Middle East Studies

Middle East Studies covers the history, politics, cultures and languages of the Middle East, from pre-Islamic Iran and early medieval Armenia through the Byzantine, Seljuk, Mongol, Ottoman and Safavid Empires to 20th-century Iran and Algeria.

By taking a course in Middle East Studies, students gain 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.



Middle East Studies at St Andrews is studied as part of a joint interdisciplinary degree, and possible combinations include Arabic, Mediaeval and Modern history, and International Relations.

Find out more on the Middle East Studies course page.



Cultural Identity Studies MLitt
Iranian Studies MLitt
Middle East, Caucasus and Central Asian Security Studies MLitt
Middle Eastern History MLitt
Middle Eastern Literary and Cultural Studies MLitt


Please contact a supervisor in your research area to inquire about PhD opportunities.

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Middle East Studies research areas

Middle East Studies is a highly interdisciplinary subject area with research undertaken in the Schools of History, International Relations and Modern Languages. Current research projects across the University include:

Research staff:

  • Professor Ali Ansari: history and historiography of modern Iran; ideology, myth and nationalism; social and intellectual history; Iran and the West.
  • Dr Timothy Greenwood: medieval Byzantium and the Near East (6th to 11th centuries) with particular interest in the Caucasus and Sasanian Persia.
  • Dr Dimitris Kastritsis: the political, cultural, and intellectual history of the early and classical Ottoman Empire, Byzantium, and the larger Islamic world, particularly in the late Middle Ages.
  • Dr Andrew Peacock: Middle Eastern and Islamic history and culture from 750 to 1650; Arabic and Persian historiography and manuscripts; history of the Indian Ocean region.
  • Dr Angus Stewart: the eastern Mediterranean world in the age of the Crusades, with a particular interest in diplomatic, cultural and military encounters – especially relating to the Mamluks, the Mongols and the Armenians.
  • Dr Stephen Tyre: European (especially French) colonialism in the late 19th and 20th centuries; decolonisation; post-colonial Europe; 20th-century French history.

Careers for graduates in Middle East Studies

Middle East Studies graduates are well-suited for careers in government, international relations, academia and consulting. The interdisciplinary nature of a degree in Middle East Studies means that students gain transferable skills that make them suitable for a wide range of careers.

Previous graduates have pursued careers as:

  • academics in international institutions
  • civil servants in government departments (notably the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the US State Department)
  • human rights lawyers
  • journalists
  • think tank consultants
  • policy researchers.

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


Joining a society, and particularly taking on a role of responsibility, can impress future employers and also enhance employability skills such as: team working, negotiation, event management, controlling budgets and leadership.

Societies that Middle East Studies students may find interesting include:

Funding opportunities

The University of St Andrews offers a range of funding opportunities at every level of study.


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.

Undergraduate scholarships


School of History scholarships
The School of History offers a number of competitive scholarships which contribute to the fees and maintenance for postgraduate study. 

  • Language Bursaries: enables students to undertake intensive language courses abroad during the summer before their programme begins.
  • School of History MLitt Awards: offers the cash equivalent of one year's home fees and cannot be held in conjunction with other awards offering full fees and maintenance.

School of Modern Languages scholarships
The School of Modern Languages is offering two Santander University scholarships worth £5,000 each and four Forum for Modern Language Studies scholarships of £8,500 for those applying for an MLitt programme in Modern Languages.

Postgraduate taught scholarships

PhD students

The School of History invites applications for funding to undertake postgraduate research. These funding opportunties include:

The School of Modern Languages at the University of St Andrews invites applications for two fully-funded PhD scholarships (fees plus £10,000 per annum maintenance).

Funding for PhD students


REF 2014

In the 2014 Research Excellence Framework, the School of History was ranked top in Scotland, and International Relations was ranked second.

University league tables

Middle East Studies at St Andrews was ranked first in the UK by the Complete University Guide 2019, and the School of History was ranked first in Scotland by the Guardian University Guide 2019 for overall student satisfaction and quality of teaching and research.


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   History research portal

School of Modern Languages
University of St Andrews
Buchanan Building
Union Street
St Andrews
KY16 9PH

Phone: +44 (0)1334 46 3670
Email: modlangs@st-andrews.ac.uk

Modern Languages website

Modern Languages research portal

School of International Relations
University of St Andrews
Arts Faculty Building
The Scores
St Andrews
KY16 9AX

Phone: +44 (0)1334 46 2938
Email: intrel@st-andrews.ac.uk

International Relations website

International Relations research portal