Undergraduate study | Islamic Studies
Combine the study of Islam's rich history, culture and intellectual heritage with its place in the modern world.
Why take Islamic Studies in Edinburgh?
Islam is the religion of almost a quarter of all human beings alive today. Across the world, around 1.8 billion people consider themselves Muslim.
Our Islamic Studies MA Honours programme is designed to give you a thorough grounding in the history and traditions of Islam, as well as the ability to think critically and comparatively about Islam and other religious traditions. You'll study the religion, culture, literature, history and politics of the Islamic world, with the option to take courses from other subject areas such as history of art and social anthropology.
Edinburgh has a well-established international reputation for Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies (IMES) and is ranked fourth in the UK for Middle Eastern & African Studies in the Complete University Guide 2021. We are the only university in Scotland to offer courses in the Muslim world's three main languages, and you will learn introductory Arabic as part of your degree.
Study with us and you’ll be part of a friendly community of staff and students, with great links to the Alwaleed Centre, fantastic resources, a thriving student Islamic Society, and a regular programme of workshops, film screenings and guest seminars, all within a School passionate about languages, literatures and cultures from around the globe.
- You’ll complete a four-year MA (Hons) degree, engaging with a broad range of subjects in your first two years, then specialising in the aspects of Islamic Studies that interest you most.
- You'll learn basic Arabic in first year, with the option to take it on into second year. There are also options to study Persian and Turkish. All of these open up a range of original material from our collections.
- Courses are taught through a combination of lectures, tutorials and seminars, and you'll be assessed through a mix of exams and coursework, including essays, exercises and presentations.
- You'll develop the critical, analytical and comparative skills to interpret and discuss key issues and concepts, and learn how to undertake your own research to the level of completing a dissertation in your final year.
- You’ll typically be based at the heart of the University of Edinburgh, in the city’s historic centre. Our Georgian building has its own library and the Main University Library is just across the square from us, housing over 23,000 IMES resources, including the Serjeant and Watt Collections.
Islamic Studies is a single honours degree. Applications for 2021 entry are now closed. If you are holding an offer to start studying with us in September 2021, check out our Offer Holder Hub for Islamic Studies, Arabic, Persian, and Middle Eastern Studies.
Keen to get a head start for 2022?
There’s lots of information about our Islamic Studies programme on the University of Edinburgh Degree Finder. For example, you can find out about entrance requirements, English language requirements, fees, and funding opportunities.
If you’d like to study on any of our undergraduate programmes, you must apply through UCAS, the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service. Applications for 2022 entry open in September 2021.
A four-year honours degree from the University of Edinburgh shows high-level intellectual strength and flexibility. It demonstrates that you have the ability to understand, analyse and articulate key concepts, and to work to varied briefs - independently and in groups - to deadline.
Located at the crossroads between Europe, Africa and Asia, the Middle East has played a pivotal role on the world stage from ancient times. With increasing migration in response to changing global dynamics, there is high demand for our graduates both at home and abroad – you do not need to be based in the region to use your degree in a related career.
Graduating with an understanding of the Middle East, and of the Islamic world, is an excellent primer for a range of roles in policy and public affairs, diplomacy and international relations, as well as in the media, non-government organisations, industry, commerce, and education. It is particularly useful that our programmes give you language learning opportunities in your pre-honours years.
There are also opportunities to continue studying at postgraduate level, with Year 4 in particular developing the research skills you’ll need if you choose this path. Our options include a new one-year MSc in the Globalised Muslim World.
Get to know us better
Thinking of joining us this year or next? Explore what it's like to study and live in Edinburgh.
- Take a Virtual Visit - Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies
- Join us for an Open Day or Online Information Session
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