Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies

MSc in Persian Civilisation

Unique in the field of Persian Studies, this interdisciplinary MSc explores the history and culture of Iran from c.800 BCE to the present day.


Providing a wide-ranging teaching and learning experience, this is the ideal programme for anyone interested in both the pre-Islamic and Islamic cultures of Iran, the second-largest country in the Middle East.

Distinctive in its breadth and diversity, the programme spans the disciplines of Classics, Ancient History, Middle Eastern Studies, and Islamic Studies, taking in literature, film, language, politics, religion, and much more.

In a single year (full-time), or part-time over two years, you’ll gain skills in specialist methodological, theoretical, literary, and historiographical approaches, enabling you to complete a dissertation on an aspect of Persian Civilisation that fascinates you.

You’ll emerge with a complex understanding of the dynamics of the Middle East and the relationship between Iran and the rest of the world.

Why study for an MSc in Persian Civilisation in Edinburgh?

As a student on this distinctive interdisciplinary programme, you’ll draw on the extensive expertise of two Schools at the University of Edinburgh where Persian has been taught for over 100 years: History, Classics and Archaeology (HCA); and Literatures, Languages and Culture (LLC).

You’ll be based in our Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies (IMES) department, which is globally recognised as a leading centre in the field. We are a friendly international community, with a thriving seminar series, and strong links to the Alwaleed Centre.

Edinburgh is a one of the world’s great cultural cities, with a year-round festival scene. We have particularly close links with the Edinburgh Iranian Festival, and the Edinburgh International Film Festival.

The University of Edinburgh Library holds some two million borrowable volumes, and our Islamic and Middle Eastern collections include over 23,000 books (2,600 in Persian), 180 journals, 100 films and over 650 manuscripts. Resources in the city include the National Library of Scotland and numerous theatres and cinemas, including the Traverse Theatre and Filmhouse.

About the programme

Azadi Monument
The MSc in Persian Civilisation is an interdisciplinary programme that builds on a number of fields of study, including Classics, Ancient History, Middle Eastern Studies and Islamic Studies.

Programme Structure

Ancient city of Yazd
Our MSc in Persian Civilisation consists of core and option courses, research skills and methods courses, and a 15,000-word dissertation

Find out more and apply

You can find out more about entrance requirements, start dates, fees and scholarship opportunities for this programme on the University of Edinburgh’s Degree Finder.

Degree Finder links straight through to EUCLID, the online system for applying to postgraduate programmes at the University of Edinburgh. Applications for studying in 2019/20 are now open.

Go to the Degree Finder page on the MSc in Persian Civilisation

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Prof Andrew Newman (Programme Director) or the Programme Administrator.

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Related links

Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies in the University's collections