SOAS University of London

Department of the Languages and Cultures of the Near and Middle East

BA Middle Eastern Studies (4 years) (2019 entry)

Select year of entry: 2019

  • Structure
  • Teaching and Learning
  • Employment


The BA Middle Eastern Studies with year abroad is a four-year programme that offers students the opportunity to study the history and culture of the Middle East alongside with acquiring competence in one or more Middle Eastern languages. This degree is ideal for students who desire a broad knowledge of the region with a basic grounding in two or more of its languages. The programme accommodates a wide variety of topics through which to engage with the region's diversity and provides a firm foundation for further language study, as well as a year abroad in the third year of the programme.

Programme Code: T600

Venue: Russell Square: College Buildings

Start of programme: September

Mode of Attendance: Full-time

Entry requirements

  • Interview Policy: Candidates with "non-standard" qualifications may be invited for interview
A Levels:
A Level language preferred
35 (6/6/5)

View alternative entry requirements


Access to HE: Minimum of 30 Level 3 Credits at Distinction

Scottish Highers: AAABB

Scottish Advanced Highers: AAB

Irish LC: 340 points from 5 Higher level subjects at grade C1 or above

Advanced Placement: 4 4 5 (Two semesters - UCAS Group A) plus US HSGD with GPA 3.0

Euro Bacc: 80%

French Bacc: 14/20

German Abitur: 2.0

Italy DES: 80/100

Austria Mat: 2.0

Polish Mat: Overall 75% including 3 extended level subjects

Featured events

Four years


Learn a language as part of this programme

Degree programmes at SOAS - including this one - can include language courses in more than forty African and Asian languages. It is SOAS students’ command of an African or Asian language which sets SOAS apart from other universities.

In the first year of the programme, students take a module in a modern Middle Eastern language (Arabic, Turkish, Persian or Hebrew), a module in  Arabic or Israeli culture, and the remaining modules in Middle Eastern literature and history.

In the second year, students are encouraged to choose a further language module and take an introductory module in Islam; two modules are chosen from the List of Optional Modules, which include further language modules and modules in art, history, religion, music, politics, economics and law.

In the final year, modules in the Cinematic culture of the Middle East and North Africa is taken, a third language module can be taken and an extended essay can be written on an agreed topic. An Independent study project is also available. The language and extended essay options can, however, be replaced with optional modules. There is a further open option to complete the third year.

Year 1
Core Module

This module must be passed in order to proceed to the following year of study.

Module Code Credits Term
Literatures of the Islamic Near and Middle East 155900991 15 Term 2
Compulsory Module

Choose ONE of the following module

Module Code Credits Term
Introduction to Arabic Culture 155901205 15 Term 1
Introduction To Israeli Culture 155900947- 15
Language Open Options

Choose from the List of Language Modules below  to the value of 30 credits

Guided Option

Choose a module from the List of Optional Modules below to the value of 30 credits

Year 2
Core Module

This module must be passed in order to proceed to the following year of study.

Module Code Credits Term
Contemporary Middle East Fiction A: Identity and Belonging 155906727 15 Term 1
Compulsory Module


Choose from the List of Language Modules below to the value of 30 credits


Choose from List of Optional Modules below to the value of 30 credits


Choose Either

Guided Option

Choose from List of Optional Modules below to the value of 30 credits


Open Option

Choose related Language or Non-Language open option modules to the value of 30 credits

Year 3 (Year Abroad)

Students will spend their third academic year abroad in an area specific to their chosen language of study - please contact the department for more information.

Year 4
Compulsory Module
Module Code Credits Term
Cinemas of the Middle East and North Africa 1 155905000 15 Term 1
Cinemas of the Middle East and North Africa 2 155905001 15 Term 2
Guided Options

Choose from the List of Language Modules below to the value of 30 credits

Compulsory Module

Choose from List of Optional Modules below to the value of 30 credits


Open Option

Choose related Language or Non-Language open option modules to the value of 30 credits

Language Open Option Modules
Non-Language Open Option Modules

List of Language Modules
Module Code Credits Term
Hebrew 1 A 155906052 15 Term 1
Hebrew 1 B 155906053 15 Term 2
Hebrew 3 155906702 30 Full Year
Hebrew 4 155900714 30 Full Year
Persian 1 A 155906048 15 Term 1
Persian 1 B 155906049 15 Term 2
Persian 3 155900802 30 Full Year
Persian Language 4 155906703 30 Full Year
Turkish 1 A 155906046 15 Term 1
Turkish 1 B 155906047 15 Term 2
Turkish 3 155900548 30 Full Year
Practical Translation Turkish to English 155900913 15 credits
List of Optional Modules

Before selecting a module, you must first check that it is at the correct level. You must also ensure that any pre-requisites are met.

Module Code Credits Term
H130 Introduction to the Early History of the Middle East 154800230 15 Term 2
R150 Introduction to Judaism 158000148 15 credits (0.5 unit)
Islam: Religion and Rationality 158000189 15 Term 2
Persian Poetry in Translation 155901277- 30
Middle Persian 158000183 30 Full Year
Ottoman Turkish Language A 155900549 15 credits
Themes in the Art and Archaeology of the Near and Middle East 154900101 15 Term 2
Islamic Law 155200037 30 Full Year
Shi'a Islam: Religious Authority and Community Identity 158000147 30 credits
H248 Nationalism and Revolution in the Modern Middle East, 1914-1979 154800227 15 Term 2
Developments in Muslim Religious Thought 158000188 15 credits (0.5 unit)
Messianic Movements in Muslim History 158000149 15 credits (0.5 unit)
R490 Zoroastrianism in the Ancient and Modern Worlds 158000029 30 Full Year
Government and politics of the Middle East 153400060 30 Full Year
Syriac for Beginners 158000034 1 unit (30 credits)
Classical Ottoman Texts 155900744 15 Term 2
Twentieth Century Turkish Literature 155901405 30 Full Year
Additional Optional Courses Only Available in Year 3
Module Code Credits Term
Independent Study Project in Arabic Studies 155900733 30 Full Year

Programme Specification

Important notice

The information on the programme page reflects the intended programme structure against the given academic session. If you are a current student you can find structure information on the previous year link at the top of the page or through your Department. Please read the important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules.

Teaching and Learning

Year abroad

This programme includes a year abroad in year 3 - see the structure below for more details, or contact the department for more information.

Teaching & Learning

Contact Hours

All full-time undergraduate programmes consist of 120 credits per year, taught in modules of 30 credits (taught over 20 weeks) or 15 credits (taught over 10 weeks). The programme structure shows which modules are compulsory and which optional.

As a rough guide, 1 credit equals approximately 10 hours of work. Most of this will be independent study (see Approaches to teaching and learning at SOAS). It will also include class time, which may include lectures, seminars and other classes. Some subjects, such as learning a language, have more class time than others.

In the School of Languages, Cultures and Linguistics, undergraduate modules take various forms. Modules may be taught through 1 or 2 hours of lectures a week, and some may have an additional 1-2 hours of weekly seminars. Languages classes may be 4-5 hours per week in the first and second year, typically less at higher levels.

More information is on the page for each module.


As a student specialising in the Middle East, you will gain competency in language skills and intercultural awareness and understanding. Familiarity with the region will have been developed through a combination of the study of language, literature and culture (which can include literature, film, music, art and religion) of various parts of the Middle East.

Graduates leave SOAS not only with linguistic and cultural expertise, but also with a portfolio of widely transferable skills which employers seek in many professional and management careers in both business and the public sector. These include written and oral communication skills, attention to detail, analytical and problem-solving skills, and the ability to research, amass and order information from a variety of sources.

Students graduating with this degree have opportunities to work in education, the Middle Eastern media, the BBC, in the press, the Civil Service and non-governmental organisations, and wherever a knowledge of the Middle East is a key skill.

For more information about Graduate Destinations from this department, please visit the Careers Service website.

A Student's Perspective

My training as a specialist in the Middle East and Subcontinent would be rather incomplete without these languages or a stay at SOAS!

Padraig Belton

Find out more