Undergraduate study - 2022 entry
Open to the world

MA Arabic and Politics

UCAS code: TL62

Duration: 4 years

Delivery: Full-time

School: Literatures, Languages and Cultures

College: Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences

Study abroad

Introducing MA Arabic and Politics

Arabic is the main language of more than 250 million people inhabiting a huge swathe of land extending from the Atlantic to the Persian Gulf. It is the sixth most widely spoken language in the world and is one of the six official languages of the United Nations.

Given the central importance of the Arab world in global politics, and its significance as the immediate neighbour of Europe on the southern and eastern sides of the Mediterranean, Arabic and Politics make an excellent combination.

Students of Politics explore the origins and present-day contexts of conflicts over power and resources; the morality of political action, the limits of freedom and justice, and the processes of governance at various levels.

The University of Edinburgh is recognised in the UK and internationally as a leading institution for the research-led study of Arabic, politics, and the Middle East. Our community is truly international and there is always plenty going on, and always someone for you to talk to about your academic studies, leisure interests or life in Edinburgh.

Year 1

You will study elementary Arabic to learn basic grammar and develop your vocabulary.

You will also take a course in Modern Middle Eastern History.

You will study three compulsory courses in politics:

  • Politics and International Relations 1A: Concepts and Debates and Politics
  • Politics and International Relations 1B: The Global Dimension
  • Political Thinkers (an introduction to political theory).

Year 2

You will continue with your language study, and with your study of Modern Middle Eastern History.

You will choose between a course in Islamic history and one on Islamic and Middle Eastern cultures.

You will also study Comparative Politics in a Globalised World.

You will choose one further course from a wide range of options.

Year 3

If international travel restrictions allow, you will spend Year 3 in an Arabic-speaking country, improving your language skills and undertaking independent study.

You will also undertake year abroad work for Politics, or take politics courses at an accredited institution in the Middle East, depending on availability.

If international travel is not possible, you will be offered alternative ways of engaging with your subjects. This will allow you to meet your learning outcomes and prepare for your final year.

Year 4

You will continue to develop your language and translation skills and will write your honours dissertation.

You will also choose from a range of option courses dealing with different aspects of Islam and the Middle East and from a wide range of specialist courses in politics.

Our facilities

Teaching takes place in and around the University of Edinburgh's Central Area, where we have excellent:

  • computing and audiovisual resources
  • support services
  • social spaces

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

Politics in the city

Edinburgh is a world-leading festival city filled with cinemas, theatres, galleries, libraries and collections. These include the National Library, Museum, and Galleries of Scotland. The Scottish Government is based here, together with many embassies and consulates.

Study abroad

If international travel restrictions allow, you will spend Year 3 abroad (a minimum of 30 weeks), choosing between at least two different countries in the Arabic-speaking world.

This is your chance to immerse yourself in Arabic-language and culture. It will allow you to develop broader life experience and skills that you can use after university.

In addition to your Arabic language courses, you may also be able to take politics courses at an accredited institution in the Middle East, depending on availability.

What are my options for going abroad?

How will I learn?

Experienced lecturers and language instructors will teach a combination of:

  • lectures
  • tutorials
  • language classes

How will I be assessed?

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

  • essays
  • exercises
  • presentations
  • oral language examinations

You will also complete a dissertation in your final year.

Programme details

Find out more about this programme's aims, what you will learn, how you will be assessed and what skills and knowledge you will develop.

To give you an idea of what to expect from 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 details (2021/22)

More than 250 million people are native speakers of Arabic, the sixth most widely spoken language in the world.

An understanding of the language, the cultures to which it opens doors, and of politics, is an excellent primer for a range of careers in:

  • civil service
  • diplomatic service
  • policy development
  • business and industry
  • non-governmental organisations

Increasing migration and changing global dynamics have created high demand for languages and humanities graduates, both at home and abroad. This includes roles in:

  • translation
  • interpreting
  • media
  • education

Our students have also won awards in Outstanding Global Citizenship for tutoring Syrian refugees.

Further study

There are opportunities to continue studying at postgraduate level. Year 4 will help you to develop the research skills needed if you choose this path.

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: a language other than English at A and English at C.
  • A Levels: no specific A Level subjects required. GCSEs: a language other than English at A or 7 and English at C or 4.
  • IB: HL: no specific subjects required. SL: a language other than English at 6 and English at 5.

Additional requirements

Native speakers

Please note that the Arabic degrees involve beginners language study and are not suitable for native or near-native speakers.

Language requirement

For degrees that have a subject requirement of a language other than English, students may not use their own native language to meet this requirement. In these instances, English or an alternative language other than native will be acceptable.

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.

SQA, GCSE and IB

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 Arabic and Politics

Additional costs

If international travel restrictions allow, Year 3 includes study abroad in the Middle East. You will be responsible for associated travel costs such as flights and visas.

Funding

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