|1 year full time
2 years part time
|Arab and Islamic Studies
- Build interdisciplinary expertise whilst exploring your specific interests within the long and diverse history of esotericism, witchcraft, ritual magic, occult science, and related topics.
- Join our dynamic postgraduate community benefiting from research-inspired teaching led by a range of top scholars from different fields.
- Our prestigious Centre for Magic and Esotericism welcomes MA students to monthly meetings and local field trips.
- Graduate with the skills to and knowledge needed to influence and drive business strategies that make a positive contribution to the environment and society.
Largest purpose-built Middle East centre in the UK
Home to Europe's most important research collection on the Arab world
Develop transferable skills, specialist knowledge and research skills through interdisciplinary teaching
Varied graduate careers
For admission to the programme we would normally expect that you hold a 2:2 Honours degree with 53% or above in a social sciences or humanities discipline. While we normally only accept applicants who meet this criteria, if you 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
International students need to show they have the required level of English language to study this course. The required test scores for this course fall under Profile B2. Please visit our English language requirements page to view the required test scores and equivalencies from your country.
The MA Magic and Occult Science is a unique programme that allows you to tailor a programme to your own interests by choosing a range of modules within humanities and social sciences, or by specialising in a certain area.
The core module, ARAM251 Esotericism and the Magical Tradition is a team-taught module where students explore key topics including magic in Greece and Rome, occult texts in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, the history of witchcraft, magic in literature and folklore, deception and illusion, and the history of science and medicine, among other key themes.
By housing this program within the Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies, we place the Arabo-Islamic cultural heritage back where it belongs in the centre of these studies and in the history of the “West.” Decolonisation, the exploration of alternative epistemologies, feminism, and anti-racism are at the core of this programme.
UK fees per year:
£12,000 full-time; £6,000 part-time
International fees per year:
£24,300 full-time; £12,150 part-time
We invest heavily in scholarships for talented prospective Masters students. This includes over £5 million in scholarships for international students, such as our Global Excellence Scholarships*.
For more information on scholarships, please visit our scholarships and bursaries page.
*Selected programmes only. Please see the Terms and Conditions for each scheme for further details.
Teaching and research
This MA is centred around interdisciplinary learning. You will be taught by active researchers with leading global expertise and will be co-supervised by two supervisors from different disciplines.
Our research-led teaching is combined with practical experiences such as field trips and monthly meetings with our Centre for Magic and Esotericism.
You have the freedom to build your own programme to suit your own interests. For your personal dissertation you can opt for primarily text-based, historical, or social-science methodologies on the ARAM027 dissertation module (Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies) or employ primarily performative and practice-based methodologies on the DRAM080 dissertation module (Drama Department).
You will conduct original research using our archival materials which include sources for rites and rituals, meanings of belief, Westcountry witchcraft and folklore, along with ancient and Arabic sources. The Bill Douglas Cinema Museum also has a large collection of books, ephemera and artefacts on the history of magic lanterns, phantasmagoria, optical illusions, photography, Victorian magic and music hall performance, with many items relating to séances and Victorian occult activities.
The Centre for Magic and Esotericism is an interdisciplinary centre exploring topics relating to the history of magic, occult and esoteric literatures using a ground-breaking approach by studying many different cultures and languages all in dialogue with each other.
Emily Selove (PhD 2012, UCLA) is an Associate Professor in Medieval Arabic Language and Literature at the University of Exeter. She is also the convener of the University of Exeter's Centre for Magic and Esotericism.
Her early research focused on the figure of the uninvited guest (or "party-crasher") in medieval Arabic literature, and especially on the 11th-century work Ḥikāyat Abī l-Qāsim, the subject of her monograph, Ḥikāyat Abī l-Qāsim: A Literary Banquet (Edinburgh University Press, 2016). She also co-edited and translated this text with Professor Geert Jan van Gelder: The Portrait of Abū l-Qāsim al-Baghdādī al-Tamīmī (Gibb Memorial Trust, 2021).
Dr Emily Selove
Our MA programme is designed to develop skills to prepare you for a wide range of professions, or further study into PhD level. You will develop invaluable transferable skills, including creative thinking, analytical thinking, curiosity and lifelong learning, resilience, flexibility and agility, motivation and self-awareness.
This MA can lead you to a diverse range of careers, examples include: teaching, counselling, mentoring, heritage and museum work, work in libraries, tourism, arts organisations, the publishing industry, social justice and environmental think tanks, spiritual and wellbeing guidance, writing and media, the arts, and further research.
The recent surge in interest around topics pertaining to magic and occultism means that many of these professions have experienced a similar surge in demand for this expertise.
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.