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Postgraduate taught

MA Middle East Studies

UCAS code 1234
Duration 1 year full time
2 years part time
Entry year 2020

Programme Director Dr Ahmed Dailami
Web: Enquire online 
Phone: +44 (0)1392 723192 

Entry requirements

2:1 Honours degree

View full entry requirements

Campus Streatham Campus
Discipline Arab and Islamic Studies


  • Equips you with the skills, sources and tools to study the Middle East, North Africa and the Muslim world
  • Introduces you to theorists whose work has underpinned scholarship in key fields
  • You’ll learn how to make choices around your own work and be exposed to the forms of work found in the most successful research
  • Option to choose a specialist pathway: Comparative Politics, Gender Studies, Gulf Studies, Iranian Studies, Islamic Studies, Kurdish Studies or Palestinian Studies
  • Your understanding and appreciation of the culture, history and language of the Middle East will open up career paths in a wide variety of areas such as academia and education, international development, government and NGO’s

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Fast Track (current Exeter students)

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Largest Centre for Middle East Studies in a UK university

Option to specialise in 1-2 of seven fascinating pathways

Home to Europe’s most important research collection on the Arab world

Scholarships available and HRH Prince Alwaleed Al Saud Awards to support study visits to Arab countries

I enjoy having the freedom to explore a huge range of topics and areas - – there are modules offered on literature, politics, gender studies, language, media and specific conflicts, but with the flexibility to apply those studies to different situations around the world.


Arab and Islamic Studies Masters student

Entry requirements

We are looking for graduates with a 2:1 or above in their first degree. While we normally only accept applicants who meet this criteria, if you have a 2:2 or equivalent, are coming from a different academic background which is equivalent to degree level, or have relevant work experience, we would welcome your application.

Entry requirements for international students

English language requirements

  • Pearson

Please visit our entry requirements section for equivalencies from your country and further information on English language requirements.

Course content

The MA in Middle East Studies will equip you with the general research skills, sources and tools relevant to the study of the Middle East, North Africa and the Muslim world in general, and introduce you to a broad range of key theorists whose work has underpinned scholarship in several key fields of study.

You will learn how to make self-conscious choices around your own work and promote forms of theoretically-aware and interdisciplinary work found in some of the most successful research in Arab, Islamic and Middle East Studies.

You must take 180 credits in total.

Core modules

30 credits of core modules plus a dissertation. 

ARAM232 Theorising the Middle East 15
ARAM233 Dissertation skills 15
ARAM027 Dissertation 60


Pathway specific modules

45 credits of pathway specific modules. 

If you follow a pathway you must choose 45 credits of pathway specific modules and write your dissertation, ARAM027, on the specialism of the chosen pathway. You will then received for example, an MA in Middle East Studies with Gender Studies.

If you then choose to do all 45 credits of optional modules within a second pathway and your dissertation focuses on the specialisms of both fields, you can add a second pathway to your degree title. For example, an MA in Middle East Studies with Gender Studies and Palestine Studies.


Palestine Studies pathway - view video
ARAM221 The Palestine Question Past and Present 30
ARAM230 Gender, Sexuality and Violence in Palestine/Israel 15
Gulf Studies pathway - view video
ARAM198 Political Economy of the Gulf  30
TBC Politics and Reform in the Gulf  15
Kurdish Studies pathway - view video
ARAM147 The Kurds: History and Politics 30
ARAM112A or ARAM112B Independent Reading Course 15
Comparative Politics pathway - view video
ARAM054 State and Society 30
ARAM131 or Nationalisms in the ME or ARAM186A 15
ARAM186A  International Relations of the ME or ARAM131 15
Gender Studies pathway - view video
ARAM225 Gender and Politics in the Middle East 30
ARAM230 Gender, Sexuality and Violence in Palestine/Israel 15
Iranian Studies pathway  
ARAM055 Iranian History, 1500-the present 15
ARAM210 Themes and Conflicts in Iranian History and Culture 30
ARAM131 or Nationalisms in the ME or ARAM225 15
ARAM225  Gender and Politics in the Middle East
or ARAM131
Islamic Studies pathway - view video
ARAM102 Islamic in Practice 30

New Approaches to Islamic Thought

ARAM214 Islamic Culture and Civilization 15


Optional modules

45 credits of optional modules chosen from modules offered by the IAIS, including up to 30 credits worth of modules offered outside of the department (also at the UG level) in line with the University’s modularity policy.


UK/EU fees per year:

£8,750 full-time; £4,375 part-time

International fees per year:

£18,500 full-time

HRH Prince Alwaleed Al Saud Scholarship for short study courses abroad

Students undertaking MA Programmes in Islamic Studies or Middle East and Islamic Studies are eligible to apply for an award of up to £1,500 to enable them to spend time in an Arab country for further language module studies or for collection of material relevant to their dissertations. Find out more.

Global Excellence Scholarship

We are delighted to offer Global Excellence Scholarships for students of outstanding academic quality applying to postgraduate Taught programmes starting in autumn 2020.
Please note that this scholarship isn't offered for all our masters programmes.


Teaching and research


  • Lectures will give you direct access to the cutting-edge research being carried out by our academic team
  • Take responsibility for your own learning and that of your peers by participating in group work, class discussions and student presentations
  • Fine tune your critical reading skills and learn how to ask and field incisive questions
  • Utilise a range of media from video and audio to articles from newspapers and academic journals


The taught modules on this programme are assessed by a combination of essays, presentations and group work. Following completion of these in April, you will then be assessed by a 15,000-word dissertation for submission in September.


As a Masters student you can attend regular research seminars held across the College of Social Sciences and International Studies and organised by our research centres. These are given by academics from Exeter and other Universities in the UK and overseas, as well as guest speakers from the private, public and charity sectors.


The Institute is equipped with state-of-the-art facilities including a computerised language lab, lecture theatres, seminar rooms, lounge, satellite TV for viewing Middle Eastern channels and a gallery for Middle Eastern art exhibitions.

The Arab World Documentation Unit based in the Research Commons is a valuable research resource, housing numerous collections of academic textbooks, press cuttings,  government papers and reports, periodicals, pamphlets, business yearbooks, and much more, with material in English, Arabic and Hebrew.

Read more

Gareth has been a regular commentator and adviser on Middle East politics over the last decade. He lived in pre-regime change Iraq between 1996 and 2001, where he was funded by the UK government to advise the Kurdish leadership. 

He served as a Senior Political Adviser to the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq and is a member of the Command Advisory Group of the UK Permanent Joint Headquarters.

He has considerable fieldwork experience in a range of countries in the Middle East and Islamic World, including Iraq, Syria, the Kurdish regions, Morocco, the states of the Gulf, and more recently Afghanistan.

Read more from Professor Gareth Stansfield

Professor Gareth Stansfield

Institute Director, Al-Qasimi Professor of Arab Gulf Studies, Professor of Middle East Politics

William teaches on the core module Theorizing the Middle East. His special interests are in the history of colonial North Africa and, more generally, relations between the European and Arab-Islamic worlds from the medieval period to the contemporary world. 

He aspires to produce work with and for subaltern communities, particularly in the Maghreb, and also publish widely in historical theory. Much of his recent work has also been translated into French, Turkish, and Russian.

Read more from Professor William Gallois

Professor William Gallois

Associate Professor of Middle Eastern and Mediterranean History, Director of Research


Graduates from this programme may find professional employment in a wide range of sectors both in the UK and internationally. A comprehensive background in Islamic Studies is relevant to careers in:

  • academia and education
  • international agencies such as the United Nations or the European Union
  • international development
  • print and broadcast media
  • politics
  • private sector companies with interests in Islamic countries
  • business and risk analysts

Further study

The academic skills developed on the MA Middle East Studies will enable to you to pursue doctoral study. The Institute has an international profile for our pioneering regional focus on the Gulf and Arabian Peninsula and expertise in Islamic Studies providing an ideal place in which to undertake an MPhil/PhD.

Employment and professional development

Our excellent Career Zone provides invaluable support, advice and access to graduate employers. Visit the employment and professional development pages for more information, including podcasts and profiles, about the range of support available.

In addition, the location of this programme within a hub of renowned academia will offer you the possibility of connections, networking opportunities, advice and guidance from others with extensive academic and career-related experience in this field.

Read more