Some 200 individuals constitute the graduate student corps in Middle East studies at UCLA, including 20 students in the CNES-sponsored interdepartmental program in Islamic Studies, and 49 in the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures (NELC).
The CNES-sponsored undergraduate program in Middle Eastern and North African Studies (MENAS) currently boasts 19 majors and 11 minors, more than twice as many as last year. And more than 60 undergraduates have declared themselves as NELC majors. Some ten thousand students take Middle East related courses across the disciplines as part of their undergraduate degree requirements each year, and nearly a thousand current students have made the Middle East a significant component of their studies by taking three or more such courses.
The Middle East studies graduate student population has a diverse mix of backgrounds and nationalities. A solid representation of students from across the Middle East and the Islamic world complements the American-born students, many of whom trace their ancestry to the Middle East including the Arab world, Iran, Armenia, Israel and Turkey.
CNES-affiliated students are active in numerous campus organizations. For more than 20 years the JUSUR (Bridges) graduate student collective has published a journal based on its research conferences which attract graduate students nationwide.
Students take full advantage of oversea travel opportunities afforded them by the UC Education Abroad Program, the Council of American Overseas Research Centers and other study-abroad programs in Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Tunisia, Turkey and Yemen. Graduate students have a record of successful competition for Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellowships and other grants.
In the past three years, 21 doctoral students have received their PhDs and joined the ranks of academia, government service, media, law and the public health professions.