Arabic, Islamic, Middle Eastern and North African Studies BA

Year of entry

2024 course information

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Start date
September 2023
Delivery type
On campus
4 years full time
Study abroad
Typical A-level offer
Typical Access to Leeds offer
BBC at A Level and pass Access to Leeds
Full entry requirements

Course overview

Students working in Language Zone

On this course, you’ll learn to speak Arabic, one of the world’s major languages, whilst also building your understanding of the cultural, historical, political and religious contexts that have shaped the Middle East, North Africa and the wider Muslim world.

You’ll gain a firm grounding in spoken and written Arabic which is then strengthened further by spending a year in an Arabic-speaking country. You’ll study theology, history, philosophy, sociology and political science; you’ll also learn about postcolonial theory, decoloniality and critical Muslim studies (which has been pioneered at the University of Leeds).

In addition to Arabic, you’ll also have the option to study Turkish and Persian. Language variety is embedded into the course, and you’ll also have an opportunity to develop skills in dialects.

To broaden and deepen your knowledge, you’ll be able to access a wide range of co-curricular activities, such as Qur’anic Arabic and the ‘Amimiyyah seminars (readings of classical Islamic madrasah texts), offered by the School's Iqbal Centre for Critical Muslim Studies.

You’ll also spend your second year in an Arabic-speaking country.

  • This course combines languages, humanities (religious studies, history, literature, performance), area studies and social science.

  • Learn from tutors who are recognised nationally and internationally as leaders in Arabic language studies. AIMES (Arabic, Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies) at Leeds is also renowned for leading the design and development of Arabic language textbooks.

  • Enhance your ability to be self-reflective and critical, and to become a considered and informed thinker.

  • Explore important themes such as cultural prejudice, politics, sexuality, gender and race.

  • Learn from leading experts in critical areas such as international relations; Arabic linguistics; Islamic law and legal theory; Muslim reformist thought; Islamophobia; and Muslim intellectual history.

Specialist facilities

The School archive at Leeds holds Arabic manuscripts and as many as 10,000 archaeological artefacts ranging from Pharaonic to early Palestinian eras. It’s a fantastic research resource – as is the University Library, which has extensive collections relating to Middle Eastern, North African and Islamic studies, along with free classes and workshops to learn how to use them.

With a variety of specialist facilities and four libraries on campus, you’ll find plenty of space for study, group work and research.

The Brotherton Library is home to a wide variety of manuscripts, archive and early printed material in its Special Collections – valuable assets for your independent research.

The Language Centre includes digital language labs, audio/video practice booths and Computer Assisted Language Learning (CALL). The Language Zone offers excellent learning material in more than 50 languages, including online resources and advice. The Language Exchange and the Language Groups programme provide opportunities to practise with other learners and native speakers; you can also volunteer to help other learners and enhance your CV at the same time.

Brotherton Library Reading Room

Take a look around our libraries:

Brotherton Library
Laidlaw Library
Edward Boyle Library

Course details

Year 1: Your first year will introduce you to the history, politics, cultures and religions of the Middle East and North Africa, while we support you through language classes to develop your Arabic skills.

Year 2: You’ll broaden your understanding and develop your language skills further by spending your second year in an Arabic-speaking country, combining Arabic lessons with opportunities to explore the fascinating culture.

Year 3: You’ll return to Leeds to further refine your Arabic skills. You’ll also choose from a variety of optional modules so you can build a degree that suits you, whether you’re interested in Arab media, leadership in Iran, the relationships between Muslim countries or the role that Islam plays in contemporary society.

Year 4: You’ll use the research skills you have developed in your final year project - an independent piece of research on a topic of your own choosing which can also be in the form of a digital documentary, submitted as a podcast. You’ll also have the option to develop your Arabic skills further by choosing a final year translation project, where you can explore issues in translation studies in relation to an extended translation on a topic of your own choosing.

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 Arabic, Islamic, Middle Eastern and North African Studies BA in the course catalogue

Year 1 compulsory modules

Module Name Credits
Beginning Arabic 1 20
Beginning Arabic 2 20
Studying the Middle East: Culture, History, Politics and Religion 20
Muslim Beliefs: From Theology to Sunni-Shi’a Sectarianism 20

Year 1 optional modules (selection of typical options shown below)

Module Name Credits
Persian for Beginners 20
Turkish for Beginners 20
Introduction to Arab and Islamic Civilisation 20
Early and Medieval Islamic History 20
Politics, Culture and Society 20

Year 2 compulsory modules

Module Name Credits
Year Abroad (Study) 120

Year 3 compulsory modules

Module Name Credits
Advanced Arabic Grammar and Translation 20
The Shari'a: Theory, Practice, Transformations 20
Essential Skills in Practical Arabic 20
Cultures of the Arab Middle East and North Africa 20

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

Module Name Credits
Palestine and the Arab-Israeli Conflict 20
Arab Media, Politics and Society 20
Global Jihad: From the Taliban to ISIS 20
Modern Middle Eastern History 20
The Qur'an: History, Text and Intepretation 20
The Politics of Race, Gender, and Sexuality in the Middle East 20

Year 4 compulsory modules

Module Name Credits
Advanced Skills in Arabic Language 20
Islam and Modernity 20
Middle Eastern Politics: Regimes, Societies and Conflict 20
Final Year Project: Dissertation, Translation or Podcast 40

Year 4 optional modules (selection of typical options shown below)

Module Name Credits
Arabic Stylistics 20
The Hadith: History, Criticism and Canonisation 20
Performing Islam: Piety and Environment in Dialogue 20
Advanced Media Arabic: Translation Skills in Text Typology 20

Learning and teaching

You’ll benefit from a variety of teaching and learning styles. Your lecturers are all experts in their fields, so you’ll be able to benefit from their knowledge in lectures, workshops, small-group seminars and tutorials.

Independent learning is an important element of your studies, allowing you to build your research skills and think critically about the range of different sources you can access. We offer plenty of support on everything from choosing your modules to making the most of our excellent library resources. You’ll have regular opportunities to provide feedback on teaching, course content and what is working well and what can be improved. You’ll be introduced to a range of texts and participate in inclusive safe spaces for critically engaged discussions on sensitive topics (such as gender, race, sexuality, religion, and politics).

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 ensure inclusive assessment by making sure all our students are assessed in a range of ways. Listening, speaking, writing and reading are all tested, and our range of assessments includes essays, exams, literature reviews, presentations, podcasts and translation projects. You’ll regularly receive detailed feedback on your coursework, helping you to keep track of your progress.

You’ll also be given opportunities to demonstrate what you have learned and communicate reasoned and well-supported arguments. It is important to note that we work hard to ensure textbooks are inclusive, that reading lists are diverse and that the teaching of both Islamic, Middle Eastern and North African Studies is done in a culturally sensitive way that moves beyond lazy stereotypes and essentialisms. Crucial to our approach is the inclusion of texts by female authors and authors of colour.

Entry requirements

A-level: ABB

Other course specific tests:

Where an applicant is taking the 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 are taking A Levels, this would be BBB at A Level and grade A in the EPQ.

We welcome applications from mature students with Access qualifications, and from students with a wide range of qualifications.

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 also be required.



Cambridge Pre-U

M1, M1, M2

International Baccalaureate

34 points overall including 16 at Higher Level.

Irish Leaving Certificate (higher Level)

H2, H2, H2, H3, H3, H3

Scottish Highers / Advanced Highers

BB in Advanced Highers and AABBB in Highers, or B in Advanced Highers and AAABB in Highers, or AABBBB 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: 75%

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: BBC at A Level 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 7.0 overall, with no less than 6.5 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.

Part-time fees
Fees for part-time courses 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.

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

Contact us

School of Languages, Cultures and Societies Undergraduate Admissions


Career opportunities

Your study of languages and cultures is valuable preparation for employment in a multicultural, multinational environment. Leeds is the 5th most targeted university in the UK by graduate recruiters (The Graduate Market in 2022) and our graduates have pursued careers across the globe and in a variety of sectors including:

  • Business and finance

  • Islamic banking and finance

  • Government departments and the Civil Service

  • Not-for-profit

  • Education

  • Consultancy

  • Global

Increasingly, graduates with specialist knowledge of Islam, Muslim communities, Islamic law, theology and contemporary trends in Islamic thought are being sought by policy institutes and think-tanks, international development organisations and the Ministry of Defence.

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 also offer help and advice to help you plan your career and make well-informed decisions along the way, even after you graduate. Find out more at the Careers website.

Study abroad and work placements

You’ll spend your second year in an Arabic-speaking country where you’ll be introduced to Arabic and Islamic culture whilst strengthening your language skills — both in terms of greater literacy and in the formal and colloquial Arabic. It’s a fantastic opportunity to immerse yourself in another culture, and, when you’re not in your intensive language classes there will be plenty of time to travel and explore. For many of our students, it’s the highlight of their course.

You'll study in Morocco or Jordan (subject to availability of places in both countries) at an institution that has been selected for its high-quality methods of teaching and success in running TAFL (Teaching Arabic as a Foreign Language) courses. The curriculum you will study during your year abroad is exclusively for our students.

You'll have access to support and advice before, during and after your study abroad year and you’ll be able to network with returning students for first-hand advice about living overseas. You'll also have meetings with the residence abroad tutor and access to online information before you relocate.

We’ll be in touch with you during your year abroad and you’ll have support at your host institution too. On your return, we’ll ask you to share your experiences and help you to make the most of your new and improved skills and experience.