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MPhil in Asian and Middle Eastern Studies by Research (Arabic Studies)

Course Description

The MPhil in Asian and Middle Eastern Studies by Research (Arabic Studies) is a one-year research course, primarily for students who intend to go on to do a PhD in Arabic. Students can take a modern or a classical option.

Applicants must already have good reading skills in Arabic, though a student can choose to enhance his or her skills in reading and interpreting texts specific to a particular topic. Some instruction in Arabic can be provided in the first term of study, but it will be consolidatory in aim.

Those applicants whose native language is Arabic must have an excellent command of the English language (evidenced by the appropriate English-language test scores). The aim of the course is to prepare graduate students for independent academic research. By the end of the year, students wishing to study for a PhD degree will be able to formulate a viable programme of doctoral research and will possess all the required skills to complete it within three years of study, the time allotted for PhD degrees at UK universities.

See the website http://www.graduate.study.cam.ac.uk/courses/directory/amammpabr

Course detail

At the end of the MPhil programme, students will be expected to have:

- acquired the ability to read, interpret and translate primary sources in Modern and/or Classical Arabic;
- acquired a good knowledge of the general scholarship on Modern and/or Pre-Modern Middle Eastern culture(s);
- acquired an in-depth knowledge of the secondary literature relevant to the subject of their dissertation;
- developed the ability to formulate original research questions and produce a well-constructed, argument to answer them, in the form - of an independent piece of research based on the use of primary and secondary sources;
- acquired the skills to use library and internet resources independently.


During the year, MPhil students can attend various training courses offered by the Department in subjects such as codicology, text reading, and other skills. They are also encouraged to attend fourth-year undergraduate lectures and language courses where relevant. They must attend graduate work-in-progress seminars where they have an opportunity to present their own work to their peers for feedback in a supportive environment.


For the MPhil in Asian and Middle Eastern Studies by Research (Arabic Studies), students will submit a thesis of not more than 25,000 words, including footnotes and appendices but excluding bibliography on a subject approved by the Degree Committee. All MPhil dissertations must include a brief Abstract at the start of the dissertation of no more than 400 words. Students are expected to work closely with their supervisor throughout the year.

Those students who take the MPhil by research will be required to take a viva examination.


Applicants for the PhD will be expected to have scored at least 67% or above (or the equivalent from an overseas University) in their Master's degree which should be related to the PhD programme they wish to pursue. All applicants should submit with their GRADSAF (graduate application) a workable and interesting research proposal and demonstrate that they have the required academic knowledge and skills to carry out their project.

Admission is at the discretion of the Degree Committee, which judges each graduate applicant on his or her own merits and in accordance with its own set rules and regulations.

How to apply: http://www.graduate.study.cam.ac.uk/applying

Funding Opportunities

- Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) -

NB: Applicants should check the Faculty's website before the academic year 2016 - 2017 is due to start to see if AHRC funding is available to apply for. Home PhD and MPhil students and EU students who satisfy home residency criteria may be eligible for a full studentship which covers the University Composition Fee and College Fees plus an annual maintenance stipend. EU students are eligible for a fees-only award.


- Pembroke College Graduate Studentship in Arabic and Islamic Studies -

This studentship covers the University and College fees at the UK Home rate for applicants who are applying for a PhD and MPhil in Arabic Studies, Persian Studies or Islamic Studies and who are affiliated with Pembroke College.
Further information for this studentship can be found at the following web address:


Visit the MPhil in Asian and Middle Eastern Studies by Research (Arabic Studies) page on the University of Cambridge website for more details!

Entry Requirements

Applicants for this course should have achieved a UK High II.i Honours Degree. High 2:1 or a 1st at B.A. level from a UK university or equivalent. Good working knowledge (oral and written) of Arabic will be expected. For students intending to offer a dissertation in a pre-modern subject a good reading knowledge of Classical Arabic will be expected. Find University Minimum Academic Requirements here View Website

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