School of Social and Political Science

MSc The Middle East in Global Politics

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Applications for September 2024 entry are now closed.  We expect to open applications for 2025 entry in October. 

The Middle East continues to command the attention of scholars, journalists, politicians, NGO organisations and the public.

The politics of oil, the Palestine-Israeli conflict, external influences and waves of popular protests across the Arab world raise questions about the region and its place in a changing global world order. Internationally recognised scholars at the University of Edinburgh offer students a unique opportunity to study and develop an advanced theoretical and empirical understanding of the politics, societies and international relations of this region. The programme provides its graduates with a highly advantageous skill set for careers in journalism, international and domestic civil service, international business and further research.

Drawing on interdisciplinary resources and expertise in the University of Edinburgh, this programme enables students to obtain an understanding of the main historical events, processes and actors that shape the political dynamics of the Middle East in a changing world. Through reading and writing assignments and a dissertation, students will learn and integrate a wide range of theoretical traditions in the study of politics and international relations in and of the Middle East.

Students are able to expand their network and deepen their knowledge through participating in the activities of the Middle East Research Group. The group is convened by staff members from the MSc programme. It hosts an interdisciplinary seminar series geared towards discussing work-in-progress by staff and research degrees students from across the university. The group also convenes the Contemporary Middle East Series - a series of public lectures, roundtables and teach-ins on modern and contemporary issues related to the region. The Series featured scholars and experts based in the UK, Europe, the Middle East and North America.  


The politics of Islam, oil, the Arab-Israeli conflict, the Arab Spring and continuing regional unrest pose crucial questions about the Middle East and about its place in the world order. This recently developed programme draws on our research strengths in politics and international relations and Islamic and Middle Eastern studies to offer you a unique opportunity.

As well as placing the region in broader analytical, conceptual and theoretical debates of international relations and political science, we also aim to foster knowledge of Middle East international relations by offering opportunities to examine local cultures, histories, languages and religions.

You will acquire a strong understanding of theoretical and conceptual tools required to understand Middle East international relations.

Students would achieve the following learning outcomes:

  • Understand the politics and international relations of the Middle East from a complex, interdisciplinary perspective.
  • Use, evaluate and critique critical arguments about this geographic region.
  • Identify, analyse and deploy a range of primary and secondary sources to support arguments
  • Develop and structure sophisticated pieces of writing
  • Design, plan and manage a long-term autonomous research project

Learning takes place through individual reading and reflection, and through lectures and seminars often involving group discussion initiated by student presentations.  Students are therefore expected to read extensively and deeply in preparation for all seminars as well as to participate fully in discussions of material.  From the outset students must cultivate the study skills required for scholarship at an advanced level - using library sources fully, effective note taking, critical analysis and writing. The core course offers students an introduction to a wide range of topics, theoretical traditions, and themes in the study of the politics and International Relations of the Middle East. It is a team-course taught drawing on the research strengths and interests of our staff. It allows students to be exposed to a wide range of questions before focusing on certain areas through optional courses and dissertation topics.

You will complete one compulsory course and five option courses, after which you will work towards an independently researched dissertation.


The dissertation is an extended piece of scholarship in which a student is expected to produce a substantive piece of independent research. The dissertation will be no longer than 15,000 words on a topic related to The Middle East in Global Politics to be submitted by a date specified in the University Regulations.

The dissertation is expected to tackle a research problem, engage the relevant literature, and build upon the relevant concepts and theories introduced in the taught elements of the degree. Students will deploy a range of primary and secondary sources as well as appropriate data-analytic and bibliographic skills. Each student will be allocated a research supervisor from either IMES or PIR by the Spring to advise on and oversee her or his research progress

Career opportunities

Providing an advanced training in the politics and international relations of an important world region, this programme provides graduates with a highly advantageous skill set for careers in journalism, international and domestic civil service, international business and further research.

Tuition fees

Tuition fees

AwardTitleDurationStudy mode 
MSc 1 YearFull-timeTuition fees
MSc 2 YearsPart-timeTuition fees
How to apply

We strongly recommend you submit your completed application as early as possible, particularly if you are also applying for funding or will require a visa. 

Everything you need to know about the application process and additional details for this programme is available here:

Application information

Application fee

A non-refundable application fee of £50 must be paid after you submit your application. Your application will not be processed until we have received your application fee.