Middle East Studies MA (joint degree) 2024 entry

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.

Start date
4 September 2023
End date
30 June 2027
Four years full time
School of History

Entry requirements

The University offers different entry requirements, depending on your background. 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.

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 entry requirements as outlined on their pages.

  • Standard entry grades:
    AAAAB, including A in History
    Minimum entry grades:
    AABB, including B in History
    Gateway entry grades:
    Applicants who have narrowly missed the minimum entry grades, but meet the University's contextual criteria, may be interested in one of the University’s Gateway programmes.
  • 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

General entry requirements

All applicants must have attained the following qualifications, or equivalent, in addition to the specific entry requirements for individual programmes.

  • SQA National 5 (B) in English and one SQA National 5 (B) from the following:

    • Biology
    • Chemistry
    • Computing science
    • Geography
    • Lifeskills Mathematics (A grade)
    • Mathematics
    • Physics
    • Psychology.
  • GCSE (5) in English language or English literature, and one GCSE (5) from the following:

    • Biology
    • Chemistry
    • Computing Science
    • Geography
    • Mathematics
    • Physics
    • Psychology.

Other qualifications

We accept a wide range of qualifications for entry on to our programmes. Please see our entry requirements for more information.

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.

Do I need to have studied this subject before?

You do not need prior knowledge of Middle Eastern history, but you must have studied History at SQA Higher, GCE A-Level or equivalent.

Course details

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 web page.


In the first two years of your degree (known as sub-honours), you will take the required modules in Middle East studies along with modules from your chosen joint subject.

Typically, you will take one module including Middle Eastern history per semester during your first two years, and two modules during your third and fourth year (known as Honours). 

Find out more about the modular Scottish degree system. 

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 (11th - 15th c.): 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
  • From Leo VI to Basil II: Byzantium in the Tenth Century
  • The Imperial City: Byzantine and Ottoman Constantinople
  • Nomadic Heritage and Persianate Culture: The Iranian world from Timurids to the Safavids (1370-1722)
  • The Ottoman Empire, 1300 - 1700.

In fourth year, students also undertake a dissertation of around 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 appropriate to the programme for the current academic year can be found in the programme requirements.


Teaching at sub-honours level is delivered primarily through lectures (120 to 300 students) and small group tutorials (6 to 9 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 16 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.

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.

Coursework includes:

  • research essays
  • oral presentations
  • class tests.

Classroom examinations often incorporate essays and source exercises. In addition, many modules include an 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 two 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. To find out the classification equivalent of points, please see the common reporting scale.

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. 

Find contact information for all Middle East studies staff on the School of History website.

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 web page.



England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland

Channel Islands, Isle of Man

EU and overseas

More information on tuition fees can be found on the undergraduate fees and funding page.

Accommodation fees

Find out about accommodation fees for University accommodation.

Funding and scholarships

The University of St Andrews offers a number of scholarships and support packages to students each year.

Joint Honours degrees

You can also take Middle East Studies MA (joint degree) as part of a joint Honours degree in which you will take core modules of your chosen subjects.

It is also possible to take a degree in Modern Languages which combines Middle East Studies with both Arabic and Persian.

Joint degrees taken with Arabic, German, Russian, Spanish are also available 'With Integrated Year Abroad'.

  • Arabic
  • Art History
  • Classical Studies
  • Economics
  • English
  • Geography
  • German
  • Hebrew
  • International Relations
  • Management
  • Medieval History
  • Modern History
  • Persian
  • Russian
  • Social Anthropology
  • Spanish


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.

What to do next

Online information events

Join us for one of our information events where you can find out about different levels of study and specific courses we run. There are also sessions available for parents and college counsellors.

Undergraduate visiting days

We encourage all students who are thinking of applying to the University to attend one of our online or in-person visiting days.

Contact us

+44 (0)1334 46 2890
School of History

University of St Andrews
St Katharine's Lodge
The Scores
St Andrews
KY16 9BA

School of History website