Postgraduate study

Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies MSc

Awards: MSc

Study modes: Full-time, Part-time

Funding opportunities

On this taught masters programme, you will gain an advanced, interdisciplinary understanding of the history, modern politics, society and culture of the Islamic Middle East, and explore the paradigms behind the various disciplines within this field.

The programme combines:

  • a course in critical readings
  • training in research skills and methods
  • option courses spanning a wide range of specialisms
  • optional language learning

You will be supported to closely and critically evaluate primary and secondary sources on a range of relevant subjects.

You will learn and be assessed through a combination of:

  • seminar work
  • oral presentations
  • essays
  • a dissertation

Why Edinburgh

With over 260 years of history in teaching and research in this subject area, we are globally recognised as a leading centre for the study of the Islamic Middle East.

Our research resources and facilities are outstanding. We have a dedicated Islamic Library and our Main University Library houses over 23,000 IMES resources, including the Serjeant and Watt Collections.

We are the home of the Alwaleed Centre, part of a select network in the UK, USA and the Middle East aiming to promote a better understanding of Islam and Islamic culture through ground-breaking research and innovative outreach projects.

Over the course of the programme you will complete:

  • three compulsory courses (including two research courses)
  • three option courses
  • a 15-000 word dissertation under supervision

Compulsory courses

  • Critical Readings in Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies
  • Research Skills and Methods in IMES
  • Research Methods and Problems in IMES

Option courses

Your option courses can be chosen from within Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies (IMES) or from other disciplines such as history, divinity, politics or international relations.

The variety of options reflects the scope and richness of the degree, and allows you to curate your selections to suit your interests and aspirations.

Courses may include, but not limited to:

  • Introductory Arabic, Persian or Turkish
  • International Relations Theory
  • The Middle East in International Relations
  • From diatribe to dialogue in Christian-Muslim relations
  • Gender and Media in the Arab World
  • Digital Islamic Art History
  • Islamic Philosophy
  • Globalized Muslim Politics
  • Muslims in Europe
  • Muslim Societies in Southeast Asia
  • Islamic Africa
  • The Arab-Israeli Conflict: Nations in Collision

Find out more about compulsory and optional courses

We link to the latest information available. Please note that this may be for a previous academic year and should be considered indicative.

AwardTitleDurationStudy mode
MSc1 YearFull-timeProgramme structure 2021/22
MSc2 YearsPart-timeProgramme structure 2021/22

The aim of this programme is to provide you with the knowledge and skills you need to advance to doctoral study, and perhaps pursue an academic career.

You may also choose to apply your skills to a role that involves the Middle Eastern or Islamic communities, or use your transferable communication, research, and other skills in a range of sectors including education, journalism, communication, research, and others.

These entry requirements are for the 2022/23 academic year and requirements for future academic years may differ. Entry requirements for the 2023/24 academic year will be published on 3 October 2022.

A UK 2:1 honours degree, or its international equivalent, in a relevant discipline.

Students from China

This degree is Band C.

International qualifications

Check whether your international qualifications meet our general entry requirements:

English language requirements

You must demonstrate a level of English language competency at a level that will enable you to succeed in your studies, regardless of your nationality or country of residence.

English language tests

We accept the following English language qualifications at the grades specified*:

  • IELTS Academic: total 7.0 with at least 6.5 in each component.
  • TOEFL-iBT (including Home Edition): total 100 with at least 23 in each component. We do not accept TOEFL MyBest Score to meet our English language requirements.
  • CAE and CPE: total 185 with at least 176 in each component.
  • Trinity ISE: ISE III with a pass in all four components.
  • PTE Academic: 70 overall with at least 62 in each component.

Your English language qualification must be no more than three and a half years old from the start date of the programme you are applying to study, unless you are using IELTS, TOEFL, Trinity ISE or PTE, in which case it must be no more than two years old.

(*Revised 17 November 2021 to add accepted PTE Academic qualifications.)

Degrees taught and assessed in English

We also accept an undergraduate or postgraduate degree that has been taught and assessed in English in a majority English speaking country, as defined by UK Visas and Immigration:

We also accept a degree that has been taught and assessed in English from a university on our list of approved universities in non-majority English speaking countries.

If you are not a national of a majority English speaking country, then your degree must be no more than three and a half years old at the beginning of your programme of study.

Find out more about our language requirements:

AwardTitleDurationStudy mode
MSc1 YearFull-timeTuition fees
MSc2 YearsPart-timeTuition fees

UK government postgraduate loans

If you live in the UK, you may be able to apply for a postgraduate loan from one of the UK’s governments.

The type and amount of financial support you are eligible for will depend on:

  • your programme
  • the duration of your studies
  • your tuition fee status

Programmes studied on a part-time intermittent basis are not eligible.

Other funding opportunities

Search for scholarships and funding opportunities:

  • School of Literatures, Languages & Cultures
  • 50 George Square
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9LH
Programme start date Application deadline
12 September 2022 31 July 2022

If you are also applying for funding or will require a visa then we strongly recommend you apply as early as possible.

You must submit one reference with your application.

The online application process involves the completion of a web form and the submission of supporting documents.

Find out more about the general application process for postgraduate programmes:

Further information

  • School of Literatures, Languages & Cultures
  • 50 George Square
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9LH