Careers and employability

Overview

The Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies degree programmes provide you with in depth knowledge and understanding of Middle Eastern cultures and languages, as well as the history and global trends of Islam. 

You will develop analytical skills to research different interpretations of the issues and events in one of the most high profile regions of the world, as well as learn how to effectively communicate your ideas and the conclusions you draw from within your area of academic interest. 

The IAIS prides itself on the expertise of their language tutors and with every language degree programme offering a year in an Arabic speaking country, you will leave Exeter with a high level proficiency in an uncommonly spoken language that will be considered invaluable to many employers.

All these skills are valued by employers from many different fields and can open up career paths in a wide variety of areas from academic research and government work to more commercially based careers

If you are interested in learning more about the careers our graduates pursue, view our list of graduate destinations.

You can also explore potential career paths for using your degree from the IAIS.

Careers day

A variety of careers were discussed on the 12th February at the Institute of Arab and Islamic studies careers day. The first panel was made up from alumni talking about what they did with their degrees in Arab and Islamic studies.  All of the panellists agreed that their degree had been instrumental in their career choices. We heard about working as an Army Arabic linguist, about working as an interpreter and about how to be successful at getting a job in a think tank, with tips from a recent alumnus who is currently a Political Liaison Officer at Quilliam.

The second panel was on “Careers in the Middle East” and brought together professionals who work in archaeology, journalism and NGOs. All the panallist gave advice on how to pursue a career overseas, emphasising how, as a British Arabic speaker, there were great advantages in terms of a career path in museums, archaeology and working for non-governmental organisations.

John Cooper, the Director of Education in the Institute of Arab and Islamic studies commented; “The day was a great opportunity for students to network, and also to gain tips and advice from panellists about routes into employment, and the recruitment process.”

The day was organised collaboratively between Sarah Turner, Alumni Officer, Julia Paci, Employability Manager and with the fantastic support of the IAIS Student Staff Liaison Committee Chairs, Olivia Hardacre and Sarah Davies.

"Being able to share my experiences with IAIS students has hopefully allowed some of them to widen their career goal posts and think about alternative paths to follow." Kelly Mullane (graduated 2000) at the alumni panel.

Enhancing your employability

Exeter offers an internationally renowned course in Arabic, with very strong links to the Middle East, and also a very well respected staff and academic body. The department itself is very well regarded, and has excellent courses across the subject field.

Since graduating, I have worked in a few different fields. I worked in Corporate Communications for Bell Pottinger, before doing some work in Qatar and Oman for an Engineering and Mining company. I have now finished a year working in Headhunting for Lygon Group, a search and advisory board for 12 of the FTSE 100. My next role will take me back to my Arabic roots as an Analyst for the Middle East desk in Corporate Intelligence and Political Risk.

My degree opened up huge areas of the market due the importance of Arabic and the region in general. All the work I have done has been down to these skills, and you can work in anything from Government to Finance through to Engineering! It also gave me an opportunity to do a lot of travelling and specialise in a particular area of the world through my studies.

Harry Holcroft, Ba Arabic and Middle East Studies.

With an increasingly competitive job market, planning for your future career should begin the moment that you arrive at university.

Here at the University of Exeter, we understand how important it is to not only make the most of your time studying with us, but also make the most of your full potential once you have graduated.

There are a number of opportunities for you to develop your career aspirations, whether you’re based on our campuses in Cornwall or Exeter:

  • The CareerZone organises a series of pivotal events throughout the year, including careers fairs, forums and workshops
  • Widen Your Options is a fortnight of events, which takes place during the spring term, to give students access to industry professionals from a range of sectors
  • The Exeter Award is designed to enhance the employability of University of Exeter graduates by providing official recognition and evidence of extra-curricular activities and achievements
  • eXfactor is the employability and professional development day that aims to encourage you to consider what motivates you; where your interests and values lie; what skills you may already have; and which skills you need to develop in preparation for graduate level employment or further study.
Oliver Berthoud 
BA Arabic and Middle East Studies

Whilst at the University of Exeter I have developed both extra curricular and academic interests, including working and travelling in areas of conflict. These opportunities were a key factor to securing a placement working for Aegis, a leading private security and risk management company with offices in the UK, USA and Middle East.

From attending the career planning workshop this year, I learned how important it is to start planning early and think about what you need to do in order to research careers and improve your skills. I also won an iPad!

My advice to students studying in the Institute of Arab and Islamic studies is that Arabic is a unique area of study, play on that strength and plan early.

Oliver Berthoud BA Arabic and Middle East Studies