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The University of Edinburgh: Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies (IMES)

Institution The University of Edinburgh View institution profile
Department School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures
Study type Research


This programme builds on your knowledge in Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies or related fields and aims to develop and enhance your research skills and your skills in academic writing.

It is ideal if you have a clear idea of the independent research you wish to undertake at masters level.

Why Edinburgh

With over 260 years of history in teaching and research, we are globally recognised as a leading centre for postgraduate study in Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies.

Our research resources and facilities are outstanding, and we have excellent links with a number of centres and networks, including the Alwaleed Centre and the Centre for Medieval & Renaissance Studies.

You are not required to have any prior competence in a Middle Eastern language, but you will have the opportunity to take courses in Arabic, Persian or Turkish.

Research areas

We are able to supervise research in a wide range of specialist and interdisciplinary areas.

Our expertise includes:

  • Language and literature: classical and modern Arabic literature, classical Persian literature, cultural transmission and translation between Arabic and Persian cultures

  • History and historiography: pre-Islamic Iran, early Islamic history, Ottoman history, modern history, in particular Iraq, Iran and Egypt; the Middle Eastern prison, the Middle Eastern press

  • Religion: early and classical Islam, Qur’an and Qur’anic exegesis, Hadith, the biography of Muhammad, Sufism, Islam in the Ottoman Empire, contemporary religious authority

  • Contemporary Muslim politics: Islamism, sectarianism, social movements, comparative social and political change in the Muslim world

  • Arts and cultures of the Middle East, and of Muslim societies: particularly visual arts, cinema

  • Gender and sexuality in the Middle East and North Africa, contemporary Arab media

  • Shi’ism: Shi’i history and contemporary Shi’ism in local and transnationalist perspective

  • Islam and Muslims in Europe

  • Diasporas and ethnic minorities of the Middle East

Doctor of Philosophy - PhD

MSc (Res)

University of Edinburgh 


Inspiring the world since 1583 
University of EdinburghThe University of Edinburgh is one of the world's top universities, consistently ranked in the world top 50, and placed 16th in the 2022 QS World University Rankings. Our entrepreneurial and cross-disciplinary culture attracts not only students but also staff from some 156 countries, creating a unique Edinburgh experience.

We provide a stimulating working, learning, and teaching environment with access to excellent facilities and attract the world's best, from Nobel Prize winning laureates to future explorers, pioneers and inventors.

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