Undergraduate study - 2021 entry

Degree Programme Specification 2020/2021

MA (Hons) Arabic & Economics

To give you an idea of what to expect from this programme, we publish the latest available information. This information is created when new programmes are established and is only updated periodically as programmes are formally reviewed. It is therefore only accurate on the date of last revision.
Awarding institution: The University of Edinburgh
Teaching institution: The University of Edinburgh
Programme accredited by: N/A
Final award: MA (Hons)
Programme title: Arabic & Economics
UCAS code: TL61
Relevant QAA subject benchmarking group(s): ‘Languages’, ‘Area Studies’ and ‘Economics’
Postholder with overall responsibility for QA: Dr Huw Lewis (Director of Quality, LLC)
Date of production/revision: January 2017

External summary

Arabic is the main language of over 250 million people inhabiting a huge swathe of land extending from the Atlantic to the Persian Gulf. It is the fifth 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 globlal commerce and industry, and its importance as the immediate neighbour of Europe on the southern and eastern sides of the Mediterranean, Arabic & Economics makes an excellent degree combination.

The Department of Islamic & Middle Eastern Studies in Edinburgh’s School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures is recognised in the UK and internationally as a leading institution for research and study of Arabic, Islam, the Middle East, and other related subjects.

Economics has been studies at Edinburgh University for two hundred years; encouraging students to develop their interest in domestic and international economy.

The MA Honours Arabic & Economics degree programme at Edinburgh is designed to give students a thorough grounding in both classical and modern Arabic, alongside knowledge of the Arabic-speaking world, past and present. A year spent studying Arabic abroad provides complete immersion in Arabic language and culture.

Study of Economics covers everything from individual bargaining to large-scale marker interactions.  It also explores issues of economic stability, growth and development.  An understanding of these issues is vital for economic forecasting or influencing economic performance or policy.

Educational aims of programme

The MA Honours Arabic & Economics degree programme at Edinburgh is designed to develop the student’s interest in, and knowledge and understanding of, classical and modern Arabic, enabling them to access a wide range of original material, from pre-Islamic poetry and Islamic religious texts to Arabic novels and television. Alongside knowledge of the written and spoken language, students will also develop their interest in, and knowledge of, the Arabic-speaking world, past and present, including its language, literature, culture, history, religion and politics.

Students will also develop knowledge of broad economic concepts, develop computer skills and learn mathematical and statistical techniques for analysing data and understanding economic models.

They will develop:

  • the proficiency to practice integrated and multiple management skills, including computer literacy, independent action, communication, team-working and inter-personal interaction;
  • the knowledge and skills to address problems through flexible, adaptable, innovative and judgmental approaches;
  • a grounding in the key concepts across a range of specialist areas: business economics, economic stability, growth and development, economic forecasting, mathematical and statistical techniques ;
  • general transferable intellectual and study skills which will equip graduates to make a valuable contribution both within their chosen career path and in the wider community and to encourage a positive attitude to continuing development and lifelong learning.

The degree offers society the resource of intellectually trained individuals with a thorough grounding both in the Arabic language and in economic theory, who are capable of acting as bridges of understanding and conduits of knowledge between cultures in a commercial and organisational context. Graduates enter employment in many different fields, including industry, commerce, NGOs, the civil service and education.

Programme outcomes: Knowledge and understanding

Graduates from the Arabic & Economics degree will acquire knowledge and understanding of:

  1. Arabic (written and spoken);
  2. the linguistic structures of Arabic;
  3. the literature, history and culture of the Arabic-speaking world;
  4. the position of 3 in a world context;
  5. key methods and concepts of linguistic, literary and historical analysis;
  6. An understanding of economic stability, growth and development;
  7. Economic concepts;
  8. mathematical and statistical techniques for analyzing data and understanding economic models;

Programme outcomes: Graduate attributes - Skills and abilities in research and enquiry

Arabic & Business Economics graduates will be able to:

  1. retrieve, sift, select and analyse and interpret information from texts and other media in Arabic and English;
  2. reason critically and cogently, assessing and applying critical methods, including some of those for historical, literary, cultural, political and religious analysis;
  3. identify and solve problems, especially in the field of Arabic, Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies;
  4. work independently to plan, undertake and (in a scholarly and literate fashion) compose an extended piece of bibliographically-based research on aspects of Arabic, Islam and the Middle East OR Business Studies;
  5. deploy mathematical and statistical techniques to analyse and interpret data;
  6. understanding of broad economic models;
  7. develop computer skills;
  8. an understanding of economic forecasting.

Programme outcomes: Graduate attributes - Skills and abilities in personal and intellectual autonomy

Graduates in Arabic and Economics will be:

  1. able to work independently and be self-reliant;
  2. open to new ideas, methods and ways of thinking;
  3. intellectually curious and able to sustain intellectual interest;
  4. able to demonstrate and exercise independence of mind and creativity in thought, especially in the fields of Arabic, Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies (including history, literature, culture, politics and religion) and in Economics;
  5. able to assess and respond to the ideas of others, constructing cogent arguments through critical reasoning and the application of linguistic, literary, historical and social concepts;
  6. possessed of teamwork skills developed in small-group practical teaching;
  7. possessed of oral and visual presentation skills developed in project presentations as well as presentations linked to lecture courses;
  8. aware of, and able to select and effectively use, appropriate mathematical and statistical data, to carry out research into business and management issues for projects, dissertations and presentations, either individually or as part of a team.

Programme outcomes: Graduate attributes - Skills and abilities in communication

Graduates in Arabic and Economics will be able to:

  1. process, structure and communicate ideas effectively and at an advanced level of proficiency, both orally and in written form in both Arabic and English;
  2. communicate clearly and accurately, constructing cogent arguments;
  3. participate constructively in group discussions, assessing and responding effectively to the ideas of others; and
  4. communicate effectively in English to inform others about aspects of Arabic language, culture, history, politics and literature.

Programme outcomes: Graduate attributes - Skills and abilities in personal effectiveness

Graduates in Arabic and Economics will be able to:         

  1. work autonomously, setting their own goals, self-motivating, organising their own learning, forward planning, and reflecting on their learning strategies;
  2. manage their time and priorities and work to self-imposed and external deadlines;
  3. collaborate effectively and productively with others in the process of learning and presenting conclusions;
  4. confidently rely on their own intellectual capacities;
  5. exercise sensitivity to ambiguity and multiplicity of meanings;
  6. confidently interact with, and think about, cultural difference;
  7. make critical and constructive judgements;
  8. summarise information concisely and present reports;
  9. apply theoretical and conceptual knowledge to practical situations;
  10. understand and appreciate the significance of new ideas;
  11. listen, persuade and negotiate and to lead, build and influence a team, as well as being sensitive to interpersonal and intercultural differences and to differences in intellectual approaches to business issues; and
  12. able to learn in a variety of modes.

Programme outcomes: Technical/practical skills

Expertise in the Arabic language is by far the most important technical skill acquired in the course of the Arabic and Economic degree. Students will be able to:

1. read, write and speak Arabic at a high level of proficiency;

2. translate from and into Arabic.

In addition, graduates will also develop:

1. Computing skills:

  • the ability to use computers for word-processing, information storage and for retrieving information from the world wide web, e.g. word- processing, power point, statistical packages, graphics packages and databases;
  • the ability to summarise information concisely and present reports; and
  • the ability to apply theoretical and conceptual knowledge to practical situations.

2. Use of libraries

  • the ability to use libraries for the recovery of information, and related research skills, including the ability to discriminate between different sources of information, suggested readings, and so on.

3. Numeracy and data skills.

Programme structure and features

Full details of the degree programme and structure can be found at: http://www.drps.ed.ac.uk/16-17/dpt/drps_llc.htm

Courses are taught through a combination of lectures and tutorials.

Details of courses can be found at: http://www.drps.ed.ac.uk/16-17/dpt/cx_colhss.htm

Entrance Requirements: http://www.ed.ac.uk/studying/undergraduate/degrees

Progression Requirements: Students are normally expected to have gained 120 credits from each year of study.

Students who do not progress into Honours may graduate after three years of full-time study, or a longer prescribed period of part-time study, with a B.A. in Arts, Humanities and Social Science.

Teaching and learning methods and strategies

Teaching and Learning strategies employed at the University of Edinburgh consist of a variety of different methods appropriate to the programme aims.  The graduate attributes listed above are met through a teaching and learning framework (detailed below) which is appropriate to the level and content of the course.

Teaching and Learning Activities

In Year 1



In Year 2



In Year 3

Year Abroad Work


In Year 4




Group Work


Festival of Creative Learning The University of Edinburgh Festival of Creative Learning is scheduled in Week 6 of Semester 2. During this week ‘normal’ teaching is suspended which provides space outwith the curriculum for staff and students to explore new learning activities.

Teaching and learning workload

You will learn through a mixture of scheduled teaching and independent study. Some programmes also offer work placements.

At Edinburgh we use a range of teaching and learning methods including lectures, tutorials, practical laboratory sessions, technical workshops and studio critiques.

The typical workload for a student on this programme is outlined in the table below, however the actual time you spend on each type of activity will depend on what courses you choose to study.

The typical workload for a student on this programme for each year of study
Start yearTime in scheduled teaching (%)Time in independant study (%)Time on placement (%)
Year 125750
Year 226740
Year 321682
Year 426740

Assessment methods and strategies

Courses can be assessed by a diverse range of methods and often takes the form of formative work which provided the student with on-going feedback as well as summative assessment which is submitted for assessment.

In Year 1

Written Examinations

Coursework Essays

Coursework Exercises

Oral Examinations

In Year 2

Written Examinations

Coursework Essays

Coursework Exercises

Oral Examinations

In Year 3

Year Abroad Work


Independent Study

In Year 4

Written Examinations

Coursework Essays

Oral Examination

Aural Examination


Assessment method balance

You will be assessed through a variety of methods. These might include written or practical exams or coursework such as essays, projects, group work or presentations.

The typical assessment methods for a student on this programme are outlined below, however the balance between written exams, practical exams and coursework will vary depending on what courses you choose to study.

The typical assessment methods for a student on this programme for each year of study
Start yearAssessment by written exams (%)Assessment by practical exams (%)Assessment by coursework (%)
Year 166628
Year 269526
Year 300100
Year 471326

Career opportunities

The Middle East is one of the UK’s major trading partners so there is a high demand for graduates who speak Arabic. The skills you learn throughout your course will equip you for careers in accountancy, business, management and consultancy, or for work within aid agencies, not-for-profit organisations or government departments. Many previous graduates have chosen to enter the finance sector and some of the large financial firms actively seek to recruit Edinburgh graduates. Graduates also enter teaching, the media or continue with postgraduate study.

Other items

1. All students are assigned a Personal Tutor on admission to the degree programme, who oversees the course of the student’s degree programme, offers advice on academic matters and should be the student’s first point of contact for course-related worries or concerns.

2. The School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures has a student support office, where students can go for advice on degree transfers, course changes, authorised interruption of studies, confirmation letters and general support. Information can be found at:


3. Student opinion is actively sought through participation in Staff-Student Liaison Committees, through the election of class- and tutorial-representatives, and by the wide circulation and review of detailed student questionnaires each semester.

4. Arabic may be taken on its own as a Single Honours degree or may be combined with other subjects in a Joint Honours degree. The other joint degrees currently include:

Arabic and Ancient Greek

Arabic and Economics

Arabic and French

Arabic and History

Arabic and History of Art

Arabic and Persian

Arabic and Politics

Arabic and Social Anthropology

Arabic and Spanish

5. More detailed information on these programmes, and the department of Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies, can be found at: http://www.imes.ed.ac.uk/