Undergraduate study - 2025 entry
Edinburgh: Extraordinary futures await.

MA Arabic and Business

UCAS code: TN61

Duration: 4 years

Delivery: Full-time

School: Literatures, Languages and Cultures

College: Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences

Accreditation
Study abroad

Introducing MA Arabic and Business

Arabic is the main language of more than 350 million people and the sixth most widely spoken in the world. It is the common language of the 22 countries in the Arab League, and one of the six official languages of the United Nations.

The Middle East and North Africa play a key role in global commerce and industry. This makes Arabic and Business an excellent joint honours combination.

Arabic

Our programme is designed to give you a thorough grounding in both classical and modern Arabic. You will develop skills in writing, reading, listening to and speaking the language.

Through your studies, you will learn to understand, interpret and discuss original material, including Arabic novels, newspapers, and television.

Our courses open the door to a fascinating and varied region. You will study aspects of the Arabic-speaking world, past and present, including the history, societies, cultures and politics of the Middle East.

You do not currently need to know any Arabic, as Year 1 courses are designed for beginners. By Year 3, you will have the skills to spend the year studying in a country in which Arabic is spoken.

Business

Studying business will prepare you for the social, political, environmental and cultural challenges facing contemporary businesses, governments and not-for-profit organisations.

Taught by world-leading industry professionals and researchers, you will develop personal and professional competencies, such as:

  • authentic leadership
  • ethical, responsible, sustainable business behaviour
  • entrepreneurial practice
  • effective communication

Find out more about the personal and professional competencies you will develop while studying Business at the University of Edinburgh:

Personal and professional competencies

The Business School Student Development team will also provide opportunities for you to develop a range of essential business graduate competencies.

Developing these competencies will enable you to work across a range of roles in contemporary business including:

  • accountancy and finance
  • strategy
  • marketing
  • human resource management
  • data analytics
  • entrepreneurship and innovation

You can also participate in a large number of business societies, business events and peer-support schemes.

Why Edinburgh

The School of Literatures, Languages & Cultures at the University of Edinburgh is recognised in the UK and internationally as a leading institution for the study of Arabic, together with Persian, Islam, and the Middle East.

The University's Business programmes are highly sought-after and accredited by a wide range of leading business education organisations and professional bodies. Leading graduate employers are involved across the curriculum.

Our programme is very flexible. In Year 1, for example, in addition to your core subjects, you will choose option courses from a wide range of disciplines. You will specialise as you progress through the programme and spend a year studying Arabic abroad.

When you graduate, you will have the combination of broad cultural education and specialist business and language skills valued by employers worldwide.

Accreditation

Business School programmes are accredited by a range of world-leading business education organisations and professional bodies. We have strong links to the world of practice through research, consultancy and teaching.

Details of our accreditation and rankings

This programme holds accreditation from an international ranking body:

Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB)

One of the most attractive characteristics of this four-year programme is its flexibility.

In Year 1, the first of your pre-honours years, you will choose option courses from a wide range of disciplines in addition to your core subjects of Arabic and Business.

As well as broadening your education and skill set, this may enable you to change the focus of your programme in later years.

Year 1

Arabic

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

You do not currently need to know any Arabic, as Year 1 courses are designed for beginners.

Over the course of the year, you will learn to read and write using Arabic script, and talk confidently in Arabic about a range of topics.

Business

You will study Global Challenges for Business and The Business of Edinburgh. These courses will introduce key concepts of management and business, including:

  • strategy
  • finance
  • marketing
  • people management

Option courses

You will complete your Year 1 studies with option courses chosen from a wide range offered by the University.

You can, for example, opt to study another language. We offer one of the widest range of languages of any UK university - the majority are suitable for complete beginners and include cultural study.

It is also possible to study more aspects of Middle Eastern history and culture, or of business, including a course in Mathematical Methods for Business.

Other options include, but are not limited to, courses in:

  • linguistics and language sciences
  • business, economics and informatics
  • politics, social policy and social anthropology
  • art and architectural history
  • history, classics and archaeology
  • Celtic and Scottish ethnology
  • philosophy, divinity and law

Year 2

Arabic

You will continue with your language study and take a course in modern Middle Eastern history.

You can choose to study the Middle East's political, economic, social and cultural history from 1800 to c.1950, or to focus on the period from 1950 to the present day.

Business

You will choose three option courses from a wide range of business options, which develop the concepts introduced in Year 1.

Year 3

You will spend Year 3 in a country where Arabic is spoken, turning classroom learning into living engagement with Arabic and Middle Eastern culture.

This is when you will really deepen your knowledge of Arabic by speaking it daily. Living abroad will also give you the wider perspective, experience and skills to embrace the opportunities and challenges of life after university.

Coursework while abroadYou will study at a university or other approved institution in an Arabic-speaking country. This immersive learning environment will strengthen your language and cross-cultural communication skills.

In addition, you will write an essay or short story in Arabic, which you will be asked to talk about on your return.You will work on a long essay for Business. This is an important assignment where you will work directly with one or more staff members to develop and complete an independent piece of research. The subject, of your choosing, will address a contemporary issue relating closely to the country in which you are spending your year abroad.

If you are intending to do a dissertation for Arabic, you will also begin work on that.

Keeping in touch

While you are studying abroad, you are still a student at the University of Edinburgh.

The Year Abroad Office and your Student Adviser, both based in the School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures (LLC), will check in with you at key points during your Year Abroad. Additionally, each language has a dedicated Year Abroad Coordinator for any academic queries, ensuring you are all set and ready for your final year in Edinburgh.

Just like any other time during your studies, you have access to all University services while you are abroad. These include our:

  • Student Wellbeing Service
  • Student Counselling
  • Student Disability and Learning Support
  • University emergency helpline (available 24 hours a day)

Wellbeing and safety

Your wellbeing and safety abroad is our first priority. If international travel is not possible or placements are disrupted, for example following travel advice from the UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO), we will offer you alternative ways to engage with your subjects. We will support you to meet your learning outcomes for Arabic and Business and prepare you for your final year.

Year 4

You will continue to develop your language and translation skills in Arabic.

In your classes and coursework, you will respond to different materials in the Arabic language, including films, contemporary news and other media.

You will also choose from a range of honours-level option courses dealing with different aspects of Islam and the Middle East and take specialist option courses in business.

Depending on your choices, you might complete an honours dissertation.

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 (2024/25)

Our facilities

On campus

When you are on campus, you can expect to spend most of your time in the University of Edinburgh's Central Area - in class, in the library, in a business lab, or in one of the University’s many social and support spaces.

The Central Area is located on the edge of Edinburgh's historic Old Town, surrounded by lots of green space.

Take a virtual tour of the Central Area

Libraries and collections

The Main University Library holds academic books, journals and databases, films, newspapers and other media. It has extensive holdings on business, and over 23,000 resources in Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies (IMES). Of these, around 9,000 printed books and 12,500 e-books are in Arabic, and more than 100 films are in either Arabic or Persian.

The Library is also the home of the University's Centre for Research Collections which brings together:

  • more than 400,000 rare books
  • six kilometres of archives and manuscripts
  • thousands of works of art, historical musical instruments and other objects

Highlights include:

  • The Serjeant and Watt Collections of some 6,400 titles, including works on the history of the Arab world and Arabic literature
  • some of the world’s most precious Islamic manuscripts, such as Rashid al-Din’s History of the World and al-Biruni’s Chronology of Ancient Nations
  • an extensive collection of the Egyptian newspaper al-Ahram al-yawmi 1876-1930

Many of the University's Special Collections are digitised and available online from our excellent Resource Centre, computing labs and dedicated study spaces in the School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures (LLC).

IMES also has its own library in 19 George Square, with views across a central garden to both the Main University Library and LLC.

The Business School is also on George Square. It has dedicated teaching labs (and associated software and databases) for specialist business analytics, business research and finance-related courses.

Centres for research, teaching and outreach

We have great links with the Alwaleed Centre for the Study of Islam in the Contemporary World which promotes a better understanding of Islam and Muslim culture locally, nationally and internationally.

Events and activities

The Edinburgh University Students' Association (EUSA) supports more than 300 student-led societies and clubs.

It also supports a range of social enterprises, and promotes opportunities with local charities through its volunteering centre.

Additionally, Edinburgh Innovations runs an enterprise service for students, offering advice, funding and support at every stage of your entrepreneurial journey.

A number of our students have volunteered for a tutoring and educational programme for teenage Syrian refugees in Edinburgh. This programme has won an Outstanding Global Citizenship Impact Award and a Sir William Darling Memorial Prize.

In the city

Edinburgh is a world-leading festival city filled with cinemas, theatres, galleries, libraries and collections.

The city's resources for studying literatures, languages and cultures are exceptional, and its world cinema scene is particularly strong.

Many national collections are located close to the University's Central Area, making them easy to access between classes.

Highlights include the:

  • National Library of Scotland
  • National Museum of Scotland
  • National Galleries of Scotland

Study abroad

You will spend Year 3 abroad (a minimum of 30 weeks) in a country where Arabic is spoken.

This is a chance for you to evolve and grow beyond Edinburgh. Our graduates have told us how much the Year Abroad has benefited their broader life experience and skills.

We know that you are likely to have lots of questions about your Year Abroad. We’ve gone into lots of detail about where you can go and what you can do under ‘What you will study / Year 3’ above. You can also find out more through the University's Study and Work Away Service.

What are my options for going abroad?

How will I learn?

University is a place to plan your own goals under expert guidance, study independently and in groups, and reflect upon your learning throughout your degree.

Our approach to learning and teaching is active, inclusive and question driven, so it may be different to your experiences at school. It will help you gain the skills for life after university, and we will guide you through the steps from one phase to the next.

Depending on the size of your year group, and which option courses you take, your classes will typically fall into four categories:

  • lectures
  • tutorials
  • seminars
  • laboratories

In addition to these classes, and to get the most out of your courses, you will need to read widely.

Lectures

Lectures are taken by all students on a course, typically at the same time. They are delivered as interactive presentations which may involve audio-visual material.

Lectures are given by an experienced academic. They are designed to guide you through the background, questions and debates related to the topic you are studying.

Tutorials

Tutorial groups are smaller. They are also led by an academic, but here the emphasis is more on what you think about the topic yourself. So, tutorials are your chance to discuss and expand upon what you have learned in a lecture.

Language tutorials give you the opportunity to develop your linguistic skills in a range of real-world tasks under the supervision of an experienced language teacher.

These classes typically cover skills such as reading, writing, listening and speaking – all of which involve learning and applying grammar.

Seminars

Seminars blend features of lectures and tutorials. Again, they are designed to encourage and aid your active participation in learning.

On some courses, you will have seminars instead of lectures, especially in Year 4.

Laboratories

Computer laboratories on business courses are for learning software packages and data interpretation and analysis.

Support

As well as the teaching staff and other staff members you will meet day-to-day, there are lots of ways to get help with your learning, including through the University’s Institute for Academic Development (IAD).

How will I be assessed?

You will be assessed through a combination of coursework and exams.

Coursework is generally completed throughout the year, while exams take place at the end of a teaching block.

Coursework may take a range of forms to give you the opportunity to practice different skills. For example, you may be asked to:

  • write an essay, review, blog post, opinion piece or learning journal
  • respond to a piece of writing, film, or other media, including through close reading
  • give a short talk or presentation
  • record a podcast or video
  • design a poster or presentation

Assessment methods on business courses may also include:

  • writing a business plan
  • producing a feasibility analysis
  • case study analysis
  • completing a computer-based timed assignment
  • producing a consultancy report

Exams will include oral exams to test your spoken language skills.

Depending on where you go and what you do on your Year Abroad, Year 3 may include being assessed, in part, by a host institution.

In your final year, you may also complete a dissertation.

Skills and experience

Combining a language with business demonstrates that you are a good communicator, and someone open to other cultures and new ideas – what employers value as Intercultural Competence.

Our business programmes are highly sought-after and accredited by a wide range of leading business education organisations and professional bodies.

Beyond the language and business skills you will develop on this joint honours programme, and the nuanced understanding you will gain of diverse cultures and societies, graduating with a four-year Master of Arts degree from the University of Edinburgh shows intellectual maturity, resilience, and flexibility.

The skills you will be able to demonstrate to employers when you graduate include the ability to:

  • understand, analyse and articulate complex issues and concepts
  • manage your time to meet deadlines on different types of projects
  • work independently and as part of a group

Opportunities across sectors

This joint honours programme is an ideal primer for a career in business, finance and commerce, but an understanding of the Arabic language also opens many other doors.

In addition to the business sector, previous graduates have gone on to work in:

  • 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
  • translating and interpreting

Careers span the private, public, not-for-profit, and for-benefit sectors.

Local and global opportunities

With increasing migration in response to changing global dynamics, there is demand for our graduates in Scotland, the UK and abroad.

Wherever you are based in the world, the ability to communicate in another world language, and to understand the cultures to which it opens doors, will make you stand out.

If you are keen to work abroad, it’s good to know that more than 350 million people are native speakers of Arabic, the sixth most widely spoken language in the world.

It is the common language of the 22 countries in the Arab League, and one of the six official languages of the United Nations. There are also communities of Arabic speakers in Western Europe and Latin America.

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, we typically offer a one-year Masters by Research programme in Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies. This programme is a good foundation for a PhD, but is equally of value as a stand-alone qualification.

We offer a full range of MBA, masters, and postgraduate research programmes in business.

Our portfolio of taught MSc programmes in interdisciplinary areas typically includes:

  • Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies
  • The Globalised Muslim World
  • Translation Studies

Careers advice

Throughout your time with us, we will encourage you to identify and hone your employability skills.

LLC has a dedicated Careers Consultant within the University's excellent Careers Service.

Through our careers service, you can:

  • book one-to-one appointments and practice interviews
  • access a range of online resources
  • attend themed fairs such as the Creative and Cultural Careers Festival

Popular peer support includes Life After LLC, a panel event where you can draw inspiration from our recent graduates.

Be inspired by our alumni

Standard entry requirement

The standard entry requirement is:

  • SQA Highers: ABBB by end of S5 or AABB/ABBBB by end of S6. BBB must be achieved in one year of S4-S6.
  • A Levels: 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: Mathematics at B, a language other than English at A, and English at C.
  • A Levels: no specific A Level subjects required. GCSEs: Mathematics at B or 6, a language other than English at A or 7, and English at C or 4.
  • IB: HL: no specific subjects required. SL: English at 5, a language other than English at 6, and Mathematics 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

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.

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
  • GCSE at C or 4
  • Level 2 Certificate at 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: total 6.5 with at least 5.5 in each component.We do not accept IELTS One Skill Retake to meet our English language requirements.
  • TOEFL-iBT (including Home Edition): total 92 with at least 20 in each component. We do not accept TOEFL MyBest Score to meet our English language requirements.
  • C1 Advanced (CAE) / C2 Proficiency (CPE): total 176 with at least 162 in each component.
  • Trinity ISE: ISE II with distinctions in all four components.
  • PTE Academic: total 65 with at least 54 in each component. We do not accept PTE Academic Online.*

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

Unless you are a national of a majority English speaking country, your English language qualification must be no more than three and a half years old from the start of the month in which the degree you are applying to study begins. If you are using an IELTS, PTE Academic, TOEFL or Trinity ISE test, it must be no more than two years old on the first of the month in which the degree begins, regardless of your nationality.

English language requirements

(*Revised 24 May 2024 to change PTE Academic requirement from total 62 with at least 54 in each component, and to clarify that we do not accept PTE Academic online.)

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 Business

Additional costs

As long as international travel is possible, Year 3 will involve study abroad in the Middle East. The costs you have to pay will depend on where you decide to go, and how you spend your time.

Some study placements at language schools may charge a fee, but we will normally refund you for tuition costs as long as your activity has been approved. 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