MA Near and Middle Eastern Studies

General

Read more about this programme on the institution's website

Programme Description

Mode of Attendance: Full-time or part-time


The MA Near and Middle Eastern Studies provides exceptional opportunities for studying this diverse and fascinating area at the postgraduate level through a variety of disciplinary approaches. The main emphasis of the programme is on the modern period through the modules in history, geography, politics, economics and anthropology. Some exposure is provided, however, to the pre-modern culture and society of the area through modules in religious studies, Islamic art and archaeology, and history. Modules based on Arabic are offered for those with adequate knowledge of the language, while modules in Arabic, Hebrew, Persian and Turkish are available for those who wish to acquire or develop skills in these languages.

If you are interested in taking the MA Near and Middle Eastern Studies with an intensive language please visit:

  • MA Near and Middle Eastern Studies and Intensive Language
  • MA ... and Intensive Language (Arabic)

Employment

A postgraduate degree in the Near and Middle Eastern studies from SOAS gives students competency in language skills and intercultural awareness and understanding. Familiarity with the region will have been developed through a combination of the study of language, literature, history, cinema, politics, economics or law. Postgraduate students leave SOAS with the linguistic and cultural expertise needed to continue in the field of research along with a portfolio of widely transferable skills which employers seek in many professional and management careers in business, public or charity sectors including written and oral communication skills; attention to detail; analytical and problem solving skills; and the ability to research, amass and order information from a variety of sources.

Graduates in MA Near and Middle Eastern Studies have entered various professions after leaving SOAS. Some have been able to pursue careers directly related to their study area while others have made use of the general intellectual training provided by the advanced study of cultures for involvement in analysing and solving many of the problems contemporary societies now face. Among a variety of professions, career paths may include academia, charity work, community, government, NGOs, media and publishing and UN agencies.

Graduates have gone on to work for a range of organisations including:

  • Arab Regional Centre for World Heritage
  • Asfari Foundation
  • Banque Saudi Fransi
  • Ministry of Defence
  • WAND - Women Power and PEace
  • World Economic Forum
  • Guardian and New Statesman
  • DFID
  • ICRC
  • CARE International
  • The Risk Advisory Group
  • Refugee Legal Aid Programme
  • BBC
  • Kwintessential
  • UNESCO
  • International Committee of the Red Cross
  • Al Furqan Islamic Heritage Foundation
  • Amnesty International
  • Janusian/Risk Advisory Group
  • European Parliament
  • The British Institute of Persian Studies
  • Dubai Women's Establishment

Types of roles that graduates have gone on to do include:

  • Assistant Director of Middle East Studies
  • Chief Curator of Collections and Exhibitions
  • Chief Economist
  • Chief Editor
  • Civil Servant
  • Community Manager, Middle East
  • Director of Public Affairs
  • Humanitarian Worker
  • Intelligence Analyst
  • Legal Counsel
  • News Presenter
  • Political Advisor to the Secretary-General
  • Political Risk Consultant
  • Professor of Islamic Studies
  • Programme Manager, International Trade
  • Research & Campaigns Assistant, East Africa Team
  • Senior Consultant
  • Strategist
  • Teacher
  • Vice President for University Advancement
  • Volunteer and Outreach Coordinator

Structure

Students take 180 credits, 60 of which are a dissertation and a 120 from taught modules.

As part of the application process, all students have to select and be admitted into a so-called ‘Major’ module, in relation to which they complete a 10,000-word dissertation. Please note that Major modules will have their own academic pre-requisites and acceptance will require approval. All students accepted into the programme will be asked to indicate their Major preferences from the List of modules available as Majors for the programme in good time so that they can be admitted into a Major before enrolment in September.

Normally, the convenor of the Major module will be the supervisor of the dissertation, unless the department offering the Major module has separate arrangements about the assigning of dissertation supervisors. Please note that most Major modules are 30 credits, but there are some which are 15 credits. Please also note that some modules can only be taken as a major and some, including language modules, only as a minor.

Of the taught modules, besides the Major course into which they have been accepted (30 or 15 credits), students select 60 or 75 credits from the list of minors (including 30 credits of language courses) and the final 30 credits may be chosen either from a)the list of minor modules (including another language module), or b)any approved open options modules available from other departments and schools at SOAS.

As the emphasis in the Regional Studies programmes is on interdisciplinary study, students are required to select their modules from a minimum of three different disciplines, and a maximum of 60 credits may be taken in any one discipline.

Some disciplines such as politics, economics or social anthropology require an appropriate qualification (such as all or part of a first degree) if any of their courses are to be taken as the major subject.

Students who intend to register for the MA Near and Middle Eastern Studies program, but choose 3 options also available in the MA Israeli Studies program will be required to apply for MA Israeli Studies.

  • Dissertation in Near and Middle Eastern Studies.

Optional Modules

Students select 30 credits from the lists below as their major/core module. Students then choose 60 credits from any list below as a minor and a further 30 credits also from the list below or from the open options list.

or

Students select 15 credits from the lists below as their major/core module. Students then choose 75 credits from any list below as a minor and a further 30 credits also from the list below or from the open options list.

Anthropology and Sociology

Available as minors only

  • Issues in the Anthropology of Gender
  • Culture and Society of Near and Middle East

Art and Archaeology

Available as majors or minors

  • Art and Architecture of the Seljuks and Ottomans (12th -15th centuries)
  • Arab Painting
  • Art and Architecture of the Fatimids
  • Islam and the West: Artistic and Cultural Contacts
  • Islamic Art and Architecture of Eastern Mediterranean of the Period of the Crusades (11th-14th centuries)

Development Studies

Available as a major or minor

  • Problems of Development in the Middle East and North Africa

Economics

Available as a major or minor

  • Political Economy of Development and Change in the Middle East
  • Topics in the Political Economy of Contemporary Middle East

Gender

Available as a minor only

  • Gender in the Middle East
  • Gendering Migration & Diasporas
  • Queer Politics in Asia, Africa and the Middle East

History

Available as majors or minors
Please note that the 'Modernity and Transformation' courses can be taken together or individually, only as majors.

  • Reading Classical Arabic Historians: Themes and Trends in Islamic Historiography
  • Critical Perspectives on Palestine Studies I: History and Politics
  • Critical Perspectives on Palestine Studies II: Culture and Society
  • Encountering the Other: the Middle East during the Crusading Period
  • Israel and the Palestinians
  • Islam in South Asia
  • Zionism: Critical Perspectives
  • Jerusalem: Life in a Contested Place
  • Outsiders in Medieval Middle Eastern Societies: Minorities, Social Outcasts and Foreigners
  • Turkey: Continuity and Change
  • Modernity and the Transformation of the Middle East I
  • Iran: History, Culture, Politics
  • Modernity and the Transformation of the Middle East II
  • The End of Empire in the Middle East and the Balkans I
  • The End of Empire in the Middle East and the Balkans II

Language

You may select modules to the value of 60 credits from the languages below.
Students are allowed to take any of the NME language courses offered in any given year

  • Introduction to Standard Modern Arabic
  • Arabic 400 (PG)
  • Arabic 600 (PG)
  • Arabic 500 (PG)
  • Arabic 200 (PG)
  • Intermediate Arabic/English Translation Project (PG)
  • Higher Intermediate Arabic/English/Arabic Translation Project (PG)
  • Advanced Arabic/English/Arabic Translation Project (PG)
  • Elementary Hebrew (PG)
  • Hebrew 2 (PG)
  • Hebrew 4 (PG)
  • Elementary Written Turkish A (PG)
  • Elementary Written Turkish B (PG)
  • Intensive Turkish Language (PG)
  • Ottoman Turkish Language (PG)
  • Advanced Translation (Turkish)
  • Turkish 3 (PG)
  • Elementary Written Persian A (PG)
  • Elementary Written Persian B (PG)
  • Persian 3 (PG)
  • Persian for Readers of Arabic Script (PG)
  • Intensive Persian Language
  • Intermediate Persian Language (PG)
  • Practical Translation Persian into English
  • Practical Translation English into Persian
  • Elementary Persian Texts (PG)
  • Avestan I
  • Pahlavi Language

Law

Available as majors or minors

  • Islamic Law (MA/LLM)
  • Law and Society in The Middle East and North Africa
  • Human Rights and Islamic Law

Literature

Available as majors or minors

  • Hebrew Literature from the Arab World (PG)
  • Modern Palestinian Literature (PG)
  • Social and Political Dimensions of Modern Arabic Literature
  • Arabic Poetry and Criticism
  • Reading Classical Arabic Historians: Themes and Trends in Islamic Historiography
  • Medieval Arabic Thought
  • Classical Persian Poetry: Texts and Traditions (PG)

Media

Available as minors only

  • Communication, Culture and Politics in the Middle East: Theoretical and Analytical Approaches
  • Film and Society in the Middle East
  • Mediated Culture in the Middle East: Politics and Communications
  • Theoretical Approaches to International Journalisms
  • Theoretical and Contemporary Issues in Global Media and Post-National Communication
  • International Political Communication
  • Transnational Communities and Diasporic Media: Networking, Connectivity, Identity

Music

  • Ethnicity, Religion and Gender in Middle Eastern Musical cultures
  • Music on the Silk Road: travel and circulation (PG)
  • Music, Urbanism and Conflict in Jaffa

Politics

The two 15 credit modules below together constitute the major option for Politics of the Middle East

  • Political society in the Middle East
  • State and transformation in the Middle East

Available as a minor only

  • Comparative politics of the Middle East
  • State and Society in Central Asia and the Caucasus
  • Geopolitics and Security in Central Asia and the Caucasus

Available as a minor only
These modules are capped and may be available (as minors) only in exceptional circumstances and to well-qualified students, following prior approval of the module convenor, if places are available.

  • Political violence
  • International politics of the Middle East
  • Politics of resistance in the Middle East
  • Islam and political ideologies
  • Violence, justice and the politics of memory
  • Islam and politics
  • The Politics of State Violence: An Interdisciplinary Perspective
  • The Politics of Solidarity and Transnationalism in the Arab World
  • Urban Politics in the Middle East

Available as majors or minors

  • Israel and the Palestinians
  • Turkey: Continuity and Change
  • Critical Perspectives on Palestine Studies I: History and Politics
  • Critical Perspectives on Palestine Studies II: Culture and Society

Study of Religions

Available as majors or minors

  • Zoroastrianism: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives
  • Christians and Muslims in Syriac Texts
  • Modern Trends in Islam
  • Religion, Nationhood and Ethnicity in Judaism

Translation Studies

Available as a minor only

  • Translation Theory
  • Translation Studies and Methodology
  • Translation Technology
  • Translating Cultures 1
  • Translating Cultures 2

Learn a language as part of this programme

Degree programmes at SOAS - including this one - can include language courses in more than forty African and Asian languages. It is SOAS students’ command of an African or Asian language which sets SOAS apart from other universities.

Important notice

The information on the programme page reflects the intended programme structure against the given academic session.

Admissions and Applications

You can apply for this course via the online application form.

We aim to assess a complete application and provide a decision within a 5-week time frame. Overseas students who require a Tier 4 visa and wish to join SOAS should bear in mind visa applications can take several weeks, so you should apply as soon as possible.

Consideration of Application

The whole application, including transcript and references, is considered before a decision is reached. You are therefore advised to submit a complete application including references and transcript (where required). An incomplete application will add considerable delays to the decision-making process.

Students will receive an acknowledgement of their application. Each application is carefully considered and although we try and respond as quickly as possible, we do ask that students should expect to receive a response within five weeks of receipt.

Candidates who are available in the United Kingdom may be called for an interview. The absence of academic members of staff (or instance on study leave) may affect the timing of decisions.

Entry Requirements

Students with a demonstrably strong background in music performance and evidence of a serious and sustained interest in the development and creative communication. Undergraduate training in ethnomusicology, music psychology or music sociology would be an advantage, although a 2.1 pass in any social science degree would be acceptable. Under exceptional circumstances, significant fieldwork experience may off-set the absence of formal academic qualifications in this area.

English Language Entry Requirements

Minimum upper second class honours degree (or equivalent).

International students

For EU and International students who need a visa, if unconditional entry scores are achieved we accept qualifications from several countries, as well as a range of international qualifications and tests.

If a Tier 4 entry visa is required then a SELT, such as UKVI IELTS may be needed. For this reason, we recommend all Tier 4 visa students to choose the UKVI IELTS Academic test as the test of first resort.

Last updated Nov 2019

About the School

SOAS University of London welcomes the brightest minds to study on its central London campus with like-minded individuals who feel passionately about contemporary world issues.

SOAS University of London welcomes the brightest minds to study on its central London campus with like-minded individuals who feel passionately about contemporary world issues. Read Less
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