  • February 13, 2025: Submission of thesis revisions as required by the mentor
  • February 20, 2025: Submission of final thesis

How to Declare

Interested students should contact Dean Christine Schiwietz and the faculty chair of the Certificate in Arab and Regional Studies Program.

Frequently Asked Questions

The expected length of the thesis is 7500-9000 words (i.e., approximately 25-30 double-spaced pages), including references and endnotes.


Students must seek admission into the Arab and Regional Studies Certificate Program at the beginning of the spring semester of their junior year.


One cannot pursue Honors and a Certificate simultaneously, given the heavy workload. If the student insists to do both, he or she must complete the Certificate thesis in the junior year as per the specified CARS deadlines.