The Middle Eastern Studies Department at Leiden University is among the largest of its kind in Europe and a leading centre for academic research. The master’s programme in Middle Eastern Studies capitalises on this expertise in every way.
When you choose the master’s programme in Middle Eastern Studies, you learn from internationally-respected academics. These active researchers bring you both in-depth knowledge on the most relevant topics in the field and the latest insights, often from their very own research.
The Middle Eastern Studies programme offers an unparalleled breadth and variety of subjects. You will be able to choose from six specialisations and a wide range of electives within each specialisation, allowing you to go in-depth into your area of interest. A comparative and global approach is taken to all topics, delivering you an unbeatable combination of broad and specialised expertise.
Ambitious and highly-motivated classmates will help you hone important skills during in-class discussions and through peer-to-peer feedback. Learn what it takes to become a critical thinker – a lifelong skill that will distinguish you in any future career.
Our partnership network with universities and institutes in the Middle East also gives you the opportunity to study courses at a university abroad, so you can immerse yourself in the language and culture you are studying.
This multidisciplinary degree focuses on the politics, religions, cultures and languages of the Middle East and North Africa. Current political events are covered in depth, alongside historical developments, paths towards democratisation, the role of gender dynamics and the interactions between religious authorities and civil society.
Core modules will introduce you to the complex intersections between Islam, culture and politics across the region. You’ll also choose from a range of optional modules, allowing you to explore issues such as Islam’s encounter with modernity in further depth, or to learn Arabic, Turkish or Persian from beginner level. Through your dissertation, you will carry out independent research on an aspect of the Middle East that particularly engages you.
This is a fascinating and unique opportunity to study and understand a diverse and complex region through a mix of approaches drawn from Area Studies (Middle East and North Africa), Islamic Studies and traditional disciplines including Politics, History and Law.
At Leeds we have a wealth of resources to help you make the most of your studies. Our archives contain 500 Arabic manuscripts and 10,000 archaeological artefacts, ranging from Pharaonic to early Palestinian eras.
There are also extensive library resources in our world-class Brotherton Library, and our fully equipped Language Centre features digital language labs, audio-video practice booths and Computer Assisted Language Learning (CALL) to help you develop your language skills.
We are committed to helping you to develop skills in critical reading, academic analysis and the presentation of your ideas and research and offer students dedicated sessions on these themes.
This programme is also available to study part-time.
Core modules will lay the foundations of the programme, introducing you to research methods and bibliography to prepare you for your own research and exploring the relationship between Islam, culture and politics in the Middle East and North Africa. You’ll then choose from a wide range of optional modules, allowing you to pursue your interests.
You’ll be expected to choose at least some modules in Arabic, Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies, which means you could learn Arabic, Persian or Turkish from scratch, explore Arab drama or media or study popular revolts and democracy.
However, you can also choose from relevant modules offered by the School of Philosophy, Religion and History of Science and the School of Politics and International Studies on topics such as Middle Eastern politics, the links between religion and global development or Muslims and multiculturalism among others.
By the end of the programme in September, you’ll be able to showcase the skills and knowledge you’ve developed when you research and write a dissertation on a topic of your choice.
If you choose to study part-time, you'll study over a longer period and take fewer modules in each year.
To help you make the most of our tutors’ expertise, we use a range of teaching and learning methods. Most of your modules will involve lectures and weekly seminars where you’ll discuss your reading and research, while language modules will involve intensive practical classes in small groups.
Depending on the modules you choose, you may experience different forms of assessment. Usually these will include essays, exams, oral presentations, practical assessments and even seminar participation.
This programme will equip you with a deeper understanding of Islamic and Middle Eastern culture, as well political awareness and potentially language skills. You’ll also develop more sophisticated skills in areas such as research, analysis, interpretation and communication which are highly valued by employers in a wide range of careers.
Opportunities are available in a range of careers within and beyond the UK with a Middle Eastern or Islamic dimension. These include journalism, teaching, NGOs and the charity sector, cultural organisations, travel and tourism, business and finance, the media, marketing and advertising and the civil, security and diplomatic services.
We encourage you to prepare for your career from day one. That’s one of the reasons Leeds graduates are so sought after by employers.
The Careers Centre and staff in your faculty provide a range of help and advice to help you plan your career and make well-informed decisions along the way, even after you graduate. Find out more at the Careers website.
This two-year programme offers a unique opportunity for in-depth study of Arabic language, region-specific culture, history and politics. It is intended for students who already have some knowledge of the Arabic language (approximately 400 hours of previous study or CEF level B1 or B2).
This programme takes a combined and communicative approach to the language, teaching all the skills of reading, writing, listening and speaking in parallel, combining both spoken ‘dialect’ and more formal Modern Standard Arabic, bringing learners to an advanced level in all skills.
You will have access to some of the UK’s leading experts in the field of Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies and will experience a three-month immersion in language and culture in an Arabic-speaking country.
Graduates of the postgraduate Arabic programme at the department of Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies have gone on to use their language and regional expertise in a wide variety of roles, including business, government, charities and NGOs and academia.
The first eight months of the programme are delivered in Edinburgh, with a combination of language training, survey and option courses. You then spend three months at an approved institution in an Arab country, further developing your skills. The second year includes specialisation through further optional courses as well as training in research skills and extensive support in preparation for the final dissertation.
Option courses can be chosen from those offered by IMES, from elsewhere within the School or across the University. Among these are:
Expertise in the Arabic language and Middle Eastern Studies are increasingly sought after. Graduates of this programme will be well-placed to use their language skills in - for example - business and commerce, governments, NGOs and charities, and academia.
Designed for high-achieving students, Leiden University's master's in Middle Eastern Studies (Research) offers you unmatched resources and expertise.
Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies at Leiden University has a reputation for a breadth and depth of expertise that is unmatched in Europe. You can explore subjects that span virtually the entire Middle East both in time and geography.
This two-year research master's programme allows you to freely combine subjects from seven focus areas: Turkish Studies; Arabic Studies; North African Studies; Persian Studies; Islam; Eastern Christianity; and Modern Middle Eastern Studies.
You can decide to focus on a region such as the Arab world, North Africa or the Persian world, or on a discipline such as history, politics, literature or languages. A key feature is our comparative approach to learning, which includes intra-Middle Eastern comparisons.
Additional courses develop your academic skills to an advanced level, and you will have the opportunity to conduct field research in the Middle East or attend courses at another top university, here or abroad.
The MLitt in Middle Eastern Literary and Cultural Studies is a one-year taught programme run by the Department of Arabic and Persian in the School of Modern Languages. The programme is aimed at those who have studied Persian or Arabic literature, and are interested in other languages’ literatures and comparative literature, postcolonial studies, translation studies, gender studies and Middle Eastern history and culture.
The taught portion of the course consists of five compulsory modules involving literary theory, research skills, and Middle Eastern literature and culture. Classes are delivered through a mixture of lectures, seminars and fortnightly tutorials, with class sizes ranging from individual one-to-one teaching up to 20 students. Modules are assessed through coursework; there are no final exams for this programme.
You will spend the summer months focusing on researching and writing a final dissertation of no more than 15,000 words.
The modules in this programme have varying methods of delivery and assessment. For more details of each module, including weekly contact hours, teaching methods and assessment, please see the latest module catalogue which is for the 2017–2018 academic year; some elements may be subject to change for 2018 entry.