Postgraduate study
Edinburgh: Extraordinary futures await.

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.

On completion of the programme, your dissertation will automatically be entered for the Yasir Suleiman Prize. Launched in 2017, and valued at £100, this prize for best masters dissertation honours Professor Yasir Suleiman CBE, former holder of the Iraq Chair of Arabic and Islamic Studies at Edinburgh (1990 to 2007) who was instrumental in the bid to establish the Alwaleed Centre.

Over the course of the programme, you will complete courses and activities totalling 180 credits.

You will take:

  • up to three compulsory courses (20 credits each)
  • up to four option courses (20 credits each)

You will also write a 15,000 word dissertation under supervision (60 credits). This will automatically be entered for the Yasir Suleiman Prize.

Your compulsory courses will give you a grounding in critical readings, research skills and dissertation training in Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies.

Your option courses can be chosen from within Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies (IMES) or from other disciplines such as:

  • History
  • Divinity
  • Politics
  • 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 will not be 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
MScIslamic and Middle Eastern Studies1 YearFull-timeProgramme structure 2024/25
MScIslamic and Middle Eastern Studies2 YearsPart-timeProgramme structure 2024/25

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 2024/25 academic year and requirements for future academic years may differ. Entry requirements for the 2025/26 academic year will be published on 1 Oct 2024.

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

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

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. We do not accept IELTS One Skill Retake to meet our English language requirements.
  • 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.
  • C1 Advanced (CAE) / C2 Proficiency (CPE): total 185 with at least 176 in each component.
  • Trinity ISE: ISE III with passes in all four components.
  • PTE Academic: total 70 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.

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 (non-MESC).

If you are not a national of a majority English speaking country, then your degree must be no more than five years old* at the beginning of your programme of study. (*Revised 05 March 2024 to extend degree validity to five years.)

Find out more about our language requirements:

AwardTitleDurationStudy mode
MScIslamic and Middle Eastern Studies1 YearFull-timeTuition fees
MScIslamic and Middle Eastern Studies2 YearsPart-timeTuition fees

Featured Funding

We have one available masters scholarship in the department of Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies (IMES) at the University of Edinburgh. It covers one year of UK tuition fees for either the taught MSc or the MSc by Research programme in Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies and an annual stipend. The award is open to UK and overseas students starting their IMES masters in the academic year 2024 to 2025.

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
9 September 2024 31 July 2024

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