Undergraduate study - 2022 entry
Open to the world

MA Arabic and History

UCAS code: TV61

Duration: 4 years

Delivery: Full-time

School: Literatures, Languages and Cultures

College: Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences

Study abroad

Introducing MA Arabic and History

Arabic is the main language of more than 250 million people inhabiting 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. Apart from opening the door to a fascinating and varied region, knowledge of Arabic provides access to the rich intellectual heritage of Islam.

Arabic and History make an excellent combination, allowing you to situate your understanding of the Arabic language, the Middle East and the Islamic world in the wider context of human history.

Our programme is designed to give you a thorough grounding in both classical and modern Arabic and a good knowledge of the Arabic-speaking world, past and present, alongside a thorough understanding of the problems of historical interpretation as applied to a wide range of periods and geographical areas, including the Middle East.

A year spent studying Arabic abroad provides complete immersion in Arabic language and culture.

The University of Edinburgh is recognised, both in the UK and internationally, as a leading institution for the study of Islamic and Middle Eastern studies, within the School of Literatures, Languages & Cultures, and of History, within the School of History, Classics & Archaeology.

Year 1

You will study elementary Arabic to learn basic grammar and develop your vocabulary. In addition to at least one course in Islamic history, you'll also have the option to take a course in Islamic and Middle Eastern cultures.

History courses in Year 1 are broad survey courses that are designed to prepare you for more specialised study in Years 3 and 4. Current courses range from the Middle Ages to the present.

You will take one of these courses and also a compulsory course in historical skills that engages with broader questions about the nature of history as an academic discipline and the methods and skills required for historical research.

Year 2

You will continue with your language study. In addition to at least one course in modern Middle Eastern history, you'll also have the option to take a course in the religion of Islam.

Year 2 History courses extend your range geographically and chronologically. As in Year 1, they offer broad surveys designed to prepare you for more specialised study in Years 3 and 4. Current options are drawn from various periods and themes in American, European, British, Scottish and global history. You will choose one of these courses, and also take a compulsory course on historiography.

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 History, or take history 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 you will take specialist courses in History.

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.

The city

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

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 culture. It will allow you to develop broader life experience and skills that you can use after university.

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

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 history, is an excellent primer for a range of careers in:

  • media
  • industry
  • civil service
  • diplomatic service
  • 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
  • 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 History

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