PhD in IMES
Join a diverse community of PhD students making an original research contribution to the field of knowledge in Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies (IMES).
What to do before you apply for a PhD in IMES
Before you formally apply for a PhD in Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies (IMES) through the University of Edinburgh’s online system, you are advised to acquaint yourself with the department of Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies so that you are confident we are the best place for you to undertake your research.
We would usually expect candidates to take the following steps before applying for a PhD:
Have a look at the research interests and expertise of our staff under Who can supervise your PhD. While you do not need to find a member of staff willing to supervise your project before applying, please do take some time to read over staff members’ profiles, research interests, and publications, to ensure that your project is something we can effectively supervise. We are much more likely to supervise a project if it closely relates to our own expertise and research interests, and often have to reject candidates with strong applications because their proposed project falls outside our areas of specialisation.
The following members of Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies staff supervise PhD and MSc by Research students. Follow the links to find out more about their research interests and expertise.
|Lecturer in Arabic and Middle Eastern Cultures|
|Lecturer in Contemporary Islam and the Middle East|
|Senior Lecturer in Islamic Studies|
|Senior Lecturer in Modern Middle Eastern History|
|Professor of Arabic and Islamic Studies|
Lecturer in Islamic History
|Lecturer in Muslims in Europe|
|Lecturer in Gender and Media in the Arab World|
|Personal Chair of Islamic Studies and Persian|
|Professor of Cinema and Iran|
|Chair in Politics of the Muslim World|
Following our guidelines, write a draft PhD proposal detailing your research project. This will enable us to evaluate the general and specific areas of your research interests, the originality and importance of your topic, and the feasibility of the proposed project within the given timescale.
A research proposal is one of the most important elements of your application. It helps us understand the general and specific areas of your research interests, the originality and importance of your topic, and the feasibility of the proposed project within the given timescale.
Your research proposal should be around 2,000 - 2,500 words long.
It should describe in some detail the project that you want to complete for the award of the PhD and provide evidence of your engagement with the topic by addressing the following questions:
- What is already known about this topic? What are the key works and who are the prominent scholars in the field? Which aspects of this topic have generated discussion and which warrant further investigation? By addressing these points, you can demonstrate that you are aware of previous scholarship on the topic itself and related fields, and that you can critically engage with that scholarship.
- Which aspects of the topic do you propose to investigate? How does your project relate to previous scholarship, what is new and original in your research, and why is it important? By answering these questions, you can show that you are able to contextualise your own research within the broader field and demonstrate how it will advance and change our knowledge of the topic.
- What are the main primary sources you want to use for your research? Will your research involve previously unexamined primary sources, ‘new’ analyses of existing source materials or some combination of both? What methodologies will you use in your research project? This section of your proposal will explain how you will actually conduct your research, what your main sources will be, and how you will approach them.
- What possible problems and challenges can you anticipate with regard to your research, and how are you going to address these?
Your proposal should include an indicative bibliography of primary and secondary sources that you have already identified as relevant to your research.
Your proposal should also include a provisional timetable, describing the stages through which you hope your research will move, over the three years of your degree. It is crucial that, on the one hand, your chosen topic should be substantial enough to require around 80,000-100,000 words for its full exploration, and, on the other hand, that it has clear limits which would allow it to be completed in three years.
It is in the nature of research that, when you begin, you don’t know what you’ll find. This means that your project is bound to change over the three years that you spend on it. So in submitting your proposal you are not committing yourself to completing exactly the project it describes in the event that you are accepted. Nevertheless, the research proposal should help you in devising a feasible and worthwhile research project, and it will allow us to assess the project, provide some feedback, and decide whether we will be able to supervise it.
Download and complete our personal information form and email it, together with the research proposal (see step 2, above) and transcripts of your degrees, to Dr Anthony Gorman.
You can find out more about language requirements, facilities, fees, funding opportunities and application deadlines for this PhD programme, and formally apply to study on it, on the University of Edinburgh’s online Degree Finder.
Get in touch
For further information, or if you have any queries, please contact Dr Anthony Gorman.