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Course content

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.

Programme structure

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.

Compulsory courses:

  • Advanced Arabic D & E
  • Critical Readings in Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies
  • Intensive Arabic A, B & C
  • Research Skills and Methods in IMES
  • Research Methods and Problems in IMES

Option courses can be chosen from those offered by IMES, from elsewhere within the School or across the University. Among these are:

  • Cinema and Society in the Middle East
  • Ideology and Political Practice in the Modern Middle East
  • The Arab - Israeli Conflict
  • Gender and Media in the Arab World
  • Islamic Movements in the 20th century

Learning outcomes

By the end of this programme you will have:

  • gained the opportunity to learn the Arabic language ab initio and to experience Arab culture through a period of immersion in the Arab world
  • developed knowledge of the historical and contemporary Arab World from a range of disciplinary perspectives
  • achieved a thorough grounding in modern critical theoretical approaches to Arab World Studies, Middle Eastern Politics and Area Studies
  • been introduced to the study of the literature, history, politics and culture of Arabic-speaking countries
  • become familiar with key primary texts either in the original language or in translation
  • become fully conversant with the methods of scholarly research in a humanities discipline and with the resources necessary for such research.

Career opportunities

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.


Visit the Middle Eastern Studies with Arabic - MSc page on the University of Edinburgh website for more details!

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