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Course content

This interdisciplinary programme builds on a number of fields of study, including ancient history, Middle Eastern studies and Islamic studies. It is distinctive in its breadth and diversity, drawing on the University’s extensive expertise in Iranian historical and cultural studies from the pre-Islamic Iran to the present day. You will also learn from scholars with complementary interests in the Middle East and the Mediterranean.

The programme provides a wide-ranging academic teaching and learning experience, one unique in the field of Persian studies, particularly for those who wish to combine research projects at postgraduate level with specialist methodological, theoretical, literary, and historiographical training.

Programme structure

The programme will combine seminar work, oral presentations and essays, culminating in a dissertation. You will complete one compulsory course, two research courses and three option courses over two semesters, followed by an independently researched dissertation. You may also take additional language courses in Turkish or Arabic, introductory, intermediate Persian.

Compulsory courses:

  • Critical Readings in Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies
  • Research Skills and Methods in IMES
  • Research Methods and Problems in IMES

Option courses may include:

  • Cinema and Society in the Middle East
  • Ideology and Political Practice in the Modern Middle East
  • Iran from the Safavids to the Islamic Republic
  • The Qur’an – Islam’s Holy Book; Mystical Islam
  • Muslims in Britain
  • Migration, Faith and Identity
  • Reading Iran through Classical Persian Literature
  • Modern Persian Literature and Modern Iran

Career opportunities

This unique programme will provide you with research and analytical skills within the disciplinary field of Middle Eastern Studies, which can be extended into advanced study in this discipline. You will be equipped with skills that could be valuable in a range of careers, such as politics, the arts, or the cultural or heritage sectors.

The range of transferable skills you gain, such as communication, time management, team work, and project management, will prove highly valuable to potential employers in whatever field you choose to enter.


Visit the Persian Civilisation - MSc page on the University of Edinburgh website for more details!

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