Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies

Undergraduate study | Middle Eastern Studies

Explore the Middle East from an interdisciplinary perspective, advancing your critical and analytical skills.

Why take Middle Eastern Studies in Edinburgh?

Located at the crossroads between Europe, Africa and Asia, the Middle East is the birthplace of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, among other religions. Since the beginning of civilisation, it has been a region of enormous economic and strategic importance, placing it at the centre of much of world history and culture, as well as modern politics.

Taking an interdisciplinary Area Studies approach to the region, our undergraduate MA Honours programme aims to develop your interest, knowledge and understanding of the Middle East, past and present, including its languages, literatures, cultures, history, and politics.

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 2020.

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. 

Your learning at a glance

  • You can take Middle Eastern Studies as a single honours subject, or jointly with Persian or Classical Studies. 
  • You’ll complete a four-year MA degree, engaging with a broad range of subjects in your first two years, then specialising in the periods and disciplines that interest you most.
  • You'll learn basic Arabic, Turkish or Persian in first year, with the option to take your chosen language on into second year. This opens up a range of original material from our collections.
  • You'll study the literatures, cultures, history, and politics of the Middle East from pre-Islamic times (c.550) to the present day, with the option to take courses from related subject areas.
  • You’ll 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.

Degree combinations

Our single and joint honours programmes all take four years to complete, even if you spend a year studying abroad.

You can currently study Middle Eastern Studies in any of the following combinations...

Middle Eastern Studies - single honours Persian and Middle Eastern Studies

Classical and Middle East Studies

You may also be interested in our single honours degree in Arabic with Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies.


Find out more and apply

There’s lots of information about our undergraduate programmes in Middle Eastern Studies on the University of Edinburgh website. For example, you can find out about entrance requirements, English language requirements, fees, and funding opportunities. You can also see a breakdown of study year-by-year, and find out how you'll be taught and assessed.

Take me to the University of Edinburgh web page on undergraduate programmes in Middle Eastern Studies

If you’d like to study on any of our undergraduate programmes, you must apply through UCAS, the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service.

Take me to the University of Edinburgh web page on making a UCAS application

Visit us

Our undergraduate Open Days are a great chance to find out about student life in Edinburgh from the people who know it best: our students and staff. Our next Open Days will be for students wishing to start their undergraduate degree in 2021. The Open Days scheduled for 26th September and 10th October 2020 are currently still planned to go ahead. The University is also working to develop an online alternative for prospective students thinking about starting university in 2021.

Keep up to date with Open Day information on the University of Edinburgh website 

 This information was last updated in March 2020 for prospective students wishing to start studying with us in September 2021.