Islam and Islamism are at the center of countless contemporary political and social debates. This makes a profound engagement with Islamic culture all the more important. The Bachelor’s Degree Program in Near & Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Basel is primarily concerned with the history, society and politics of the modern Middle East, as well as topics from religious and cultural studies concerning recent and present-day Islam and Muslim lifeworlds. Basic academic instruction draws on methods, models and theories from social studies combined with working methods from subjects such as history, philosophy and literary studies. Acquisition of Turkish and Arabic language skills is also an integral part of the bachelor’s program.

Focal areas of teaching and research

The Bachelor’s Degree Program in Near & Middle Eastern Studies is affiliated with the University of Basel’s Department of Middle Eastern Studies. The thematic and temporal focus lies on the political, social and intellectual history of the late Ottoman Empire and the post-Ottoman Middle East from the 19thcentury onwards, as well as contemporary issues including religious, social and cultural norms and forms of expression of Muslim lifeworlds. Geographically, the emphasis lies on the historical core area of the Ottoman Empire, known as «Eurasia Minor», which is made up of Southeast Europe, Anatolia, the Caucasus, the Levant, Mesopotamia, the Arabian Peninsula and Egypt.

An example of the program’s research agenda is the topic «Islam in Southeast Europe»: In light of the accession of Southeast European countries with majority Muslim populations to the European Union, Islam is set to attract increased attention in Southeast Europe in the future. A large portion of Muslims living in Switzerland already originate from countries in Southeast Europe.

The Department of Middle Eastern Studies cooperates closely with other departments within the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, including Eastern European Studies, Religious Studies and Political Science, as well as the Faculty of Theology.

The Bachelor’s Degree Program in Near & Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Basel offers thorough basic instruction in the humanities and social sciences. In terms of content, the program extends far beyond the religious, theological and anthropological questions of Islam («Islamic Studies»), primarily comprising regional research topics concerning the history, society and politics of the Middle East («Middle Eastern Studies»). Students devote considerable time, energy and effort to learning Arabic – the primary language of Islamic religion and culture – and Turkish. They are strongly encouraged to take part in language programs in the Middle East during semester breaks. In addition to improving their language skills, this gives them the opportunity to familiarize themselves with the culture of and acquire knowledge about the country in which the program takes place. Besides being of great importance for later academic work, these skills also facilitate access to the various professional fields open to graduates in Middle Eastern Studies.

Language of instruction

The languages of instruction are German and English. Exams can be taken in either language. In advanced subjects, Arabic and Turkish may be used as languages of instruction.

If the program is started in the fall semester, language instruction begins with Arabic, followed by Turkish as a second language in the spring semester. For students joining the program in the spring semester, Turkish is the first language to be introduced, followed by Arabic as a second language in the fall semester.

Program structure

A bachelor’s is the first degree a person can earn. It requires a total of 180 credit points (CP). The Bachelor's Degree Program in Near & Middle Eastern Studies is one of two subjects studied, each worth 75 CP. Free electives (30 CP) are also included. One ECTS credit point equates to approximately 30 hours of work.

Bachelor of Arts (180 CP)
Near & Middle Eastern Studies
75 CP
Degree subject of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences
or extra-faculty
75 CP
Free electives
30 CP
Two degree subjects

Combination of subjects

The Bachelor’s Degree Program in Near & Middle Eastern Studies allows many profitable combinations with other subjects of study in terms of content, method and future professional activity in the Middle East region. Students can choose a subject offered by the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences or a subject from another faculty as their second bachelor’s degree subject

Students are free to choose any free elective. These courses allow students to deepen their knowledge of their degree subjects, gain an insight into other degree subjects offered by the University of Basel, or acquire language skills.

Bachelor’s admission requirements

The Student Administration Office at the University of Basel is responsible for admitting students to bachelor’s programs in the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences. This is based on the admission regulations of the President’s Office:

  • with Swiss educational qualifications, 
  • foreign educational qualifications, or
  • as a visiting student (not working toward a degree at the University of Basel)

Holders of a Swiss federal Maturität certificate will be admitted to all bachelor’s degree programs.

If you have any further questions, please consult the information provided here.

Registration dates

Students must register for their bachelor’s or master’s degree program within a specified timeframe – even in cases of delayed registration.

Information events

The University of Basel organizes regular information events for bachelor’s and master’s programs. Details can be found on the events page of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences. 
Some subject areas also offer their own separate information or welcome events. Please consult the page for the relevant subject area for event dates and locations.

Bachelor’s examination & degree

Students who have obtained 60 CP per subject area and have passed the seminar papers required for the degree are permitted to register for the bachelor’s examination. To prove that they meet the requirements, they must provide their module allocation or automatic assessment email.

SS 2019 FS 2019 SS 2020 FS 2020
Registration forms (degree subject / program) available from 01.02.19 02.09.19 03.02.20 01.09.20
Registration period 12.03. - 28.03.19 01.10. - 17.10.19 10.03. - 26.03.20 29.09. - 15.10.20
Examination 18.05. & 25.05.19 07.12. & 14.12.19 09.05. & 16.05.20 05.12. & 12.12.20
Notification of grades 05.07.19 24.01.20 03.07.20 22.01.21
Inspection of examination papers and degree application

06.08. - 22.08.19 28.01. - 13.02.20 04.08. - 20.08.20 Date follows
Graduation ceremony 19.10.19 25.04.20 10.10.20 Date follows

Subject to subsequent changes.

Continuing on to a master’s degree

A bachelor's degree qualifies graduates for entry to subsequent master’s level programs. Dependent on the subject options chosen at bachelor level, it may permit entry to a master's in a different subject area.