Undergraduate study - 2019 entry

Subject area: Islamic Studies and Middle Eastern Studies

Why choose Islamic Studies and Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Edinburgh?

  • We are ranked 6th in the UK for Middle Eastern studies in the Complete University Guide 2018. We are ranked 14th in the world for arts and humanities in Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2018 by Subject.

  • The University offers 16 languages for study at degree level and more than 140 joint language programmes. This creates a diverse and uniquely exciting and stimulating environment for language study.

  • Our teaching staff are also highly active researchers, passing on to you the same passion and world-class expertise that gained excellent results in the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014. Our Arabic and Persian research was part of the Area Studies submission in which 73 per cent of our publications rated either world-leading or internationally excellent on the overall quality profile.

  • The University has a long and well-established reputation for teaching about Islam and the history, culture, languages and literatures of the Middle East. Arabic, for example, has been taught here since the middle of the 18th century.

  • We are the only university in Scotland to offer courses in the three main languages of the Muslim world - Arabic, Persian and Turkish. We welcome beginners with no previous knowledge of these languages.

Study abroad

Edinburgh is home to many Middle Eastern communities and this diversity really helps create a more immersive study experience.

Neil Robertson 2nd year MA (Hons) Middle Eastern Studies
Neil Robertson 2nd year MA (Hons) Middle Eastern Studies

Exploring past and present, through the study of language, literature, culture and history, both Islamic studies and Middle Eastern studies provide a comprehensive training in history, with an emphasis on critical and analytical skills.

Our programmes in this area involve discussion of key issues, practice in applying concepts, both in discussion and in writing, analysis and interpretation of material, and feedback sessions on coursework.

Year 1

You will take classes and receive instruction in a Middle Eastern language, either Arabic, Persian or Turkish. Depending on your programme, you will also take courses in Islamic history, in the religion of Islam, modern Middle Eastern history and/or Islamic and Middle Eastern cultures, as well as two option courses.

Year 2

On MA (Hons) Islamic Studies you will take Introduction to Islam, Islamic and Middle Eastern Cultures and option courses of your choice.

On MA (Hons) Middle Eastern Studies 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 Islam or the Middle East, including history, politics, religion or cultural studies. Opportunities to study abroad are normally available.

Year 4

You will continue with your honours courses from a wide range of relevant options from across the University. You will also complete a dissertation on a subject of your choice and under the supervision of an academic adviser.

Are there additional costs?

Students who study abroad will incur additional costs. An Erasmus+ grant is available for participating students, to assist with the extra costs of studying and living abroad.

Our facilities

Classes will take place within the University’s Central Area. You will have full access to the University’s computer facilities and libraries, which contain specialist resources and a collection of Islamic manuscripts.

Study abroad

In Year 3 you will normally have the option of an Erasmus+ exchange at one of two English-language universities, Boğaziçi or Bilgi, in Istanbul (although please note that this depends on advice from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office).

How will I learn?

Courses are taught through a combination of lectures, tutorials and seminars.

Throughout, students are encouraged to undertake independent reading to supplement and consolidate what is being taught formally and to broaden their 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 and presentations. You will also complete a dissertation in your final year.

Graduates enter employment in many different fields, including the civil service, industry, commerce, non-governmental organisations and education.