Undergraduate study - 2022 entry
Open to the world

MA Middle Eastern Studies

UCAS code: T600

Duration: 4 years

Delivery: Full-time

School: Literatures, Languages and Cultures

College: Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences

Study abroad

Introducing MA Middle Eastern Studies

Located at the crossroads between Europe, Africa and Asia, the Middle East has played a pivotal role on the world stage from ancient times.

The University of Edinburgh is recognised in the UK and internationally as a leading institution for the study of the Middle East, Middle Eastern languages and the Islamic world.

Taking an Area Studies approach to the region, our MA programme is designed to develop your knowledge and understanding of the Middle East's historical, literary, cultural and political aspects, both past and present.

Your study will involve:

  • discussion of key issues

  • practice in applying concepts (both in discussion and in writing)

  • the analysis and interpretation of source material

In Year 1 (with an option to continue into Year 2), you will also have language tuition in up to two of the three main languages of the Middle East:

  • Arabic

  • Persian

  • Turkish

Year 1

You will take classes in at least one Middle Eastern language, choosing from:

  • Arabic

  • Persian

  • Turkish

You will also choose courses in:

  • Islamic history

  • the religion of Islam

  • Islamic and Middle Eastern cultures

You will have the option to choose two courses from a wide range of subjects offered by the University of Edinburgh.

Year 2

You will take Modern Middle Eastern History and option courses of your choice.

You may continue with your language studies, taking either Arabic 2, Persian 2 or Turkish 2 as appropriate.

Year 3

You will continue to study a range of courses on subjects relating to the Middle East, including:

  • history

  • politics

  • religion

  • cultural studies

If international travel restrictions allow, you may have the option to study abroad.

Year 4

You will continue with your Honours studies, choosing from a wide range of Middle East-related options from subject areas including:

  • history

  • politic

  • religion

  • arts

  • cultural studies

You will also complete a dissertation on a subject of your choice and under the supervision of an academic adviser.

Programme structure

Find out more about the compulsory and optional courses in this degree programme.

To give you an idea of what you will study on this programme, we publish the latest available information. However, please note this may not be for your year of entry, but for a different academic year.

Programme structure (2021/22)

Our facilities

Teaching takes place in and around the University of Edinburgh's Central Area.

Edinburgh is a world-leading festival city filled with cinemas, theatres, galleries, libraries and collections, including the National Library, Museum, and Galleries of Scotland.

You will have access to the University's excellent:

  • computing and audiovisual resources

  • support services

  • social spaces

You'll also have access to over 23,000 Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies resources in its collections, including Islamic manuscripts.

We also have our own library in 19 George Square.

Study abroad

If international travel restrictions allow, you may have the option to study abroad. Regardless of location, you will study a range of courses on subjects relating to Islam or the Middle East.

What are my options for going abroad?

How will I learn?

Courses are taught through a combination of:

  • lectures

  • tutorials

  • seminars

Throughout, you are encouraged to:

  • undertake independent reading to supplement and consolidate what is being taught formally

  • broaden your individual knowledge and understanding of the subject

How will I be assessed?

You will be assessed by a combination of exams and coursework, including:

  • essays

  • exercises

  • presentations

You will also complete a dissertation in your final year.

Skills and experience

Graduating with a four-year honours degree from the University of Edinburgh shows high-level intellectual strength and flexibility, including the ability to understand, analyse and articulate key concepts, and to work to varied briefs to deadline, both independently and in groups.

Additionally, this programme will give you a nuanced understanding of other cultures and societies, and how they shape our world, giving you the Intercultural Competence valued by employers around the globe. Learning either Arabic, Persian or Turkish in your first year (with the option to continue into Year 2) will also sharpen your written and oral communications skills.

Opportunities at home and away

With increasing migration in response to changing global dynamics, there is demand for graduates with a knowledge of the Middle East both at home and abroad.

Your degree in Middle Eastern Studies, which includes some language learning, is an excellent primer for a range of careers. Within the private, public, not-for-profit, and for-benefit sectors, previous graduates have gone on to work in:

  • Business and commerce

  • Communications, marketing, advertising and public relations

  • Education, outreach, advocacy and training

  • Journalism, broadcasting and media

  • Leisure, tourism and travel

  • Politics, policy work, diplomacy, civil service and law

  • Publishing, culture, heritage and the arts

  • Research, development and venture acceleration

Further study

The enhanced research skills you will develop on a four-year programme, particularly in your honours years, are a valuable asset if you wish to continue studying at postgraduate level. At the University of Edinburgh, for example, you can take a taught or research-led Masters in Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies, or choose from MScs in The Globalised Muslim World, International Relations of the Middle East, and more.

Standard entry requirement

The standard entry requirement is:

  • SQA Highers: AAAA-AABB by end of S5 or AAAA-AAAB by end of S6. BBB must be achieved in one year of S4-S6.
  • A Levels: AAB - ABB.
  • IB: 36 points with 665 at HL - 34 points with 655 at HL.

Minimum entry requirement

The minimum entry requirement for widening access applicants is:

  • SQA Highers: ABBB by end of S6. BBB must be achieved in one year of S4-S6.
  • A Levels: ABB.
  • IB: 34 points with 655 at HL.

More information for widening access applicants

Required subjects

The grades used to meet our entry requirements must include:

  • SQA: Highers: no specific Higher subjects required. National 5s: English at C.
  • A Levels: no specific A Level subjects required. GCSEs: English at C or 4.
  • IB: HL: no specific subjects required. SL: English at 5.

Find out more about entry requirements

International applicants

We welcome applications from students studying a wide range of international qualifications.

Entry requirements by country

International Foundation Programme

If you are an international student and your school qualifications are not accepted for direct entry to the University you may be eligible for admission to this degree programme through our International Foundation Programme.

International Foundation Programme

Mature applicants

We welcome applications from mature students and accept a range of qualifications.

Mature applicant qualifications

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.


For SQA, GCSE and IB students, unless a higher level is specified in the stated entry requirements, a pass is required in English at the following grades or higher:

  • SQA National 5 at C
  • SQA Standard Grade at 3
  • SQA Intermediate 1 at A
  • SQA Intermediate 2 at C
  • GCSE/IGSCE at C or 4
  • Level 2 Certificate Grade C
  • IB Standard Level at 5 (English ab initio is not accepted for entry)

English language tests

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

  • IELTS Academic module overall 6.5 with 5.5 in each component.
  • TOEFL-iBT (including Special Home Edition) 92 or above with 20 in each section. We do not accept TOEFL MyBest Score to meet our English language requirements.
  • Cambridge English: Advanced or Proficiency overall 176 with 162 in each component.
  • Trinity ISE: ISE II with a distinction in all four components.

We also accept a wider range of international qualifications and tests.

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

English language requirements

This information is part of a government initiative to enhance the material that higher education institutions provide about their degree programmes.

It is one of many sources of information which will enable you to make an informed decision on what and where to study.

Please note that some programmes do not have Discover Uni data available.

Tuition Fees

Tuition fees for MA Middle Eastern Studies

Additional costs

If you study abroad, there will be additional costs. Grants may be available for participating students to help with the extra costs of studying and living abroad.


For more information on how much it will cost to study with us and the financial support available see our fees and funding information.

Fees and funding