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Established in 1987, this very popular programme is the oldest Masters degree in Middle East Politics in the UK.

As a student here you will examine key issues in Middle Eastern domestic and regional politics, developing a critical understanding of the patterns of state-society interaction in the region, the processes of state formation, the constitution of social and political forces, and an awareness of the different perspectives and debates within this field.

This programme particularly explores the meaning of democracy within an Arabo-Islamic setting, developing your critical awareness of debates about democracy as well as the strategies and dynamics of political liberation in the Arab world. Our discussions will be located within discourses and counter-discourses on Orientalism, Occidentalism, Islamism, secularism, and civil society; and we will apply the concepts and methodologies discussed to concrete situations through our discussion of specific case studies from the Arab Maghrib and Mashriq.

To add a further dynamic to your studies you will also have the opportunity to take a beginners level introductory course in Persian, Arabic or Kurdish as part of this Masters programme.

Programme structure

The programme comprises 180 credits in total: taught modules worth 120 credits in total, a dissertation skills module worth 15 credits and a supervised dissertation worth 45 credits.

Each taught module is normally taught through seminars, underpinned by reading and essay assignments. The taught element consists of core modules and options.

Please note that the modules offered are subject to change depending on staff availability, timetabling and student demand.

Learning and teaching

With the exception of the Dissertation, each module on this programme is normally taught through academic lectures expanded through seminar discussion, presentations, group work, reading, and essay assignments.

You will have an individual supervisor for your Dissertation, which is a 15,000 word extended essay on a topic of your choice (following discussion and approval from your supervisor).

The teaching and assessment should enable you to develop knowledge and a critical, sophisticated understanding of:

  • The processes of state formation and the constitution of social and political forces.
  • The key issues in contemporary Middle East politics
  • State-society relations, patterns of interaction, and the dynamics and trends in the politics of the Middle East.
  • Debates about democracy and political reform in the Middle East and Arab World.

As a graduate of this programme you should also be able to:

  • Synthesise and comment critically on a body of academic writing relating to research into Middle East politics, and evaluate government and other relevant publications in light of this reading.
  • Construct and defend a rigorous argument, both in written form and orally, using primary and secondary materials.

You will therefore have a valuable background of knowledge and understanding, and the ability to apply it to various situations during your future career or further academic study. In addition, the location of this programme within a hub of renowned academia will offer you the possibility of connections, networking opportunities, advice and guidance from others with extensive academic and career-related experience in this field.


You will develop a number of skills that are valued in professional and managerial careers: the ability to research and analyse information from a variety of sources along with written and verbal skills needed to present and discuss your opinions. The understanding you will gain of complex political and cultural issues, often in continually changing environments, can also be relevant to both business and public sector appointments.

Consequently, University of Exeter Politics postgraduates have been highly successful in securing interesting career opportunities and progressing to PhD level study.

You will receive support in the form of the College's Employability Officer, as well as Career Zone, which gives access to a wealth of business contacts, support and training, and the opportunity to meet potential employers at our regular Careers Fairs.

Visit the MA Politics and International Relations of the Middle East page on the University of Exeter website for more details!





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