Middle East Studies MA (joint degree)
2017 entry

Whilst St Andrews does not offer Middle East Studies as a single Honours degree, you can take Middle East Studies in combination with a wide variety of other subjects as part of a joint Honours degree. Middle East Studies provides training in the history of the Middle East, extending across 1500 years from modern Iran and Algeria back to the Ottoman and Safavid Empires.

Taken with another subject, Middle East Studies offer a good opportunity for historical and comparative analysis between different literatures, cultures, history and politics.

Applications for 2017 entry for this course have now closed, see which courses are available for the upcoming academic year.

Course type

Master of Arts (joint degree)

Course duration

Four years full time

Entry requirements

SQA Highers AAAB, normally including History.
GCE A-Levels AAA, normally including History.
IB points 38, including HL6 in History.

For degrees combining more than one subject, the subject with the higher entry requirements determines the grades you need. You will also need to meet any further subject specific entrance requirements as outlined on their pages.

Find out more about international entry requirements.

Applications for 2017 entry for this course have now closed, see which courses are available for the upcoming academic year.

Do I need to have studied this subject before?

You do not need previous knowledge of Middle Eastern Studies to apply, but experience in studying History to advanced secondary school level is normally expected.

Faculty entry requirements

You must also meet the Faculty of Arts minimum qualifications. These vary depending on which qualifications you hold.  

Other qualifications

Passes in other examinations at equivalent levels and subjects may be accepted by the Dean of the Faculty.

Find out more about Faculty of Arts entry requirements.

Course information

The Middle East Studies portion of the four-year joint Honours degree course is run by the School of History. The course teaches a wide range of disciplinary skills that are of great use in studying and understanding this culturally diverse and strategically important region of the world, one which is rarely out of the news at the present time.

In the first two years of study, you will take modules in mediaeval and modern history which include elements of the Middle East, as well as a second year module dedicated to Middle Eastern history from late antiquity to the Islamic Revolution in Iran in 1979.

In your third and fourth year, you will have the opportunity to take advanced modules which focus on specific regions and eras within Middle Eastern history.

Graduates in History from St Andrews can expect to have developed a wide knowledge in history, and be able to make connections across different time periods and between different cultures.

Find out more about Middle East Studies at St Andrews.


In the first two years of your degree (known as sub-honours) you will take the required modules in Middle East Studies along with modules from your chosen joint subject.

Typically, you will take one module including Middle Eastern history per semester during your first two years, and two modules during your third and fourth year (known as Honours). Find out more about the modular Scottish degree system.

Students are required to take two the following modules in their first year:

Students are required to take the following compulsory modules in their second year: 

  • Introduction to Middle Eastern History: provides an introduction to Middle Eastern history from the dramatic reconfiguration of the Middle East in late Antiquity to its contested and contentious recent past.

and one of the following modules:

  • History as a Discipline: Development and Key Concepts: provides an introduction to key theoretical and methodological approaches which have characterised the emergence of history as a discipline since mediaeval times.
  • Mediaeval Europe (1000 – 1400): surveys the history of Europe and the Mediterranean world from the 12th to the 15th centuries and examines key themes that helped to shape Western Europe in this period.
  • Scotland, Britain and Empire (c. 1500 – 2000): provides an introduction to how and why the British nation state evolved from the separate kingdoms of England, Scotland and Ireland and how and why it has survived over the last three centuries.

If you take Middle East Studies in your third and fourth years, you will choose from a variety of advanced options from the history of the Byzantine and Ottoman empires to contemporary issues in modern Iran.

Examples of Honours modules which have been offered in the past include:

  • The Imperial City: Byzantine and Ottoman Constantinople
  • Eastern Approaches: Early Mediaeval Armenia
  • The Formation of Islamic Iran: From the Arab Conquests to the Seljuq Empire
  • From Leo VI to Basil II: Byzantium in the 10th Century
  • The Iranian World from the Timurids to the Safavids
  • Britain and Iran in the Modern Era.

In fourth year, students also undertake a 10,000-word dissertation on a topic of their choice. This independent project enables you to develop key research skills which are desired by both prospective employers and by graduate schools offering postgraduate degrees.

The modules listed here are the compulsory modules that students must take in order to graduate in this subject. However, most students at St Andrews take additional modules, either in their primary subject or from other subjects they are interested in. A full list of all modules currently available can be found in the module catalogue.


Teaching format

Teaching at sub-honours level is delivered primarily through lectures (100 to 300 students) and small group tutorials (6 to 7 students). Lectures are given by all members of the School, enabling students to hear active researchers in each field talk about their specialism. Tutorials are an opportunity for students to discuss and develop their thinking in a small and friendly atmosphere, guided by a professional expert. 

Teaching at Honours level moves away from large group lecturing. Students meet in groups of about 10 to 15 students for longer classes in which they are expected to participate fully. 

In addition to lectures and tutorials, students are expected to undertake substantial independent, but guided, work outside of the classroom.


All sub-honours modules are assessed by a balanced combination of coursework and examination. At Honours level, module assessment varies, with some modules being assessed solely by coursework.

Coursework includes:

  • research essays
  • oral presentations
  • class tests.

Classroom examinations often incorporate essays and source exercises. In addition, most modules include a written examination held at the end of each semester during a dedicated exam diet with revision time provided beforehand.

The School provides feedback on every assessment, with a view to improving your performance in future.


Tuition fees for 2017 entry

Scotland and EU £1,820
Rest of the UK £9,250
Overseas £20,570

For overseas students, tuition fees will be fixed at this level for the duration of your programme.

More information on tuition fees can be found on the undergraduate fees and funding page.

Accommodation fees

Find out about accommodation fees for University accommodation in 2017.

Funding and scholarships

The University of St Andrews offers a number of scholarships and support packages to undergraduate students each year.

Faculty of Arts scholarship

The Dr Lawrence M Wodehouse Scholarship provides financial assistance for students studying in the Faculty of Arts who are academically gifted but would otherwise struggle with the cost of studying at St Andrews.

Find out more about undergraduate scholarships.

Joint Honours degrees

You can take Middle East Studies as part of a joint Honours degree alongside one of the following listed subjects.

It is also possible to take a degree in Modern Languages which combines Middle East Studies with both Arabic and Persian.

  • Arabic
  • Art History
  • Classical Studies
  • Economics
  • English
  • Geography
  • German
  • Hebrew
  • International Relations
  • Management
  • Mediaeval History
  • Modern History
  • Persian
  • Russian
  • Social Anthropology
  • Spanish

Your future


Graduates in Middle East Studies go on to a wide range of careers for which an arts degree is a recognised qualification. For those who wish to make particular use of their Middle Eastern expertise, there are opportunities for work in the Middle East with international agencies and welfare, educational or missionary organisations.

In the UK there are careers in the diplomatic service or other specialist government agencies, in Middle East related journalism, lobbying, commerce, financial services and business consultancy.

The Careers Centre offers one-to-one advice to all students as well as a programme of events to assist students to build their employability skills.

Study abroad

The University is delighted to offer undergraduates a number of exciting opportunities to apply to spend a semester or year abroad as part of a St Andrews degree programme. St Andrews is partnered with large and small institutions, ancient and young, across the globe. What unites all of our programmes is the quality of the academic provision, ensuring that participation in a St Andrews Study abroad programme opens the door to a new and valuable academic experience at another world-class institution. Study Abroad for credit is permitted on existing University-approved programmes only.

Student life

From the outset, the University of St Andrews offers an array of events and opportunities which result in a truly unique student experience. Students participate in a range of traditions, notably, the red academic gown and the academic family, where older students adopt first year students as ‘children’ and help guide them in a system of mentoring. These traditions and the choice of over 150 sports clubs and student societies to choose from ensures a community feel amongst students from first year onwards.

Students of Middle East Studies may be interested in joining the Middle East Society which hosts regular social events including dinners, themed nights, shisha evenings and film screenings.

The School of History occupies three sites all within a few minutes’ walk of each other at the heart of the historic town of St Andrews. Students will attend tutorials, seminars and individual meetings with tutors in these buildings, while larger lectures are located in nearby buildings. The School of History sites are:

  • St Katharine’s Lodge, a 19th-century former school near the seafront
  • New Arts Building, a modern building with lecture classrooms and study spaces
  • St John’s House, located on South Street.

The town of St Andrews itself has lots to offer. As the campus is located around town, walking around you encounter ancient and modern buildings and areas of greenery and seaside which provide a rich, beautiful backdrop to learning. If you want a change of scenery, St Andrews' position near surrounding towns and cities such as Anstruther, Dundee and Edinburgh make it ideal for getting to know more about Scotland. Find out more about student life at the University of St Andrews.


School of History
University of St Andrews
St Katharine’s Lodge
The Scores
St Andrews
KY16 9BA

Phone: +44 (0)1334 46 2890
Email: middleeast@st-andrews.ac.uk

History website