This distinctive programme offers an in-depth analysis of this vital region, delivered by an expert academic team. You’ll directly address the complex nature of the politics and international relations of the Middle East to gain an oversight of internal dimensions of the region and their links with regional and extra-regional relations.
Covering a range of approaches from Politics, Comparative Politics and International Relations, it addresses the security, economic, identity and political dynamics of the region. The programme will be of interest to you if you’re wishing to study these issues in more depth and to make comparisons across the region.
You’ll benefit from our specific expertise and research interests in a diverse range of areas relating to the Middle East - with a particular focus on security issues, regional relations and the interest of the outside powers in the Middle East, as well as our in-depth research and experience in specific sub-regional areas.

Research expertise

Our academics are widely recognised as leading experts in their field. They boast specialisms in a range of areas: the politics of Islamism; the Persian Gulf; the Israel-Palestine conflict; the international organisations of the Middle East; democratisation in the region and issues of terrorism and insurgency. Teaching on the programme draws upon a network of Middle East specialists based at the University.
Our rich research culture within the School of Politics and International Studies is specifically focused on the Middle East. It also draws on other regions and cross-cutting themes such as the prevalence of authoritarianism and the problems of democratisation, meaning that there is a combination of focus on the Middle East which is also influenced by wider insights and research focus.

Experience opportunities

All students on all our degree schemes, including international students, have access to hundreds of volunteering opportunities through the Leeds for Life scheme. In addition, our dedicated careers team and in-School employability champions can work with you to attain work experience opportunities during and after your course.

Course content

The compulsory modules will give you the opportunity to:

  • gain an advanced understanding of the issues of security, economy and society across the Middle East
  • undertake a comprehensive analysis of the ever-changing dynamics of this complex region
  • examine the pressing contemporary issues facing the Middle East
  • gain insight into the internal dimensions of the region and their links with regional and extra-regional relations
  • study in-depth the ongoing peace negotiations in Israel-Palestine.

You’ll also be able to hone your research and writing skills in your compulsory dissertation – an independent piece of research on your chosen topic.

The wide-ranging list of optional modules means that you can explore a diverse range of related subjects of interest to you.

In semester one you will study Contemporary Politics of the Middle East and in semester two you will study The Politics of the Israel-Palestine Conflict, along with your chosen optional modules.

If you’re a part-time student, you’ll take one compulsory module and study some optional modules in your first year. You’ll then take the second compulsory module, the dissertation module and other optional modules in your second year to complete your programme.

Course structure


Year 1

Compulsory modules

  • Contemporary Politics of the Middle East
  • The Politics of the Israel-Palestine Conflict
  • POLIS MA Dissertation

Optional modules

  • Debating the Middle East: Islam, Politics and Culture
  • Conflict, Complex Emergencies and Global Governance
  • Conflict and Insurgency in Southeast Asia
  • Insurgency
  • Popular Culture: World politics, Society and Culture
  • Counterterrorism
  • Terrorism
  • Theoretical Approaches in International Relations
  • Civil War and Intrastate Conflict

Learning and teaching

Teaching is through a combination of lectures, lively seminar discussions and weekly readings. We expect you to participate fully in taught sessions and to study independently, developing your skills and preparing for lectures and seminars. You’ll also be able to benefit from an impressive range of research talks and seminars led by outside speakers or colleagues from within the department and University.


Within modules, assessment consists primarily of assessed essays, exams and group presentations. At the end of your studies, a 12,000-word dissertation will allow you to pursue your own research interest under close supervision by one of our expert colleagues.

Entry requirements

A bachelor degree with a 2:1 (Honours) or a non-UK equivalent in a social science, humanities, or other related discipline. Relevant experience will also be taken into account.

We accept a range of international equivalent qualifications.

English language requirements

IELTS 6.5 overall, with no less than 6.0 in any component.

Improve your English

International students who do not meet the English language requirements for this programme may be able to study our postgraduate pre-sessional English course, to help improve your English language level.

This pre-sessional course is designed with a progression route to your degree programme and you’ll learn academic English in the context of your subject area.

How to apply

Application deadlines

  • International students: 30 June
  • UK/EU students: 31 July

Documents and information you will need include:

  • Original or certified copies of your transcripts
  • Original or certified copies of your degree certificate
  • Original or certified copy of your IELTS/TOEFL results (if English is not your first language)
  • Details of two referees.


For the latest information regarding fees, see our website: https://courses.leeds.ac.uk

Part-time fees are normally calculated based on the number of credits you study in a year compared to the equivalent full-time course. For example, if you study half the course credits in a year, you will pay half the full-time course fees for that year.

Additional cost information

There may be additional costs related to your course or programme of study, or related to being a student at the University of Leeds.

Scholarships and financial support

If you have the talent and drive, we want you to be able to study with us, whatever your financial circumstances. There may be help for students in the form of loans and non-repayable grants from the University and from the government.

Career opportunities

The programme is both academically cutting-edge and policy-relevant at a time when the Middle East is undergoing radical change. It will produce graduates who are able to fill the growing need for experts on the region in a variety of industries from oil and investment to security and services. The Middle East is a growing market for many firms who all want to understand the risks and opportunities of working in the region better.

There is a growing market from employers for graduates with expertise in Middle Eastern politics, including NGOs and international institutions; ministries of foreign affairs, trade and defence; as well as consultancy and risk-management/analysis firms engaged in the region.

Careers Support

We encourage you to prepare for your career from day one. That’s one of the reasons Leeds graduates are so sought after by employers.

The Careers Centre and staff in your faculty provide a range of help and advice to help you plan your career and make well-informed decisions along the way, even after you graduate.

Program taught in:
  • English

See 6 more programs offered by University of Leeds, Faculty of Education, Social Sciences, and Law »

Last updated March 4, 2019
This course is Campus based
Start Date
12 - 24 months
Request Info
International students
By locations
By date
Start Date
End Date
Application deadline
Request Info
International students
Start Date
End Date
Application deadline
Request Info
UK/EU students
Application deadline
Request Info
International students
End Date
Application deadline
Request Info
UK/EU students
End Date

Politics and International Studies at Leeds - Postgraduate Study