MA Middle East Studies

Duration Full time 1 year
Part time 2 years
  • Arab and Islamic Studies
LocationExeter (Streatham)
Start date September


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.

Students taking the MA in Middle East Studies can specialise in 1-2 of seven areas of study if they wish, but do not have to. This means you can obtain degree titles such as e.g., (a) MA in Middle East Studies (b) MA in Middle East Studies with Gender Studies or (c) MA in Middle East Studies with Palestine and Islamic Studies.

The title of your degree depends on how you choose your credits and tailor your dissertation.

Specialisms available include:

Programme structure

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.

Students undertake a total of 180 credits.

The modules we outline here provide examples of what you can expect to learn on this degree course based on recent academic teaching. The precise modules available to you in future years may vary depending on staff availability and research interests, new topics of study, timetabling and student demand.

Learning and teaching

Your subject knowledge and skills are developed via lectures, class discussion, group work and student presentations. In the lectures, students will be presented with cutting-edge research carried out by those actually giving the lectures; a reality that is hoped will inspire students. The programme also makes use of class discussions, group work and student presentations (both individual and in groups) as different people learn in different ways. However, there is no doubt that all students, regardless of how they best learn, will benefit from input from their peers. Moreover, group work, class discussion and student presentations are seen as ways in which students can take some responsibility for their own (and each others) learning, which is expected at the MA level.

You will fine-tune your critical reading skills, learn to present in front of an audience, to ask and field incisive questions, and work with your peers to develop consensus views and challenge those of others. A range of media will be used in teaching, from video and audio, newspaper articles and academic journal articles.

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.

Assessing your work

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.


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

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.


Research areas

Archival resources

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. 

Our research is focused on a number of specialist research centres:

Our research culture is collaborative and democratic, drawing together doctoral researchers, staff and students to produce cutting-edge new knowledge about the Arab and Islamic worlds.

Previous graduates have commented that they enjoyed the dissertation element of their programme because of the scope of potential subjects to choose from, due to the number of experts available.

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.

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

IELTS (Academic)

Overall score 6.5. No less than 6.0 in any section.


Overall score 90 with minimum scores of 21 for writing, 21 for listening, 22 for reading and 23 for speaking.

Pearson Test of English (Academic)

58 with no less than 55 in all communicative skills.

Other accepted tests

Information about other acceptable tests of linguistic ability can be found on our English language requirements page.

Pre-sessional English

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.

Fees and funding

Tuition fees per year 2020/21

  • UK/EU: £8,750 full-time; £4,375 part-time
  • International: £18,500 full-time

University funding

The funding section has information on all available Scholarships, Bursaries and Studentships funding open to prospective students of taught Masters programmes. You can also use the searchable database of all Scholarships and Bursaries to find funding for which you are eligible.

Fee information

Fees can normally be paid by two termly instalments and may be paid online. You will also be required to pay a tuition fee deposit to secure your offer of a place, unless you qualify for exemption. For further information about paying fees see our Student Fees pages.

UK government postgraduate loan scheme

Postgraduate loans of up to £10,609 are now available for Masters degrees. Find out more about eligibility and how to apply.

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.

Contact us

Please contact us if you would like more information about any of our programmes or activities, or if you would like to arrange to come and see us.

Postal address

Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies
University of Exeter
Stocker Road
United Kingdom

Current students

Phone: 01392 723301 

Applicants and offer holders

WebEnquire online
Phone: +44 (0)1392 723192

Where to find us

The Institute is located on the University’s Streatham Campus. For information on how to find us, please see our directions to Streatham Campus and the Streatham Campus map.

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