Modern Middle Eastern Studies MSc

View from above the MIA, Doha, taken by Elisabetta Pietrostefani

The MSc in Modern Modern Middle Eastern Studies is a new 12-month, taught master's course, offered by the Faculty of Oriental Studies and the Oxford School of Global and Area Studies (OSGA), which offers research training for students already familiar with the Middle East region and its languages. The course provides a common foundation in the methods and disciplines relevant to the study of the Middle East. It provides intensive training in several fields of knowledge based on a combination of lectures, tutorials and essay writing allowing students to develop research and writing skills with training in appropriate theoretical and methodological approaches, through supervision of a dissertation on a subject of the student’s choice. The MSc teaches both qualitative and quantitative methodologies through assessed work.

The course offers two tracks: a language and a non-language one. The language track is designed for students who already have intermediate to advanced -level ability in either Arabic or Hebrew and who wish to further develop these skills through intensive classes. The non-language track is designed for students who already have full research fluency in at least one of the languages of the region through being either a literate native speaker, or possessing a degree in the language (a course specifically focusing on language and acquisition of the capacity to read untranslated texts in a Middle-Eastern language, not a disciplinary or area studies degree in which the applicant has taken language classes). Non-native speaker applicants who think they might qualify for the non-language track who do not have such a degree should explain specifically why they think they qualify, e.g. through extensive formal study and experience in the region outside the scope of a degree program.

Students on the language track take language classes plus two optional papers. Students on the non-language track take three optional papers. Students in both tracks take assessed qualitative and quantitative research methodology modules, and both tracks write a 12,000 word dissertation. Optional papers are taught through a combination of lectures, tutorials, and non-assessed essays and will be examined through 5,000 word take-home essays at the end of each term. Candidates will choose from a list of Options published annually. The language paper for the language track will be examined by an examination at the end of Trinity Term. The dissertation will be undertaken independently under the supervision of a tutor with relevant expertise.  Preparation for the dissertation will take place through the Research Methods course and relevant Options and submitted by the beginning of September.  Fieldwork for the dissertation is not required but is not discouraged for those students able to carry it out.

Graduates from the MSc Modern Middle Eastern Studies typically pursue careers in academia, government, business, the NGO sector, and journalism. The degree is particularly useful in preparing students wishing to continue study at the doctoral level through its provison of both qualitative and quantitative research training.

List of site pages