The Middle East has been of vital geostrategic importance throughout its history and never more so than at the present time. Its location at the juncture of Africa, Asia and Europe has made it into a singularly rich meeting point of cultures, languages and religions but also into a theatre of epic conflicts.
There is no better way to get to know this complex and pivotal part of the world than by studying its languages. They are the key to communicate with its people, to unlock its culture and history and to engage with it for the purpose of a career. SOAS degrees in Arabic, Modern Hebrew, Persian and Turkish offer an unrivalled opportunity to do just this.
Intensive, high quality language classes can be combined with a wide range of courses on the history, religion, art, economics and politics of the region. The undergraduate programmes include a mandatory year abroad spent at first-rate centres of learning in the Arab World, Turkey, Israel or Iran. The time spent abroad gives students a precious opportunity to interact directly with the society, culture and language they are studying.
The Near and Middle East Department also prides itself in having internationally acclaimed expertise in the study of ancient Near Eastern languages, including Akkadian, Sumerian and Hittite. Courses on these are offered as part of degree programmes taught in collaboration with the School of Archaeology of University College.
The combination of high class language instruction, training in a range of disciplines and first hand experience of the region provides SOAS graduates with excellent qualifications to apply for any of the increasing number of jobs in which Middle Eastern expertise is of relevance. Former students have gone on to take positions in fields such as foreign affairs, banking and finance, journalism, humanitarian aid, as well as in teaching and research.