Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies

Postgraduate study

Choose from a range of programmes taking either an Area Studies approach, or combining intensive language study with the interdisciplinary exploration of societies and cultures. Providing excellent teaching and supervision, we offer programmes ranging from one-year masters degrees (both taught and research-led) to PhDs.

What's it like to study here?

Students in Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies

With over 260 years of history in teaching and research, we are globally recognised as a leading centre for postgraduate study in Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies.

Join our community and you’ll be part of a friendly, international group with interests spanning the languages, history, culture, religion and politics of the Middle East and the wider Islamic world.

Highlights include regular seminars by staff, research students and visiting speakers, the annual W.M. Watt Lecture, and a wide range of cultural events, conferences and collaborations, helping you develop the fluency and confidence to operate at the highest professional and academic levels.

Our research resources and facilities are outstanding, and we have excellent links with a number of centres and networks, from the Alwaleed Centre and the Centre for Medieval & Renaissance Studies at the University of Edinburgh, to the Edinburgh Iranian Festival.

What can I study?

We typically offer a wide range of postgraduate programmes, though please note that we are limiting the number of taught programmes with a start date of September 2020 in order to minimise the impact of Covid-19 on the high quality experience of our students.

MSc in Advanced Arabic - running in 2020

Combining an intensive language programme with critical and analytical research, this year-long masters programme will equip you with the skills to speak and write Arabic to a high level. Uniquely, we teach spoken Arabic and Modern Standard Arabic, deepening your understanding of media such as film and song, as well as a growing amount of oral intellectual discourse. You can also opt to take a course in Arabic pedagogy, exploring how to teach Arabic to non-native speakers.

Full-time, one year

Find out more and apply on the University of Edinburgh Degree Finder

MSc by Research in Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies - running in 2020

Tailored to your area of interest, you can choose between two pathways on this flexible masters programme: completing two written assignments (each approximately 6,000 words) and a 15,000 word dissertation; or submitting a single 30,000 word dissertation. Depending on your path, you’ll also take courses in Research Skills and Methods, and Research Problems and Methods in Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies.

Full-time, one year ꟾ part-time, two years (UK/EU students)

Find out more and apply on the University of Edinburgh Degree Finder

PhD in Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies - running in 2020

Designed to support you make a definite and original contribution to the field of knowledge in IMES, our PhD programme will enable you to pursue independent research under the supervision of one or more of our expert staff, with optional training in research skills and methods. We offer supervision in a wide range of specialist and interdisciplinary areas, from diaspora studies, and Islamic history, to the Persian, Arabic and Turkish languages, and the politics of the modern Middle East.

Full-time, three years ꟾ part-time, six years (UK/EU students)

There's lots more information about our PhD, and what to do in advance of applying, on our website. You are strongly advised to read this information and follow our guidelines before making a formal application on the University of Edinburgh Degree Finder.

Take me to more information about the PhD and guidelines on what to do in advance of applying


Not sure which programme is right for you?

We're happy to help you decide between taught and research-led masters programmes.

Email us about postgraduate study in Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies 

The programme was, for me, a genuinely life-changing experience. In its demanding but sympathetic environment, I went from basic spoken Palestinian Arabic to working on literary translations. But perhaps more importantly I found in IMES a department in which enthusiastic students had space to grow, flourish, and explore. I can't recommend it highly enough.

Dr Sarah Irving, MSc in Arab World Studies (now Middle Eastern Studies with Arabic) graduateOn completion of her MSc in 2013, Sarah gained a PhD with us and is now a Visiting Research Fellow on the Leiden University Crossroads project on Christians in Palestine

Where to next?

Take me to all postgraduate study options in the School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures

Take me to funding opportunities for postgraduate study in the School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures