MPhil/PhD Arab and Islamic Studies
MPhil: Full time 2-3 years; Part time 4-5 years|
PhD: Full time 3-4 years; Part time 6-7 years
|Start date||September or January|
The Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies is recognised as one of the main centres in the world for social sciences and humanities teaching and research in relation to Arab and Islamic countries. Our MPhil/PhD programmes provide an opportunity for you to study with leading specialists in the field.
We have strong links with other departments in the University and students have opportunities for cross-disciplinary research in collaboration with relevant programmes in other fields of study. Our relationships extend beyond the University and we have good relations with academic and research institutions internationally, attracting research students from all over the world and many cultural backgrounds. There are frequent public seminars and a lecture series which features distinguished scholars and public figures in related fields from the UK, Europe and throughout the Islamic world.
What is an MPhil or PhD?
Both MPhil and PhD research degrees involve an extensive investigation of a particular topic.
MPhil research takes a maximum of three years to complete full-time, or five years part-time, and is assessed by the submission of a dissertation of up to 60,000 words. The PhD takes a maximum of four years full-time and seven years part-time and the results of your research will normally be assessed by a written thesis of up to 100,000 words and oral examination. The PhD is only awarded when the results of your investigation make an original contribution to knowledge in the field.
A PhD is the highest qualification that a university can award and offers a challenging and exciting opportunity to work at the cutting-edge of research: if you have these qualities Exeter can offer a very supportive environment in which to pursue research.
In my research I explore how British Muslim NGOs and other social actors of Muslim faith-based activism within British Muslim civil society articulate Islamic perspectives on global issues such as poverty, sustainable development, fair-trade, and eco-sustainability.
I have chosen to conduct my research at the University of Exeter because the Institute for Arab and Islamic Studies represents a niche of excellence in Europe with regards to this study area.
My favourite thing about studying for a PhD is that I can independently drive my own research according to my interests, and use this opportunity to develop my professional skills and become an expert in an area that I enjoy studying. For example, I’ve been taking part in activities offered by the University, such as outreach projects, the SWDTC placement scheme, and the ESRC Festival of Social Sciences.
Also, as I’m passionate about teaching, I was excited to participate to the Learning and Teaching in Higher Education courses, which informed my teaching approach, and enriched my teaching skills and techniques.
Davide Pettinato, 2nd year PhD Arab and Islamic Studies student.
MPhil/PhD students work alongside researchers within the following research centres:
- Centre for Gulf Studies
- Centre for Persian and Iranian Studies
- Centre for Kurdish Studies
- European Centre for Palestine Studies
- The Centre for the Study of Islam
Research in the Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies is divided into three disciplinary research clusters.
- Islamic Studies cluster
- Middle East Social Sciences cluster
- Middle East Humanities cluster
You will need to pinpoint the area in which you wish to undertake your research and identify academics who are undertaking similar research here who can offer supervision in your chosen field.
Find out about the individual staff members in the Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies, their research interests, publications and current projects in our staff profiles area.
Read more about the research within Arab and Islamic Studies on the department website.
The Institute building was constructed in 2001 in an architectural style evocative of the Middle East, and houses superb facilities including:
- computerised language lab
- computing and audio-visual equipment
- lecture theatres and seminar rooms
- lounge with satellite TV for viewing Middle Eastern channels
- a postgraduate centre
The University of Exeter Library is the location of the Arab World Documentation Unit, one of the major Arab and Islamic Study research collections in the UK. It provides reference materials covering the Gulf Region; Middle East economics, politics, and history; the history of the Gulf wars and the Arab-Israeli conflict; and the history of British and international involvement in the region, from the 18th century onwards.
If you are considering study at Exeter we strongly encourage you to visit the impressive facilities and meet with staff and students in your area of interest.
Arab and Islamic Studies postgraduates have progressed on to a wide range of careers in the UK and internationally, helped by the reputation of the Institute. These positions span both the public and private spheres and have included academia, journalism, security and political roles.
As a postgraduate at Exeter, you will be able to take advantage of the wealth of business contacts, support and training offered by our Career Zone.
This includes our Postgraduate Researchers' Programme for research students which covers a range of topics to help you to succeed during your PhD and to act as a springboard for your research career.
Below are some examples of initial jobs undertaken by Arab and Islamic Studies postgraduates who studied with us in 2011/12.
Please note that, due to data protection, the job titles and organisations are listed independently and do not necessarily correspond.
|Acquisitions Team Member: Arabic||BBC Media Action|
|Assistant Professor of Middle East Studies||Bristol City Council / National Centre for Social Research|
|Assistant Project Manager||Caritas Italia|
|Curator||Devon and Cornwall Constabulary|
|Deputy Country Director||Embassy of Switzerland in London|
|Production Executive||International House|
|Research Fellow||Subh-e-Sadiq Welfare Society|
|Teacher of English as a Foreign Language||The British Library|
|Voluntary International Service|
Entry requirements 2017
Our online learning resource 'Considering a UK PhD?' provides lots of helpful advice and information from staff and students about the PhD experience at Exeter.
You may wish to read our research programme application process page, which gives tips on how to put together a successful research degree application.
Applicants for research programmes are also advised to visit the College's webpages to check for specific advice (see further information link). Here you will be able to find out about staff research interests and make preliminary enquiries about supervision. We advise that you do this before applying.
Requirements for international students
If you are an international student, please visit our international equivalency pages to enable you to see if your existing academic qualifications meet our entry requirements.
English language requirements
Overall score 7.0 with a minimum score of 6.5 in the writing component and all other sections no less than 6.0.
Overall score 100 with minimum scores of 25 for writing, 21 for listening, 22 for reading and 23 for speaking.
Pearson Test of English (Academic)
65 with no less than 58 in all communicative skills.
Other accepted tests
Information about other acceptable tests of linguistic ability can be found on our English language requirements page.
Applicants with lower English language test scores may be able to take pre-sessional English at INTO University of Exeter prior to commencing their programme. See our English language requirements page for more information.
Finance: fees and funding
Tuition fees per year 2017/18
- UK/EU: £4,400 full-time; £2,200 part-time
- International: £15,950 full-time
Our Postgraduate Funding webpage provides links to further information. If you are considering a PhD in the future, in addition to University of Exeter funding, we have been successful at securing postgraduate funding for PhD research through our Funded centres.
Find out about current funding opportunities for our research programmes.
Fees can normally be paid by two termly instalments and may be paid online. For further information about paying fees see our Student Fees pages.
The College of Social Sciences & International Studies has a dedicated Graduate Research School which is committed to supporting its vibrant postgraduate research student community.
The Graduate Research School helps to support both intellectual and social contact between graduates of different disciplines and from different backgrounds and countries. Our team supports both prospective and current postgraduate research students.
Phone: +44(0) 1392 724490