The Mediterranean Studies Program offers students the opportunity to study the region defined by its connection to the Mediterranean Sea and receive a credential – either a Certificate in Mediterranean Studies or a Certificate in Advanced Mediterranean Studies – certifying their completion of a set of relevant area studies coursework and achievement of a certain level of proficiency in a world language relevant to that region.
The Mediterranean Studies Program includes area studies that overlap with other programs within the University Center for International Studies, including European Union Studies, West European Studies, East European Studies, Eurasian Studies, African Studies, and Global Studies. Interested students should therefore also consider and pursue relevant opportunities not just in the European Studies Center, but also in other UCIS area studies centers – The Center for Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies. Students interested primarily in transregional and transnational themes and in exploring global processes at work in the region should consider a certificate from the Global Studies Center instead of or in addition to a Mediterranean Studies Certificate.
Description of the Program
The Mediterranean Studies program at the University Center for International Studies provides Pitt students and faculty with the institutional support and organizational structure to examine issues and themes across the Mediterranean world over a broad chronological span – from Antiquity to the present. The interdisciplinary certificates offered by the Center for African Studies contextualize the ideas and ideals of Mediterranean cultures past and present and examine the influence of those ideas outside of the region. The regional designation of the Mediterranean allows for an exploration of North Africa and the Middle East.
Area studies of the Mediterranean region invites comparative studies in Religious Studies, History, Political Science, Economics, and Philosophy, among many other departments. Students can study the origins of three of the world’s major religions--Judaism, Christianity, and Islam--and trace their subsequent spread and related diasporas of peoples. As a complement to the research priorities of the Department of History, Mediterranean Studies allows students to organize a transnational and comparative study of empires across time in a limited space, including in the Maghreb and Middle East. Thematically, students can pursue the study of conflict and conflict resolution through a comparative and geographically-conscribed lens that includes the French-Algerian War, the Arab Spring, and others. Studies of migration, as well as nationalism can be included under the banner of Mediterranean Studies. Other potential intersecting topics include international trade, energy and environmental studies, and resource management, as well as the history of mathematics, astronomy, and philosophy, and literary and cultural studies.
The Mediterranean region is used as an organizing principle in research and academia, and this certificate allows students to construct a plan of interdisciplinary area studies coursework in a new and relevant way. In conjunction with other credentials and co-curricular experiences in a student’s academic plan, this new certificate program helps students prepare for international careers in administration, policy, diplomacy, and business and complements graduate studies in policy, cultural studies, and a host of traditional disciplines.
Students are able to obtain either a Certificate in Mediterranean Studies (typically most accessible to students enrolled in a terminal Masters degree program) or a Certificate in Advanced Mediterranean Studies (appropriate for students in Ph.D. programs). Regardless of which tier students choose to pursue, there are four certificate requirements:
- Language Proficiency
- Area Studies Courses
- A Research Paper
- Graduation with a graduate or a professional degree
Tier One: Masters-level Certificate
Tier Two: Ph.D.-level/Advanced Certificate
Language Proficiency: Two (2) years/ four (4) semesters of college-level instruction or equivalent proficiency in a North African language.
Language Proficiency: Three (3) years/ six (6) semesters of college-level instruction or equivalent proficiency in a North African language.
Area Studies Coursework: At least fifteen (15) credits of relevant coursework is required. Six (6) of these credits must be outside of the student’s major school or department. A list of some of the relevant courses is available below.
Area Studies Coursework: At least eighteen (18) credits of relevant coursework is required. Six (9) of these credits must be outside of the student’s major school or department. A list of some of the relevant courses is available below.
Research Paper: An interdisciplinary research paper of 15-25 pages that reflects the use of materials in a language used in the historical or contemporary Mediterranean region. The paper could be prepared for a course that is not counted toward the coursework requirement, but students are encouraged to conceptualize it with the certificate requirements in mind and to consult with the Center's Associate Director/ Advisor while writing it. The paper will be evaluated by a CAS-affiliated faculty member.
Research Paper: An interdisciplinary research paper of at least 15-25 pages that reflects the use of materials in a language used in the historical or contemporary Mediterranean region. The paper could be prepared for a course that is not counted toward the coursework requirement or a chapter of the student’s dissertation, but students are encouraged to conceptualize it with the certificate requirements in mind and to consult with the Center's Associate Director/ Advisor while writing it. The paper will be evaluated by a CAS-affiliated faculty member.
Students can demonstrate proficiency either through “seat time” (as demonstrated on their transcripts) or through a placement exam administered by the relevant language department.
Mediterranean Studies Courses
To be counted as a relevant Mediterranean Studies course, an individual course must have at least 25% of its content related to the region. This can be reflected in the syllabus or it can be achieved through student-directed selection of topics for required additional readings and writing assignments. Final designation of a course as relevant must be sought from the Advisor for the certificate program. In some cases, students may be approved to take an upper-level undergraduate course that has been modified to make it graduate level.
The courses listed below, then, provide an idea of the kinds of courses that can count toward the area studies coursework requirement, but it should not be seen as comprehensive.
For a list of courses that have been pre-approved for the current semester, go to Approved Courses (coming soon).
Students must complete all requirements for the Master's or professional degree or successfully defend their dissertation for the Ph.D.
In order to obtain maximum benefit for the program, students should meet with the Associate Director/Advisor to keep her informed on progress toward satisfying the Certificate's requirements. She advises on the completion of requirements and on opportunities that complement the Certificate, including funding opportunities.
Please contact Anna-Maria Karnes with questions regarding all African Studies graduate certificate requirements.
In addition, if your interests in the Mediterranean region intersect with other UCIS academic centers, we encourage you to reach out to the advisors in those Centers, as well.
- Europe: https://www.ucis.pitt.edu/esc/about/staff/lund
- Southeastern Europe and Turkey: ucis.pitt.edu/crees/students/courses/advising
- Transregional themes relevant to Global Studies (Ecology and Sustainability; Politics and Economy; Cultural Dynamics; Peace, Conflict, and Security; Health and Well-Being): ucis.pitt.edu/global/advising