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.
Developed in the Centre for the Advanced Study of the Arab World (CASAW) – a ground breaking UK government initiative established here at Edinburgh – and housed in the department of Islamic & Middle Eastern Studies (IMES), this two-year programme offers a unique opportunity for in-depth study of Arabic language and region-specific culture, history and politics.
Formed with the aim of creating the UK’s leading resource for Arab world expertise, the resources and high profile of CASAW and IMES will see you graduate with a strong and prestigious qualification.
You will have access to some of the UK’s leading experts in the field of Arab-world social and political sciences, arts and humanities, and will experience a four-month immersion in language and culture in an Arab country.
The first eight months of the programme are delivered in Edinburgh, with an intensive focus on language skills and a discursive core providing a survey of the field of Islamic and Middle Eastern studies. You then spend four months at an approved institution in an Arab country, further developing your skills. The second year includes training in research skills and completion of your dissertation. Throughout the programme you will participate in seminars and tutorials.
Option courses can be chosen from those offered by IMES, from elsewhere within the School or across the University. Among these are:
By the end of this programme you will have:
As the West’s engagement with the Arab world deepens, graduates with expertise in the field are increasingly sought after. This degree will give you the opportunity to take your interest to the doctoral level with further research, and perhaps an academic career. You could also pursue a career in an area such as education, policy or any of the social sciences.
Our MA in Middle Eastern Studies provides expert research-led teaching in the politics, anthropology and sociology of the modern Middle East and North Africa. We offer a broad choice of modules that allow you to pursue your own interests and deepen your understanding and knowledge of one of the most contested and important regions in the world today. We offer a broad choice of modules that allow you to pursue your own interests and deepen your understanding and knowledge of specific topics.
Our course will introduce you to cutting-edge debates in the social sciences as they relate to the politics and society of the modern Middle East and North Africa (MENA). Our world-leading faculty have extensive experience of conducting research in the region and the course regularly attracts a dynamic student body who have lived and worked in the MENA. This diversity will expose you to new perspectives, and prepare you for a career specialising in the region.
In addition to the expertise that our Department offers, you can draw on the knowledge of a number of departments across King’s, including International Development, Political Economy, European and International Studies, War Studies, History, Theology & Religious Studies and the Russia Institute.
If you are interested in developing your knowledge of the main political, socio-economic and cultural trends in the Middle East, from the legacies of colonialism and continuing international interventions, to the dynamics of political contention over state legitimacy, citizen rights and everyday survival, to the challenges thrown up by the Syrian refugee crisis, then our course is ideal for you.
Our course aims to provide students with an overview of the key debates and issues in regional politics and society, using concepts and theories from social science – from the legacies of colonialism to the ongoing refugee crisis. The emphasis is on familiarising students with a wide range of social and political phenomena in preparation for the optional modules and the MA dissertation.
For every 20-credit module, we will provide you with two hours of teaching a week during term time, and we expect you to undertake 180 hours of independent study. For your dissertation, we will provide you with 24 hours of methodology training, spread over two terms. You will also undertake 580 hours of independent study.
Taught modules: Full-time students can typically expect six hours of lectures/seminars per week and part-time students can expect four hours of lectures/seminars per week in the first year and two hours of lecture/seminar per week in the second year, plus the dissertation methods course and the dissertation module.
Dissertation module: You can typically expect 12-sessions worth of the Research Methods course and four contact hours of consultation with a supervisor.
For self study, the approximate workload for a 20-credit module taught by Middle Eastern Studies is 20 hours of lectures and seminars and 180 hours of self-guided learning. For the dissertation (60 credits), you can expect 580 hours self-study and project work
As part of the two-year schedule, part-time students would usually aim to take the required taught module and two optional modules in Year 1, and two optional modules and the Dissertation module (including the Research Methods course) in Year 2.
We assess The Politics of the Contemporary Middle East through essay and class participation. We assess our optional modules through essays and, at the discretion of the mosdule convener, through class participation.
The skills and knowledge which you develop through our course will enhance your employability in an increasingly important field. We will support you in finding work through our excellent career service, and the Department of Middle Eastern Studies hosts its own careers fair. Our students go on to pursue careers at the United Nations, European Union, diplomatic services, journalism, government and a wide variety of different NGOs, or further research in our PhD programme.
The Master in Middle Eastern Studies (MIMES) is specifically tailored for graduates of various disciplines and backgrounds, who are interested in obtaining a better knowledge of the Middle East region, taking into account its social-historical complexity and cultural plurality. The program aims to offer solid historical, political and institutional perspectives of the current domestic, regional and international dynamics affecting the stability of the region, as well as a critical outlook on current debates over the Middle East.
MIMES aims to guide students across this diverse and fascinating region, which, since decades, is at the center of the geostrategic interest of the international system. The program mainly focuses on the contemporary period, through a multi-disciplinary approach ranging over international relations, geopolitics, conflicts and security, economy and energy. Nonetheless, specific sections are devoted to the analysis of the historical and religious foundations of the modern Middle East, from the birth of Islam to the evolution of Islamic thought, law and economy. A dedicated course will offer a linguistic analysis of the political and juridical terminology and a glossary in Arabic. MIMES analyses in details infra-regions and inter-regions peculiarities and relations, from Maghreb to Central-Southern Asia, encouraging a comparative and holistic area studies approach.
MIMES provides graduate students with a detailed, comprehensive knowledge of the wider Middle East, beneficial to under-take a number of different careers, consistently with their previous training and experience, within international institutions, private companies, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), research centers and area studies, media networks, etc.
The Master in Middle Eastern Studies is articulated in five complementary levels, fostering multidimensional training and cross-fertilization, integrating scientific methodologies and operative competences.
1st level - Propaedeutic Phase: history, power and institution. The conceptual foundation of the Middle East
● Methodological introduction: debates on the Middle East
● History of the Middle East
● Religion, society and thought in the Islamic Middle East
● Islamic law and economy
● Study of political and juridical terminology - glossary in Arabic
● Middle East within the 20th century international order
2nd level - In-depth Analytical Phase: sub-regional contexts
● Sub-Saharan Africa
● South-West Asia and the Gulf
● Central-Southern Asia
3rd level - Thematic and Contemporary Issues
● Politics in contemporary Middle East and the current International Relations context
● Global security: jihadism, violent activism, conflicts and nuclear proliferation
● Post-conflict institution-building and human security
● Gender, ethno-religious diversity and pluralism in the Middle East
● Energy and geopolitics of resources
● Contemporary economic trends
4th level - Project Work
Students are required to develop a personal research project on a topic related to Middle Eastern affairs, under the supervision of a MIMES professor and/or a professional from a partner institution. The project work will often be connected to the internship experience.
5th level - Internship (or Arabic/ Persian/ Turkish language course)
The Master is completed with an internship in Italy or abroad within an institution whose mission and activities are consistent with the Master’s program. This gives students the invaluable opportunity to test and strengthen the competencies acquired during the Master and it usually lasts three months. As an alternative, students who do not carry out an internship may choose to attend an Arabic language course. Students will receive support and tutoring for their internship research.
The Master in Middle Eastern Studies offers high quality training to students from all over the world. They will take part in team projects with the guidance of important scholars and leading professionals from the Middle East as well as from Europe and the U.S.
● Prof. Riccardo Redaelli - MIMES Director
● Prof. Paolo Branca - Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore
● Dr. Marina Calculli - American University, Beirut
● Prof. Massimo Campanini - Università degli Studi di Trento
● Prof. Martino Diez - Fondazione OASIS and Università Cattoli- ca del Sacro Cuore
● Prof. Wael Faruq - American University, Cairo
● Prof. Ersilia Francesca - Università degli Studi di Napoli l’Orientale
● Prof. Elisa Giunchi - Università degli Studi di Milano
● Prof. Mehran Kamrava - Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service
● Prof. Bahgat Korany - American University, Cairo
● Prof. Marco Lombardi - Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore
● Prof. Maurizio Martellini - Landau Network Centro Volta and Insubria Center on International Security
● Prof. Massimo Papa - Università di Roma Tor Vergata
● Prof. Vittorio Emanuele Parsi - Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore
● Prof. Paola Rivetti - Dublin City University
● Prof. Mahmood Sariolghalam - Shahid Beheshti University of Tehran
● Prof. Oktay Tanrisever - Middle East Technical University
● Amb. Roberto Toscano - Barcelona Center for International Affairs
● Mr. Franco Zallio - consultant
This Master has been created thanks to the experience of ASERI in the field of graduate education and training. Università Cattolica’s Graduate School of Economics and International Relations combines quality courses with strong connections to the business world. Courses are taught by academic professors, professionals and leaders from all over the world. The high quality of this training is ensured by the presence of an international faculty composed by renowned professors and experts, coming from both Middle East and US/EU universities and research centers.
The strong theoretical basis is combined with a solid knowledge of the contemporary issues, in order to provide students’ with a specific understanding of one of the most important region in the international scenario and help them to convert their knowledge in professional skills.
Thanks to the expertise of its faculty, this innovative program combines several perspectives on the Middle East: international relations, history, economics, law, geopolitics, security and energy. The analysis of the current dynamics, debates and most important topics regarding the role of the Middle East at a regional and international level, as well as dedicated modules on its sub-regions and their peculiarities, are strengthened by the theoretical basis provided during the first part of the program.
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.
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.