The MSc in Arab World Studies is intended to provide rigorous, research-driven, interdisciplinary, masters-level education and training. It is committed to providing a supportive learning environment that seeks to combine critical and practical reasoning so as to attain the following aims:
The programme is designed to establish a cadre of exceptional researchers, qualified at the Masters level, with skills and knowledge sufficient for the conduct of research in and on the Arab World.
To recruit students of high calibre who have not previously completed any substantive research training and who have few or no Arabic language skills.
To provide generic training in research methods and methodologies to provide a foundation in a broad range of social science research methods as well as basic research and transferable skills that all students in the social sciences require as deemed appropriate for ESRC recognition.
To provide subject-specific training in research methods and methodologies in Politics, relevant also to International Relations and International Studies.
To provide language instruction in the Arabic language, such that the student develops appropriate and sufficient competence to utilise the language in their subsequent research or employment in the Arabic-speaking world.
To develop the knowledge, skills and understanding which will prepare students to undertake research for a doctoral degree in Politics, International Relations or International Studies, and which may be required of a professional researcher in these fields of the social sciences.
To develop the student's knowledge of the range of existing disciplinary, multi-disciplinary and inter-disciplinary research on the Arab World.
- Core modules to the value of 70 credits
- Optional modules to the value of 30 credits.
- Core modules to the value of 40 credits
- Optional modules to the value of 75 credits, plus
- Dissertation 60 credits.
- Arabic Language 1B
- Perspectives on Social Research
- Politics, Government and Civil Society in the Middle East
- Arabic Language 2B
Optional modules in previous years have included:
- Statistical Exploration and Reasoning
- Quantitative Methods in Social Science
- Qualitative Methods in Social Science
- Fieldwork and Interpretation
- International Relations and Security in the Middle East
- Politics, Government and Civil Society in the Middle East
- The Political Economy of Development in the Middle East
- America and the World: The Making of US Foreign Policy
- Contemporary Socio-Political Issues in Muslim Religious Thought
Learning and Teaching
At the beginning of the academic year, students go through five-day induction events in which they are informed about University, the School, the MA/MSc programmes and the facilities available for their learning.
This MSc programme is spread across two-years. In the first year, 100 credits are divided into three core and one/two optional modules and then in the second year 175 credits is divided into one core and five optional modules. Furthermore, students have to submit a dissertation of 60 credits of not more than 12,000 words. Most of the modules are delivered during the first two terms and students spend the remaining time to write the dissertation.
Usually, a module has 18 contact hours spread over 9 weeks and 132 hours of self-directed learning. The modules are mainly delivered through weekly 2 hours sessions which can either take the form of seminars or one hour of lecture and one hour of tutorial. The form in which seminars are conducted can differ from one module to another. Typically modules would have elements of lectures, discussions, and presentations from students—the extent of each of these components would differ from one module to another.
All modules have written exercise for formative assessments. Upon getting feedback on these assignments, students can meet their lecturers to discuss their marks before then eventually completing a summative assessment. Typically summative assessments are 3000-word essays but some modules may be assessed by examination. Students can also meet their module coordinators during their weekly contact hours or by making an appointment. When students are working on their dissertations during the latter half of the year, they meet their assigned supervisors for a minimum of 6 hours. Students also have access to the academic advisors whenever there is a need.
SGIA has a wide variety of resources available to students such as computer room/work room with networked PC’s, printing facilities including scanner and photocopier, audio system, Wi-Fi and a relaxation area with satellite television system.
SGIA conducts weekly seminars and organises lectures and conferences which all postgraduate students can attend. These events provide students with the opportunity to engage with, and debate, the most important issues in current political and international studies.
Towards the end of the programme, students can contact the Careers Office of the University to get advice on available job prospects and get assistance on applying for these.
Subject requirements, level and grade
A 2:1 or First at BA level of the international equivalent.
The Broad Aims of the Programme are:
- To establish a cadre of exceptional researchers, qualified at the Master's levels, with skills and knowledge sufficient for the conduct of research in and on the Arab World.
- To recruit students of high calibre who have not previously completed any substantive research training and who have few or no Arabic language skills.
- To provide generic training in research methods and methodologies in the social sciences at the level deemed appropriate for ESRC recognition.
- To provide subject-specific training in research methods and methodologies in Politics, relevant also to International Relations and International Studies.
- To provide intensive language instruction in the Arabic language, such that the student develops appropriate and sufficient competence to utilise the language in their subsequent research or employment in the Arabic-speaking world.
- To develop the knowledge, skills and understanding which will prepare students to undertake research for a doctoral degree in Politics, International Relations and International Studies, and which may be required of a professional researcher in these fields of the social sciences.
- To develop the student's knowledge of the range of existing disciplinary, multi-disciplinary and inter-disciplinary research on the Arab World.
- To develop their awareness of the cultural and social environment of the Arab World, and to enhance their abilities to design and conduct research within that environment.
This MSc Programme is specifically focused to provide research training simultaneously with Arabic language training. It is designed to include all the pertinent requirements of the one-year research-training master's degree (the ‘1' of the ‘1+3' model) as set out in the ESRC Postgraduate Training Guidelines. ALL the research training or subject-specific modules are taught at Durham and are components of ESRC recognised research training masters at Durham. On completion of the programme, it is anticipated that students will have fulfilled the requirements of a normal ESRC research training masters, as well as having attained their language proficiency.
Specifically, the course will include:
Consult the MSc Arab World Studies degree regulations for further information on modules taken in Years 1 and 2.
Students will need to negotiate their particular optional choices and pathways in discussion with the Director of the programme Professor A. Ehteshami, with students sharing common generic methodologies and Arabic skills base, but having the freedom to develop particular strength in fields of their choice.
Entry Requirements for Postgraduate Programmes
MA/ MSC and MPhil
- You will normally need to have a good honours degree (2:1, upper second or a first) or its equivalent, in an appropriate subject from a recognised university.
- Overseas students - see equivalent entry requirements and any English language requirements on our country pages. The information is split up by country, so if you do not see your country listed or have further questions, please contact the International Office.
- English language entry requirements for overseas students, see the section at the bottom of this page.
- Applicants must provide two references, one of which should be academic; these can either be sent by applicants in signed and sealed envelopes, or they can be sent directly to the School. We accept references to letters or emails from referees, or uploaded to the application system.
- Most importantly applicants applying for research degrees MUST submit a research proposal with their application, 500 words minimum.
English Language Requirements For Overseas students:
We welcome applications from students from all nations. All instruction for higher degrees is conducted in English. In order to profit from your study, you will need to be proficient in English. Therefore, if your first language is not English, you will be required to show evidence of proficiency in written and spoken English.
Requirements for entry to MA/ MSc/ MPhil:
The standard entry requirement for all MA/MSc MPhil programmes (see Learning and Teaching Handbook 220.127.116.11 University minimum levels for English language entry and accepted English language proficiency tests for up-to-date requirements)
If it has been more than two years since a certificate of proficiency has been taken then a recent test must be completed. Students taking the Durham University English Language Centre pre-sessional course will be required to achieve a grade of B or above.
Candidates MUST APPLY ONLINE
About the School
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