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 on the sociology, anthropology, or economics of the Middle East.
  • Completion of one course in the humanities examining interactions between the Middle East and the West.
  • 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 364: Introduction to Arabian Nights
  • ARAB 466:The Contemporary Arabic Novel
  • HIST 160: Middle East I
  • HIST 161: Middle East II
  • HIST 467: Islamic Law and Gender
  • INAF 257: Media, Culture and Politics in the Middle East
  • INAF 258: Lebanon’s History, Society and Politics
  • INAF 324: Secularism in the Middle East
  • INAF 437: International Relations of the Middle East
  • GOVT 416: Comparative Politics of the Middle East
  • THEO 170: Christian Responses to Islam
  • THEO 144: 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

2022-2023 (students already in CARS):
  1. October 31, 2022: Submission of draft thesis
  2. January 12, 2023: Research project presentations
  3. January 30, 2023: Submission of completed thesis
  4. February 12, 2023: Submission of thesis revisions (if needed)
  5. February 19, 2023: Submission of final thesis
2023-2024 (NEW applicants to CARS):
  • February 19, 2023: New CARS applications deadline
  • End of Spring 2023: Initiate contact with mentor for research project and plan
  • Summer 2023: Conduct CARS research project
  • August 24, 2023: Submission of abstract, short progress report and bibliography
  • October 31, 2023: Submission of draft thesis
  • January 12, 2024: Research project presentations
  • January 30, 2024: Submission of completed thesis
  • February 12, 2024: Submission of thesis revisions (if needed)
  • February 19, 2024: 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.