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.
The 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF) confirmed our continuing role as a leading programme for research and study of Islam, the Middle East, and other related subjects. Over 70% of research activity in Area Studies (IMES and Asian Studies) was classified as world-leading and internationally excellent.
We offer expert supervision for postgraduate studies in Islam, the Middle East and related subjects. You will be studying in an environment that produces world-leading work, with staff who are conducting research of international significance.
A broad spectrum of research areas is available to you as a postgraduate student. Areas include:
We also offer opportunities for interdisciplinary study across the University.
You will have the opportunity to broaden your research perspectives through our workshops and lectures, plus regular conferences and seminars. Inter-school collaborations are also possible, and we will encourage you to create global networks that will aid both your research and employment opportunities.
The activities of the Centre for the Advanced Study of the Arab World, and the Alwaleed Bin Talal Centre for the Study of Islam in the Contemporary World (one of a global network of six centres) will add to your graduate school experience, and bring you into frequent contact with leading researchers from beyond Edinburgh.
Computing facilities and a student common room are available. The division's own library is also located on-site.
In this research area, you can pursue interdisciplinary study of Islamic thought and practice, and of historical, theological, ethical and political encounters between Christianity and Islam.
Staff research interests focus on Islamic theology (kalam), law (shari‘a and fiqh), and philosophy; Qur’an, Hadith, and Tafsir; Muslim views of Christianity and Judaism; Christian theological engagements with Islam; constructive theology and ethics from a Christian or Muslim perspective; Arab Christianity, classic and contemporary; political Islam; political theology; comparative theology; migration, religion and politics.
You can find out more and identify a potential supervisor by looking at the School’s staff profiles, which give details of research interests and publications, and email addresses.
You are encouraged to contact a potential supervisor to discuss your research project before making a formal application.
At the School of Divinity you will join a community of around 150 research students, drawn from around the world, and from a variety of religious and non-religious backgrounds.
You will study in a stimulating environment. The Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014 ranked the School’s research environment at 100% world-leading / internationally excellent, second in the UK on this front in theology and religion. This outstanding result reflects the vibrancy of the School’s research culture.
If you have academic training in theology or religious studies (or another relevant subject), and would like to develop your interest with a focus on a particular area, the Masters by Research may interest you.
You can study full-time (one year) or part-time (two years). Your pattern of study can either be three supervised research essays followed by a 15,000 word dissertation, or a 30,000 word dissertation. Most students take the ‘research essays + shorter dissertation’ path. All students receive research training.
The ethos of the Graduate School is to promote excellence in postgraduate study, within a stimulating and supportive environment. We value equality and diversity in the School community, and an academic culture that is both critical and constructive.
A University review (2015) commended the Graduate School for providing excellent support: responsive to student feedback; proactive in helping new postgraduates to adjust to their studies and to life in Scotland; enthusiastic and practical in promoting career development. The postgraduate student committee works closely with the School to make the research student experience the best it can be.
The School of Divinity, one of the largest centres for the study of religion in the United Kingdom, is located in the historic setting of New College, close to Edinburgh Castle and overlooking Princes Street.
Resources for research are excellent. You can draw on the outstanding holdings of New College Library, the University of Edinburgh’s main library, and the nearby National Library of Scotland. New College Library has one of the largest theology collections in the UK, with more than a quarter of a million items and a large and rich manuscript collection. The University library exceeds 2.25 million volumes. The National Library of Scotland – a ‘legal deposit’ library like the British Library in London and the university libraries of Oxford and Cambridge – is just around the corner.
The School provides an extensive programme of weekly research seminars and special guest lectures. In addition, three research centres provide a special focus for activity: the Centre for the Study of Christian Origins; the Centre for Theology and Public Issues; the Centre for the Study of World Christianity.
You will have access to excellent study facilities, dedicated to postgraduates. PhD and MPhil students have access 24/7, and can request an allocated desk. Masters by Research students have shared study space. All areas have printing/scanning and computer facilities. The main postgraduate study wing has a kitchen. New College has an on-site cafe that is open during term time.