Middle East Studies Program

Middle East Studies Program

Come spend a semester in Jordan where you will learn Arabic language, take classes in Middle Eastern history and culture, and live with a Middle Eastern family. Travel to such places as Israel/Palestine, Tunisia, or Morocco. Through daily life in the Middle East, witness different world views that will challenge and strengthen your own beliefs. 

Additional information is available at Middle East Studies Program.

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All Messiah approved semester-long, off-campus programs are approved and designed to meet the requirements for the Experiential Learning Initiative (ELI). To learn more about the process, please explore the ELI Off-Campus Study Information Page.

  • Students will complete all of the Experiential Learning Initiative (ELI) requirements that are a part of this program.
  • Sophomore, Junior, or Senior status.
  • 2.75 GPA
  • Since studying off-campus for a semester is a privilege, please note the following implications of being place on probation at Messiah University:

    Chapel Probation: A student currently on chapel probation for the first time (or with an impending chapel probation for the upcoming semester) will be required to communicate or meet with the Director of the Agape Center for Local and Global Engagement to determine the potential impact on the student’s upcoming semester off-campus.  If a student has been placed on chapel probation more than once during their time at Messiah, they will not be eligible to study off-campus for a semester.

    Academic Probation or Low GPA: A student on academic probation or whose GPA drops below 2.75 will be not be eligible to study off-campus.

    Disciplinary Probation: A student who has been placed on disciplinary probation at any time during the off-campus study application / acceptance process will be required to meet with the Director of the Agape Center for Local and Global Engagement to determine the potential impact on the student’s upcoming semester off-campus.

Off-Campus study is a time of challenge and change. The following are some things you should understand about this program before you participate. Students at MESP should anticipate:

  • Living in close-quarters, as MESP students share an apartment with bunk beds and shared bathrooms, kitchens, and communal spaces with little alone time.
  • Spending time daily in the city of Amman engaging local Jordanians, taking taxis, shopping and exploring, and experiencing potentially dramatic changes in diet, climate, and social life.
  • Travelling twice per semester for up to two weeks at a time in locations where there are emergency medical services but very limited support services and counseling services.
  • Spending up to two weeks in Israel/Palestine experiencing both Jewish and Palestinian homestays in the context of long days of local travel, site visits, and lectures.
  • Travelling in contexts in which there is a regular presence of armed soldiers and police and a high level of tension.
  • Experiencing significant cultural differences regarding gender and racial tensions, and the frequent possibility of negative attention (especially verbal).
  • Experiencing potentially challenging personal, religious, and cultural learning, lectures, field trips and assignments.
  • Possible food-borne illness

The Registrar's Office has determined that the following courses taken at the Middle East Studies Program will fulfill General Education requirements:

Course General Education
Requirement Met
CAI 301 Introduction to Colloquial Arabic (4) First Level Language
CAI 305
People and Cultures of the Middle East
CAI 309
Conflict and Change in the Middle East
World Views
Participation in the program
Cross-Cultural Waiver

Courses may meet major or general education requirements.

Courses will appear on Messiah transcripts with letter grades.

Students will meet their third language/cross-cultural requirement by participating in this program.  Students will not earn 3 credits, rather the requirement will be waived.

Pass/Fail Option

During their university careers, students may take a maximum of four courses on a pass/fail (P/F) basis with these conditions: 

  • Such a course must be from a discipline other than those required for the student's major or minor.
  • Courses fulfilling requirements for a major, minor, or general education may not be used.
  • Students may declare their intention to take a course under the Pass/Fail option when they register or through the first calendar week of classes at the beginning of the new term. Students may also select to return to the letter grade system during this same time period. The selection cannot be changed after the first calendar week of classes.
  • The cut-off point to obtain a P is C–.
  • The instructor will submit only conventional letter grades to the Registrar's Office. This office will then convert the grade to P or F. (An instructor does not know which students are taking a course on a pass/fail basis.

The first FIVE DAYS of your classes are critical:

Recognizing that courses change while abroad, a student is required to communicate to the Registrar’s Office within the first FIVE DAYS of classes if their Off-Campus Course Approval Form in Terra Dotta has changed since the original submission/approval. Specifically, if a student desires to change a course to a pass/fail instead of a letter grade, this must be approved by Messiah University Registrar’s Office within the first FIVE DAYS of classes at the host partner program.


Students are required to take no fewer than 12 credits towards their overall degree requirements and no more than 18 credits. These 12-18 credits include courses taken as pass/fail and letter grades. However, in addition to those 12-18 degree credits, students who would like to audit an academic course for no credit are permitted to do so for up to one 4 credit hour course for the sake of learning, cultural immersion or personal interest at no additional charge. This audited course will not appear on the Messiah University student’s transcript.

What do you pay?

TOTAL COSTS = Messiah tuition + Messiah room + Messiah board + Student services fee + $1,910 off-campus study fee

Expore possible scholarships for this program. 

These Costs Include:

  • tuition, housing, meals
  • educational excursions
  • pre-departure, and re-entry orientation
  • international travel insurance
  • student services fee
    • Student Services fee includes access to various services available to all students through, including internet access to, the Learning & Writing Centers, Career Services, Academic Accessibility Office, Library, Department of Safety, Agapé Center for Local and Global Engagement, and other campus offices that provide services to students both on and off campus.

Note: additional fees students may encounter include (but are not limited to) transportation, visas, passports, immunizations, and course fees.

Credit Limit Policy for Semester-Long, Off-Campus Program

Typically when students study off-campus in Messiah-approved, semester-long programs, students earn between 13 and 18 credits. All students must be enrolled in at least 12 credits.

The tuition/fees charged for Messiah’s approved study abroad programs permits a student to complete 12-18 credits.  Messiah University will process up to 18 credits.  If a student completes more than 18 credits and would like the additional credits applied to their transcript, additional tuition will be charged for credits over 18 and would be assessed after the official transcript is received/processed by Messiah.

Updated 03 March 2023


Messiah Pre-Approval Deadlines

  • Fall - December 1
  • Spring - April 1

Middle East Studies Program Deadline

  • Fall - June 1
  • Spring - December 1

Rolling admissions; students are strongly encouraged to apply early

Courtney Zimmerman

"My experience in Egypt challenged my faith as the majority of the population was Muslim and the call to prayer was a daily reminder of the religion practiced everywhere around me. However, I also learned of the rich Coptic Christian tradition that has been there for two thousand years. The trip ultimately stretched and strengthened my faith. I feel that my faith can be more applicable now to more people, a more global faith or at least a better understanding."