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FAQ
Frequently Asked Questions

 What can I do with a major in Asian and Middle Eastern Studies?

The answer partly depends upon the amount of language work incorporated into the degree program. In the past, AMES majors have entered fields of journalism and television, trade, banking, and teaching without further study. Others have entered graduate school and gone on to careers in medicine, law, finance and trade, journalism, international affairs, writing and academics.


 What is significant about the fact that Asian and Middle Eastern Studies is an interdisciplinary major?

The AMES Program encourages students to design majors around a geographical, cultural or historical center. This is especially important for students who wish to combine extensive language study with knowledge of other disciplines.  The faculty's primary geographical specializations are East Asia, the Middle East, South and Southeast Asia, and Central Asia.  At present the Program recommends degree concentrations in Middle East, South Asia, Southeast Asia, South/Southeast Asia and East Asia. Within that thematic framework, students are encouraged to design a program that includes numerous disciplines, with faculty who have research interests related to Asia or the Middle East. In addition, AMES provides a good framework for advanced students presenting adequate preparation to focus on Interregional Studies.


 What is the difference between a major in the Asian and Middle Eastern Studies Program (AMES) and a major in the Department of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies Languages and Literatures (DAMELL)?

The Department of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies Languages and Literatures is a department in the division of the Humanities, and its faculty participate in the Asian and Middle Eastern Studies Program along with the faculty of about a dozen other departments. The AMES Program is a multidisciplinary program in the division of the Social Sciences.  All AMES majors are strongly encouraged to study a relevant language, which is most often done in DAMELL.   In many cases such students will also be strongly encouraged to participate in the DAMELL study-abroad programs in China, Japan, and Morocco. However, language is not required for a degree in the AMES program, and thesis work for the AMES degree can be done with faculty from any of our participating departments.


 Is it important that I study an Asian or Middle Eastern language while at Dartmouth?

It depends on what you would like to do after graduation (please consult with your faculty advisor).  Language study is not required for a degree in Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, but in almost all cases students create more opportunities for themselves after Dartmouth by becoming competent in a modern Asian or Middle Eastern language. This means being not only fluent in speaking, but capable of writing and advanced reading.   In a smaller number of instances, students will need unusual preparation in ancient or classical languages, and perhaps be able to read European languages in which important scholarship is written.  The range of possibilities for students who achieve the degree in Asian and Middle Eastern Studies is too vast for one generalization to apply to all or even a majority of cases.  This underscores how extremely important it is that students work in partnership with faculty to design their programs.


 What if I wish to study languages Dartmouth does not currently offer, such as Korean, Berber, Urdu, Turkish, Tibetan or Farsi?

You should consult as early as possible with a Dartmouth faculty member who knows the language you wish to study or knows what is required to learn it (check under Area concentrations for this).  This consultation should allow you to answer some questions for yourself, such as:  Is it important that I study this language as an undergraduate, or should I pursue it later? If it is important that I study it now, should I transfer elsewhere, or attempt to customize a program of study?  If I decide to integrate this language study with my degree work at Dartmouth, is there an existing language program with which Dartmouth is familiar and which I can assume will offer the quality of instruction I need?  If I decide to pursue this individually, how can I structure my studies at Dartmouth to allow me to pursue these various goals?


  What is the role of study-abroad programs in an Asian and Middle Eastern Studies major?

Members of the AMES faculty regard foreign experience as extremely important. At the moment the AMES Program runs a foreign study program in Fez, Morocco, for students with special interests in the Middle East or the Islamic world and, in partnership with Women's and Gender Studies, a foreign study program in Hyderabad, India, for students with special interests in South Asia. AMES also sponsors a foreign exchange program in Seoul, Korea. The Department of Asian and Middle Eastern Languages and Literatures offers foreign study programs in China and Morocco and an LSA+ program in Japan, and AMES majors are strongly encouraged to qualify for and participate in those programs. Students with an interest in studying other languages are invited to consult with AMES faculty to explore possibilities for integrating non-Dartmouth programs with their on-campus work.


 What is the most common mistake made by Asian and Middle Eastern Studies majors?

Failure to consult early regularly with an advisor listed on the masthead for the AMES Program in the ORC. Because the requirements for the AMES degree are flexible, many students tend to be casual about the way they design their program. This can cause many opportunities for coordination of foreign study with on-campus degree requirements, or to gain adequate preparation for advanced research or language work, to be missed. Students should consult with advisors early and often to ensure that their study plans have coherence and depth.


Administrator, Ann Fenton
Last Modified September 29, 2013