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 the rise of Islam to the modern Middle East.
Taken with another subject, Middle East Studies offer a good opportunity for historical and comparative analysis between different literatures, cultures, history and politics.
If you started this programme in 2019, you can find information about 2019 entry on the 2019 Middle East Studies MA page. Information about all programmes from previous years of entry can be found in the archive.
These grades are the overall standards required to consider you for entry. Find out more about Standard, Minimum and Gateway entry requirements using academic entry explained and see which entry requirements you need to look at using the entry requirements indicator.
Standard entry grades: AAAAB, including A in History
Minimum entry grades: AABB, including B in History
Gateway entry grades: BBBB, including B in History
Standard entry grades: AAA, including A in History
Minimum entry grades: ABB, including B in History
Standard entry grades: 38 (HL 6,6,6), including HL6 in History
Minimum entry grades: 36 (HL 6,5,5), including HL5 in History
We accept a wide range of qualifications for entry on to our programmes, please see our entry requirements for more information.
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.
If English is not your first language you will need an overall IELTS score of 7.0, with a minimum score of 6.5 in each component (Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking), or an equivalent English Language qualification.
You do not need prior knowledge of Middle Eastern history, but you must have studied History at SQA Higher, GCE A-Level or equivalent.
Faculty entry requirements
You must also meet the Faculty of Arts minimum qualifications. These vary depending on which qualifications you hold.
SQA National 5 (B) or equivalent in English and one SQA National 5 (B) from the following:
Computing Science or equivalent
Lifeskills Mathematics (A grade)
GCSE (B or 5) in English, English Language or English Literature, and one GCSE (B or 5) from the following:
Computing Science or equivalent
Passes in other examinations at equivalent levels and subjects may be accepted by the Dean of the Faculty. More information on how to apply via other entry routes or accreditation of prior learning and experience can be found on the University’s entry requirements web page.
The University publishes its expected timetables before the advising process, and aims to provide each student with a personalised timetable once module choices have been made and confirmed during matriculation.
The School of History at St Andrews has an international reputation for the diversity of teaching programmes offered. The School has expertise in medieval and modern history, from Scotland to Byzantium, and the Americas to the Middle East and South Asia.
The University of St Andrews as a whole was voted top in the UK for student academic experience in The National Student Survey 2019 as 95% of St Andrews final year students gave the University top marks for the quality of the learning and teaching experience.
The University has secured a TEF Gold Award for the quality of teaching and the undergraduate experience.
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 medieval 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.
Separately from the Middle East modules in the first year of your studies, you will be required to study an additional two subjects. In the second year, you will usually carry on at least one of these subjects, sometimes two. Find out more about how academic years are organised.
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 to be able to make connections across different time periods and between different cultures.
The University of St Andrews operates on a flexible modular degree system by which degrees are obtained through the accumulation of credits. More information on the structure of the modules system can be found on the flexible degree structure webpage.
Students are required to take two of the following modules (which include some Middle East content) in their first year:
The Early Modern Western World (c. 1450 – c. 1770): looks at continental European history in the early modern period, and the expansion of Europe.
The Fall of Rome and the Origins of Europe (400 – 1000): examines how political, cultural and social life changed in the Byzantine, British and 'barbarian' worlds in response to major upheavals.
Themes in Late Modern History (c.1776 – 2001): provides thematic coverage of major political and social developments in the Western world during the 19th and 20th centuries.
Students are required to take the following compulsory module 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.
You must also choose 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 medieval times.
Medieval Europe (1000 – 1400): examines key themes that helped to shape continental Western Europe from the aftermath of the Carolingian Empire and beginning of the Crusades to the Black Death and the Hundred Years War.
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:
Arabs, Persians and Turks in the Early Islamic East in the Age of the Caliphates (600 - 1200)
Britain and Iran in the Modern Era
Eastern Approaches: Early Medieval Armenia c.500 - 750
From Leo VI to Basil II: Byzantium in the 10th Century
The Imperial City: Byzantine and Ottoman Constantinople
The Iranian World from the Timurids to the Safavids (1370-1722).
In fourth year, students also undertake a dissertation of c.10,000 to 12,000 words on a topic of their choice or an Honours Project. These modules based on independent research enable you to develop key research skills which are desired by both prospective employers and by graduate schools offering postgraduate degrees.
The compulsory modules listed here must be taken 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. For Honours-level, students choose from a range of Honours modules, some of which are listed above. A full list of all modules available for the current academic year can be found in the module catalogue.
Teaching at sub-honours level is delivered primarily through lectures (120 to 200 students) and small group tutorials (5 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.
When not attending lectures and tutorials, you will be expected to continue learning independently through self-study. Typically, this will involve:
working on individual and group projects
undertaking research in the library
preparing coursework assignments and presentations
preparing for examinations.
You will be taught by an experienced teaching team with expertise and knowledge of Middle East studies. Postgraduate research students who have undertaken teacher training may also contribute to the teaching of seminars under the supervision of the module leader.
In addition to your studies in the School of History, optional academic support is available through practical study skills courses and workshops hosted within the University.
The University’s student services team can help students with additional needs resulting from disabilities, long term medical conditions or learning disabilities. More information can be found on the students with disabilities webpage.
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.
Classroom examinations often incorporate essays and source exercises. In addition, many modules include a written examination held at the end of each semester during a dedicated exam diet with revision time provided beforehand.
The School aims to provide feedback on every assessment within three weeks to help you improve on future assessments.
Undergraduates at the University of St Andrews must achieve at least 7.0 on the St Andrews 20-point grade scale to pass a module. To gain access to Honours-level modules, students must achieve the relevant requisites as specified in the policy on entry to Honours and in the relevant programme requirements. Please note that some Schools offer qualified entry to Honours, and this will be clearly specified in the programme requirements. To find out the classification equivalent of points, please visit the common reporting scale webpage.
Visit St Andrews
If you are interested in studying at St Andrews, join us at a visiting day to explore the town, find out about our courses and meet current students.
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.
Middle East Studies students may participate in the University-wide St Andrews Abroad programme. You may also have the opportunity to participate in the School Abroad exchange programme. For information about study abroad options, please see the Study Aboad site.
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 University buildings are located throughout the 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.
"I chose Middle East Studies because I love learning about the history and causes that affect current events there today — it also pairs well with my other focus (International Relations). Since so many international students are drawn to St Andrews, the diversity of perspective is valuable to any class discussion."
Anna (Philadelphia, USA)
School of History University of St Andrews St Katharine's Lodge The Scores St Andrews KY16 9BA
As a research intensive institution, the University ensures that its teaching references the research interests of its staff, which may change from time to time. As a result, programmes are regularly reviewed with the aim of enhancing students' learning experience. Our approach to course revision is described online (PDF, 72 KB).