Middle Eastern Studies and Politics BA

Year of entry

2024 course information

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UCAS code
Start date
September 2023
Delivery type
On campus
3 years full time
Work placement
Study abroad
Typical A-level offer
Typical Access to Leeds offer
BBB at A Level and pass Access to Leeds
BBC at A Level, A in a relevant EPQ and pass Access to Leeds
Full entry requirements

Course overview

Students working in Language Zone

In this degree, you’ll gain an in-depth understanding of two subject areas, studying the history, politics, religion and culture of the Middle East, alongside the study of politics, allowing you to analyse the complex political circumstances that shape our world today.

You’ll build your knowledge of the key themes in Middle Eastern studies, from the early history of the Arabs and Islam to the complex international relations of today. Speaking Arabic isn’t a requirement for this course, but you can choose Arabic language modules to develop those skills throughout your degree.

You’ll also develop your understanding of political theory and systems of government around the world. You’ll study the mechanisms of power and influence of politics in public life, exploring the real politics behind the headlines and constructing practical solutions to political challenges.

With the international outlook and knowledge you develop, you’ll be well prepared for a career in a range of fields.

Specialist facilities

Our departmental archive contains Arabic manuscripts, as well as 10,000 archaeological artefacts that range from the Pharaonic to the early Palestinian eras. It’s a fantastic research resource – as is the University Library, which has extensive collections relating to Middle Eastern and Islamic studies. The University Library runs free classes and workshops so you can learn how to use them.

If you choose to study language modules, our Language Zone gives you access to free learning resources, including space for personal study, language learning software, and video, audio, books and magazines.

Course details

A joint honours degree allows you to study the same core topics as students on each single honours course, but you’ll take fewer options and discovery modules so you can fit in both subjects. You’ll also undertake a major project in either subject in your final year.

In your first year, you’ll gain a foundational understanding of politics and political ideas. You’ll explore the key debates that shape politics at an international level using theory to understand and analyse political practices in the world today. You’ll compare the nature of politics and processes across different political systems, analysing how and why we make these comparisons.

As well as this, you’ll gain an overview of the history of the Arab world, from the rise of Islam in the 6th century to the Ottoman conquest in the 16th. You’ll also study the Middle East in depth to understand the varied history, culture, politics, religions and languages of the region.

In your second year, you’ll explore issues relating to modern Arab societies and cultures, such as family life, gender relations, marriage and divorce, and the role of religion. You’ll examine the formation of the modern Middle East from empires to nation-states and you’ll have options to learn about the politics of race, gender, and sexuality in the Middle East or the development of Arab media and its role in relation to politics, culture and society.

In addition to this, you’ll critically examine political theories and ideas in the 20th century or political challenges such as justice, community and conflict. You’ll also study UK or international government and political systems from a choice of optional modules.

In your final year, you’ll undertake either a dissertation or complete a digital documentary on a topic of your choice. You’ll choose from optional modules to tailor your learning to your interests and career aspirations. You can critically explore topics such as Islam and modernity, Middle Eastern politics and British foreign policy among many others.

Course structure

The list shown below represents typical modules/components studied and may change from time to time. Read more in our terms and conditions.

For more information and a full list of typical modules available on this course, please read Middle Eastern Studies and Politics BA in the course catalogue

Year 1 compulsory modules

Module Name Credits
Early and Medieval Islamic History 20
Studying the Middle East: Culture, History, Politics and Religion 20
Politics, Culture and Society 20
Comparative Politics 20
Freedom, Power and Resistance: An Introduction to Political Ideas 20

Year 2 compulsory modules

Module Name Credits
Cultures of the Arab Middle East and North Africa 20
Modern Middle Eastern History 20

Year 2 optional modules (selection of typical options shown below)

Module Name Credits
Arab Media, Politics and Society 20
The Politics of Race, Gender, and Sexuality in the Middle East 20
Towards the Future: Skills in Context 20

Year 3 optional modules (selection of typical options shown below)

Module Name Credits
Islam and Modernity 20
Middle Eastern Politics: Regimes, Societies and Conflict 20
Performing Islam: Piety and Environment in Dialogue 20

Discovery modules

Throughout your degree you will benefit from a range of opportunities to expand your intellectual horizons outside or within your subject area.

This course gives you the opportunity to choose from a range of discovery modules. They’re a great way to tailor your study around your interests or career aspirations and help you stand out from the crowd when you graduate. Find out more about discovery modules on our Broadening webpages.

Learning and teaching

Our tutors are experts in their fields, and their teaching is informed by their own research, meaning what you’ll learn on this course is based on the latest findings in each field.

To help you get the most out of your tutors’ expertise, we use a range of teaching methods including lectures, seminars, tutorials and occasionally workshops.

Independent study is also central to this degree, as it allows you to develop your skills in research and analysis. You’ll be able to apply your skills and knowledge in a final year project on a topic of your own choice.

On this course you’ll be taught by our expert academics, from lecturers through to professors. You may also be taught by industry professionals with years of experience, as well as trained postgraduate researchers, connecting you to some of the brightest minds on campus.


We use different types of assessment. Usually, we use a mixture of exams and essays, but you might also be assessed on oral presentations or group work in some modules. Support will be on hand throughout your time at Leeds – you’ll be able to attend extra classes on exam technique, structuring an essay and public speaking if you need them.

Entry requirements

A-level: AAB

Other course specific tests:

If you’re taking the Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) in a relevant subject this might be considered alongside other Level 3 qualifications and may attract an alternative offer in addition to the standard offer. If you’re taking A Levels, this would be ABB at A Level and grade A in the EPQ.

Alternative qualification

Access to HE Diploma

Pass diploma with 60 credits overall, including at least 45 credits at level 3, of which 30 credits must be at Distinction and 15 credits at Merit or higher. An interview and a piece of written work may be required.


Other BTEC qualifications are also considered. Please contact the Admissions Office for more information.

Cambridge Pre-U

D3, M1, M2

International Baccalaureate

35 points overall including 16 at Higher Level

Irish Leaving Certificate (higher Level)

H2, H2, H2, H2, H3, H3

Scottish Highers / Advanced Highers

AB in Advanced Highers and AABBB in Highers
A in Advanced Highers and AABBB in Highers
AAAABB in Highers.

Welsh Baccalaureate

The Welsh Baccalaureate is not typically included in the academic conditions of an offer made to you for this course. If you choose to undertake the Welsh Baccalaureate we would strongly encourage you to draw upon these experiences within your personal statement, as your qualification will then be taken into account both when your application is initially considered by the selection panel and again when reviewed by the admissions tutor at the time your A-level results are passed to us.

Other Qualifications

European Baccalaureate: 80%.

Find your country to see equivalent international qualifications.

Read more about UK and Republic of Ireland accepted qualifications or contact the School’s Undergraduate Admissions Team.

Alternative entry

We’re committed to identifying the best possible applicants, regardless of personal circumstances or background.

Access to Leeds is an alternative admissions scheme which accepts applications from individuals who might be from low income households, in the first generation of their immediate family to apply to higher education, or have had their studies disrupted.

Find out more about Access to Leeds and alternative admissions.

Typical Access to Leeds offer:
BBB at A Level and pass Access to Leeds
BBC at A Level, A in a relevant EPQ and pass Access to Leeds.


We accept a range of international equivalent qualifications. Contact the Undergraduate Admissions Office for more information.

International Foundation Year

International students who do not meet the academic requirements for undergraduate study may be able to study the University of Leeds International Foundation Year. This gives you the opportunity to study on campus, be taught by University of Leeds academics and progress onto a wide range of Leeds undergraduate courses. Find out more about International Foundation Year programmes.

English language requirements

IELTS 6.5 overall, with no less than 6.0 in any component. For other English qualifications, read English language equivalent qualifications.

Improve your English
If you're an international student and you don't meet the English language requirements for this programme, you may be able to study our undergraduate pre-sessional English course, to help improve your English language level.


UK: £9,250 (per year)

International: £22,250 (per year)

Tuition fees for UK undergraduate students starting in 2023/24 and 2024/25
Tuition fees for UK full-time undergraduate students are set by the UK Government and will remain capped at £9,250 for 2023/24 and 2024/25. The fee may increase in future years of your course in line with inflation only as a consequence of future changes in Government legislation and as permitted by law.

Tuition fees for international undergraduate students starting in 2023/24 and 2024/25
Tuition fees for international students for 2023/24 and 2024/25 are available on individual course pages.

Tuition fees for a study abroad or work placement year
If you take a study abroad or work placement year, you’ll pay a reduced tuition fee during this period. For more information, see Study abroad and work placement tuition fees and loans.

Read more about paying fees and charges.

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

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 is help for students in the form of loans and non-repayable grants from the University and from the government. Find out more in our Undergraduate funding overview.


Apply to this course through UCAS. Check the deadline for applications on the UCAS website.

Read our guidance about applying.

International students apply through UCAS in the same way as UK students. Our network of international representatives can help you with your application. If you’re unsure about the application process, contact the admissions team for help.

Read about visas, immigration and other information in International students. We recommend that international students apply as early as possible to ensure that they have time to apply for their visa.

Admissions policy

University of Leeds Taught Admissions Policy 2024

This course is taught by

School of Languages, Cultures and Societies
School of Politics and International Studies

Contact us


Career opportunities

Middle Eastern studies is a fascinating subject that will give you deep cultural awareness of a fascinating and complex part of the world. It will also equip you with a variety of transferable skills. You’ll have strong research skills, and you’ll be able to think critically about the information you find before drawing your own conclusions. You’ll also be able to communicate your views clearly and defend them in debate – all of which are skills in demand from employers.

Middle Eastern Studies graduates have gone into careers in the media, business and finance, administration, the civil service and government departments, think tanks, the charity sector and global organisations such as the United Nations, where an understanding of the region’s culture and politics is vital. Postgraduate study is an increasingly popular option too, either at Leeds or elsewhere.

Politics graduates have pursued a wide range of careers as parliamentary advisors or researchers, civil servants, diplomats, advocacy workers, parliamentary assistants, lobbyists, special advisors to senior ministers, political researchers and local government officers – and some have even gone into elected office as MPs.

We are committed to helping you achieve your career ambitions. The School of Languages, Cultures and Societies careers and employability support includes promoting internships, providing opportunities to work for the School and employer-led workshops and events.

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.

Leeds for Life is our unique approach to helping you make the most of University by supporting your academic and personal development. Find out more at the Leeds for Life website.

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. Find out more about Careers support.

Study abroad and work placements

Study abroad

On this course you have the opportunity to apply to spend time abroad, usually as an extra academic year. We have over 300 University partners worldwide and popular destinations for our students include Europe, the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Hong Kong, South Africa and Latin America. 

Find out more at the Study Abroad website.

Work placements

Practical work experience can help you decide on your career and improve your employability. On this course you have the option to apply to take a placement year module with organisations across the public, private and voluntary sectors in the UK, or overseas.

Find out more about work experience on the Careers website.