This distinctive programme offers an in-depth analysis of this vital region, delivered by an expert academic team. You’ll directly address the complex nature of the politics and international relations of the Middle East to gain an oversight of internal dimensions of the region and their links with regional and extra-regional relations.
Covering a range of approaches from Politics, Comparative Politics and International Relations, it addresses the security, economic, identity and political dynamics of the region. The programme will be of interest to you if you’re wishing to study these issues in more depth and to make comparisons across the region.
You’ll benefit from our specific expertise and research interests in a diverse range of areas relating to the Middle East - with particular focus on security issues, regional relations and the interest of the outside powers in the Middle East, as well as our in-depth research and experience in specific sub-regional areas.
Our academics are widely recognised as leading experts in their field. They boast specialisms in a range of areas: the politics of Islamism; the Persian Gulf; the Israel-Palestine conflict; the international organisations of the Middle East; democratisation in the region and issues of terrorism and insurgency. Teaching on the programme draws upon a network of Middle East specialists based at the University. They come from a range of disciplines and participate in the Middle East Research Group (MERG).
Our rich research culture within the School of Politics and International Studies is specifically focused on the Middle East. It also draws on other regions and cross-cutting themes such as the prevalence of authoritarianism and the problems of democratisation, meaning that there is a combination of focus on the Middle East which is also influenced by wider insights and research focus.
The compulsory modules will give you the opportunity to:
You’ll also be able to hone your research and writing skills in your compulsory dissertation – an independent piece of research on your chosen topic.
The wide-ranging list of optional modules means that you can explore a diverse range of related subjects of interest to you.
Each semester you will take 60 credits amounting to 120 credits across the whole year. In semester one you will study Contemporary Politics of the Middle East and in semester two you will study The Politics of the Israel-Palestine Conflict, along with your chosen optional modules.
If you’re a part-time student, you’ll take one compulsory module and study some optional modules in your first year. You’ll then take the second compulsory module, the dissertation module and other optional modules in your second year to complete your programme.
Teaching is through a combination of lectures, lively seminar discussions and weekly readings. We expect you to participate fully in taught sessions and to study independently, developing your skills and preparing for lectures and seminars. You’ll also be able to benefit from an impressive range of research talks and seminars led by outside speakers or colleagues from within the department and University.
Within modules, assessment consists of a mixture of essays, exams and group presentations. At the end of your studies, a 12,000 word dissertation will allow you to pursue your own research interest under close supervision by one of our expert colleagues.
The programme is both academically cutting-edge and policy relevant at a time when the Middle East is undergoing radical change. It will produce graduates who are able to fill the growing need for experts on the region in a variety of industries from oil and investment to security and services. The Middle East is a growing market for many firms who all want to understand the risks and opportunities of working in the region better.
There is a growing market from employers for graduates with expertise in Middle Eastern politics, including NGOs and international institutions; ministries of foreign affairs, trade and defence; as well as consultancy and risk-management/analysis firms engaged in the region.
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 Political Economy of the Middle East MA is an interdisciplinary course that introduces students to political economy from a wide range of academic disciplines. The course has a strong emphasis on helping students think critically, creatively and effectively about promoting social justice, equality, democracy, sustainability and social change through political economy.
Issues of Political Economy in the Middle East are currently at the forefront of global media, policy and public discourses and there is a wide range of both governmental and nongovernmental organizations that will be looking for individuals with strong training in the area. The MA course Political Economy of the Middle East uses the Middle East as a vital arena to think through broader issues of the political economy and development, and conversely uses political economy as a substantive area of empirical and theoretical work through which to understand the Middle East.
Our course offers you an in-depth analysis of major scholarly debates in the political economy of the region through the required module Political Economy of the Middle East: Theory & Practice. It also allows you to pursue your own developing interests by choosing from a wide range of specialist modules.
This course is ideal for graduates with a degree in international relations, economics, politics, international political economy and Middle Eastern studies. We also welcome recent graduates from other disciplines in the humanities, the social sciences and law, as well as those from a professional background.
For every 20-credit module, we will typically provide you with 20 hours of lectures and seminars (two hours of teaching per week), and we will expect you to undertake 180 hours of independent study. For your dissertation, we will provide you with a course in Dissertation Methods which totals 20 hours of contact spread over two terms and up to four hours of one-to-one supervision. You will typically undertake 586 hours of independent study and project work.
As part of their two-year schedule, part-time students typically take the required Political Economy of the Middle East: Theory & Practice module and two optional modules in Year 1, and two optional modules and the dissertation module in Year 2.
We assess Political Economy of the Middle East: Theory & Practice through essay and class participation. You may also be assessed by essays, Q&As and class participation. The nature of assessment varies by module. Your dissertation will be a 10,000-word thesis on a topic of your choosing, and you may take it in the UK or overseas.
This course provides you with the enhanced skills and qualifications which will allow you to excel in future employment and research in an increasingly important field. Our students have transferred the skills they have developed to careers in development organisations, the corporate or financial sector, the diplomatic service, international NGOs, civil society organisations or journalism. Some students have gone on to further research in the Department of Middle Eastern Studies, or another department.
This degree offers an intensive Arabic language programme to develop advanced Arabic proficiency, including a period spent in the Arab world, along with advanced theoretical and empirical understanding of the international relations of the Middle East.
You will use the Arabic language both as a means of communication and a research tool to interview informants, read the local press and scholarship, and explore Middle Eastern culture in a way not available to non-Arabic speakers.
The programme will be delivered through lectures, seminars, group work and guided independent study.
You will complete four compulsory courses and two option courses, as well as a programme of intensive Arabic language studies, which will involve oral and written exams. You may also take language courses in Persian and Turkish, although they will not count towards your qualification.
Your second year of study will culminate in an independently researched dissertation.
You will obtain an in-depth understanding of the main historical events, processes and actors that have shaped and continue to shape political dynamics in the Middle East.
You will also acquire a strong understanding of International Relations theoretical and conceptual tools required to understand Middle East international relations, which will help you form an academically-based, independent and critical knowledge of the Middle East.
The Advanced Arabic language element will see you reach a high level of competence in speaking, listening, reading and writing the language.
The specialist knowledge you acquire through this programme will equip you for any career relating to international relations, particularly of the Middle East, either in academia (after further study) or with an international institution.
Your Arabic language skills will be invaluable in many contexts including academia, media and the NGO sector.
In addition, the transferable skills you gain in areas such as communication and research will give you an edge in the employment market, whatever your eventual career.