School of Social and Political Science

MSc International Relations of the Middle East With Arabic


As part of the University-wide response to the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, we have reluctantly decided that we will be unable to offer this programme for entry in 2022.

We will still be offering a broad range of courses and we have an alternative programme that may be of interest. 

Please see the webpage of MSc International Relations of the Middle East for further details. 

Investigating crucial questions about the Middle East and about its place in the world order

The Middle East commands the attention of scholars, journalists, politicians, NGO organisations and the general public.

Political Islam, the Palestine-Israeli conflict, the Iraq invasion and the recent wave of popular protest across the Arab world continues to raise interesting questions about the region and its place in the global world order.

At the University of Edinburgh, we draw on the academic resources of the Politics and International Relations and Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies departments to offer students a unique opportunity to study the international relations and the chief language of this fascinating area over two years.


This degree offers an intensive Arabic language programme (including a period spent in the Arab world) with an advanced theoretical and empirical understanding of the international relations of the Middle East.

It offers the opportunity to study the international politics and culture of the Middle East while learning to communicate, to an advanced level, in its dominant language, including a period of study in an Arabic-speaking country. No prior study of Arabic is required.

You will obtain an in-depth understanding of the main historical events, processes and actors that have shaped and continue to shape political dynamics in the Middle East.

You will also acquire a strong understanding of International Relations theoretical and conceptual tools required to understand Middle East international relations, which will help you form an academically-based, independent and critical knowledge of the Middle East.

The intensive Arabic language element will see you reach a high level of competence in speaking, listening, reading and writing the language.


The programme will be delivered through

  • lectures
  • seminars
  • group work
  • guided independent study

You will complete three compulsory courses and three option courses, as well as a programme of intensive Arabic language studies, which will involve oral and written exams. You may also take language courses in Persian and Turkish, although they will not count towards your qualification.

Your second year of study will culminate in an independently researched dissertation.

Career opportunities

Our graduates

Students from our programmes in International Relations (IR) and International and European Politics (IEP) have found work in:

International Institutions

  • NATO Crisis Management Policy Division
  • United Nations Development Programme, Disaster Risk Reduction
  • United Nations, Elections Officer
  • United Nations Industrial Development Organization
  • United Nations Mine Action Service
  • United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime
  • United Nations Security Council

 European Union Institutions

  • European Commission (stages in DGs Agriculture, Competition, Enlargement, Trade)
  • European Commission Delegation in Washington
  • European Parliament—stage

Regional Institutions

  • Council of the Baltic Sea States

National Government and Administrative Institutions

  • Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs
  • Irish Civil Service
  • Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry
  • Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs
  • Malaysian Ministry of Foreign Affairs
  • Norwegian Agricultural Authority
  • Scottish Executive
  • Scottish Parliament
  • UK Civil Service
  • UK Foreign Office
  • UK Electoral Commission
  • UK House of Commons
  • UK Ministry of Defence
  • United States House of Representatives
  • American Chamber of Commerce, EU Committee in Brussels

Party Political Support

  • European Parliament—European Free Alliance Group
  • Office of Member of European Parliament
  • Office of Member of Parliament
  • Office of Member of Scottish Parliament
  • Scottish National Party 

Development Organisations

  • Africa Educational Trust
  • International Committee of the Red Cross
  • Just World
  • Refugees International
  • Sudan Volunteer Program

Educational, Research and Think Tank Organisations  

  • European Policy Centre
  • Foreign Policy Centre
  • Institute of European Affairs
  • Mount San Jacinto College
  • Policy Research Institute
  • School of Peace and Culture (Autonoma University of Barcelona)
  • Scottish Council Foundation
  • Stockholm International Peace Research Institute

Advocacy and Lobby Organisations

  • Conservation International
  • Environmental Law and Policy Center
  • Global Witness
  • Kurdish Human Rights Project
  • Scottish Civic Forum

Banking and Financial Institutions

  • Bank of America
  • Ernst and Young
  • European Central Bank
  • ING
  • Price Waterhouse Coopers

Media and PR Organisations

  • Bloomberg Media
  • European Agenda (news magazine)
  • Financial Times
  • Hill & Knowlton
  • Media Corporation of Singapore
  • New York Times Website
  • Press Data Bureau

Commercial Organisations

  • Glaxo SmithKline
  • Lukoil
  • Olympic Airways
Additional information

Edinburgh and the University

Both the city and University of Edinburgh are dynamic, cosmopolitan centres of international political engagement, culture and learning. They combine centuries of political, economic, military and intellectual history, including the legacy of the Scottish Enlightenment, with the modern institutions of a forward thinking capital city.

Edinburgh itself is a UNESCO World Heritage site, and the University is currently ranked 20th in the world in the QS World University Rankings.


Undergraduate contact

The School of Social and Political Science sits within the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences.  All enquiries and applications relating to undergraduate admissions to the School are handled by our College. Please contact:

CAHSS Undergraduate Admissions
University of Edinburgh
57 George Square
Edinburgh, EH8 9JX

Tel: +44 (0)131 650 3565