MA Politics and International Relations of the Middle East

Duration Full time 1 year
Part time 2 years
  • Politics and International Relations
LocationExeter (Streatham)
Start date September


Established in 1987, this very popular programme is the oldest Masters degree in Middle East Politics in the UK.

As a student here you will examine key issues in the domestic, regional and global politics of the Middle East and North Africa, developing a critical understanding of the patterns of state-society interaction in the region, the processes of state formation, the constitution of social and political forces, and an awareness of the different perspectives and debates within this field.

This programme particularly explores debates about orientalism and post-colonialism; authoritarianism, democracy and resistance; the political economy of the countries of the region; nationalism, ethnicity, religion and Islamism; as well as civil society and the politics of gender. This is combined with an examination of the international relations of the region, aiming to place it within broader debates concerning theories of International Relations, regionalism and foreign policy analysis; discuss the particular features of the Gulf, the Levant and the Maghreb; and critically analyse the role of the global powers in all of these areas.

To add a further dynamic to your studies you will also have the opportunity to take a beginners level introductory course in Persian, Arabic or Turkish as part of this Masters programme.

The Programme Director is Dr Irene Fernandez-Molina.

Programme structure

The programme comprises 180 credits in total: taught modules worth 120 credits in total, a dissertation skills module worth 15 credits and a supervised dissertation worth 45 credits.

Each taught module is normally taught through seminars, underpinned by reading and essay assignments. The taught element consists of core modules and options.

Please note that the modules offered are subject to change depending on staff availability, timetabling and student demand.

You may also be able take a beginner's undergraduate level language course in Arabic, Persian or Kurdish. Some some examples below:

ARA1015Arabic for Beginners30
ARA1013Elementary Persian15
ARA1031Elementary Turkish 115

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

With the exception of the Dissertation, each module on this programme is normally taught through academic lectures expanded through seminar discussion, presentations, group work, reading, and essay assignments.

You will have an individual supervisor for your Dissertation, which is a 15,000 word extended essay on a topic of your choice (following discussion and approval from your supervisor).

The teaching and assessment should enable you to develop knowledge and a critical, sophisticated understanding of:

  • The processes of state formation and the constitution of social and political forces.
  • The key issues in contemporary Middle East politics
  • State-society relations, patterns of interaction, and the dynamics and trends in the politics of the Middle East.
  • Debates about democracy and political reform in the Middle East and Arab World.

As a graduate of this programme you should also be able to:

  • Synthesise and comment critically on a body of academic writing relating to research into Middle East politics, and evaluate government and other relevant publications in light of this reading.
  • Construct and defend a rigorous argument, both in written form and orally, using primary and secondary materials.

You will therefore have a valuable background of knowledge and understanding, and the ability to apply it to various situations during your future career or further academic study. 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.


You will develop a number of skills that are valued in professional and managerial careers: the ability to research and analyse information from a variety of sources along with written and verbal skills needed to present and discuss your opinions. The understanding you will gain of complex political and cultural issues, often in continually changing environments, can also be relevant to both business and public sector appointments.

Consequently, University of Exeter Politics postgraduates have been highly successful in securing interesting career opportunities and progressing to PhD level study.

You will receive support in the form of the College's Employability Officer, as well as Career Zone, which gives access to a wealth of business contacts, support and training, and the opportunity to meet potential employers at our regular Careers Fairs.

Graduate destinations

Below are some examples of initial careers undertaken by Politics 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.

Job titleOrganisation
Associate Research Fellow Centre for European Policy Studies
Business Development Intern Cornwall Youth Service
Business Planning Analyst Deliotte
Cabinet Liason Officer Devon and Cornwall Police
Consultant GDF Suez
Enabler Inegma
Environmental and Institutional Economist Joint Sunset Review Committee
Events Co-ordinator King's College, London
Financial Recruitment Consultant Michael Page International
Lecturer in Political Theory Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs
Marketing Intern Oxfam Great Britain
Researcher in Welsh Assembly Shang Hai Unilandy Business Consulting Company
Special Risks Consultant Standard Chartered Bank
Teacher of English Language Thomson Reuters
Trainee Business Analyst Welsh Assembly


Library services

Our main library is one of only five UK academic libraries open 24/7 throughout the academic year. With a book stock in excess of 1.2 million, we have one of the highest UK academic library ratios of books to students. The main library offers self-service machines, state-of-the-art multimedia facilities, and an extended wifi network. The library provides world-class study facilities to all students. It has extensive holdings of works on political science, international relations and the various sub-disciplines.

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: £9,000 full-time; £4,500 part-time
  • International: £19,000 full-time

University funding

The funding section has information on all available Scholarships, Bursaries and Studentships 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 this programme, or if you would like to arrange to come and see us.

Postal address

University of Exeter
Amory Building
Rennes Drive
United Kingdom

Current students

Phone: 01392 723301 

Postgraduate Taught admissions

For all enquiries relating to this programme, please contact:

SSIS Student Recruitment Office
Tel. +44 (0)1392 723192
WebEnquire online

Where to find us

Politics 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.

Visit the Politics and International Relations website

Apply online

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Study our MA Politics and International Relations of the Middle East

Dr Irene Fernandez-Molina talks about our MA Politics and International Relations of the Middle East, the oldest Masters degree in Middle East Politics in the UK.

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