SOAS University of London

Academic Summer School at SOAS

The Middle East in Global Politics

  • Overview
  • Structure
  • Teaching and Learning
  • How to Apply


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Session 2: 2 July -  20 July 2018

Programme Description 

This course aims to place the modern Middle East in its international context, exploring histories of empire and decolonisation, hegemony and resistance, conflict and cooperation, as well as identity and foreign policy. It is informed by a rigorous engagement with theories of international relations. The course begins with an exploration of the different historical phases of interaction between Middle East states and the international system. These are divided into the colonial, Cold War and post-Cold War periods.

Lectures will cover the early settler colonies, Britain’s informal empire in the Gulf, and the Anglo-French mandates, as well as the rise of Turkey and Israel, and the challenge represented by the pan-Arabist revolutionary states, followed by discussion of the Middle East’s place in the post-Cold War unipolar era. Each of these phases is discussed in tandem with relevant influential paradigms and concepts of international relations theory used to study the Middle East in its international context. Attention is paid to the question of the features of a regional sub-system, as well as the subfield of foreign policy analysis in international relations. The second section of the course tackles key themes in international relations, such as transnationalism, migration, oil, globalisation and identity. The final section of the course considers conflict and cooperation. This will involve analysis of the Arab-Israeli conflict, Arabism and Islamism, and the foreign policy making and key actors of regional powers.

Tuition Fees

A tuition fee of £1600 will be charged per 3-week programme. This figure does not include accommodation fees.

Application fee

A one-off, non-refundable application fee of £40 will be charged to cover administration costs. Please visit the SOAS online store to make your application fee payment.


20% discount for our partner institutions
50% discount for current SOAS students


Accommodation is available to Summer School students at the SOAS halls of residence, Dinwiddy House. For more details of how to book a room please visit the Dinwiddy House accommodation page.


Students are usually able to obtain credits from their home institution and typically our courses receive 3 credits in the US system and 7.5 ECTS in the European system. If you intend to claim credits from your home institution, please check the requirements with them before you enrol. We will be happy to assist you in any way we can, however please be aware that the decision to award credits rests with your home institution.

Assessment will be optional and will vary for each course. Participants will be provided with a certificate of attendance and transcripts will be available on request.

Social Programme

You will also be able to enjoy our social programme, starting with a welcome party and an optional river cruise on the Thames for a small additional charge. Details about how to book will be communicated to you once you are registered. You will also receive discount codes for day trips and overnight tours with our partner International Friends.


For more information, please fill out our enquiries form


Contact hours: 46 hours (lectures, tutorials, activities). The course will be delivered Monday - Friday over the 3 weeks.

Core hours: Monday - Thursday 10am-3pm, and 2 hours on one specified Friday over the 3 weeks. In addition to regular lectures and tutorials, each course is composed of a range of activities relating to their academic content (e.g. museum visit, company visit etc). 

Optional activities: The Summer School office will arrange various social activites throughout the 3 weeks. On spcified Fridays there will be a range of optional activities for students to get involved with, providing a taste of SOAS life on campus and nearby places of interest.

Week 1: Key approaches and historical phases

  • Introduction: What is the Middle East?
  • Empire and the Middle East State System
  • Postcolonial Approaches
  • Decolonisation and The Cold War
  • Structuralist Approaches

Week 2: Key themes and approaches

  • Israel/Palestine in Historical Context
  • Israel/Palestine after the Oslo Accords
  • States, Markets, Oil
  • Migration, Diaspora and Refugees

Week 3:  Foreign policies and interstate relations

  • Egypt in Global Politics
  • Iran in Global Politics
  • Turkey in Global Politics
  • Arabism and Islamism
  • From 'War on Terror' to War on Iraq
  • Rethinking Security: Critical Approaches
  • Origins of the Arab Uprisings
  • Fortunes of the Arab Uprisings
  • Student Debate: Rethinking 'IS'

Assessment: is optional and will be in the form of a 2000-2500 word essay to be handed in 2 weeks after the end of the course.



Teaching and Learning

Teaching & Learning

On successful completion of the course, a student should be able to demonstrate the ability to:

  • to demonstrate familiarity with the relevant theories of international relations and foreign policy analysis necessary to investigate themes in Middle East regional and international politics;
  • to demonstrate a strong grasp of the history of the region since its emergence as a modern state system at the turn of the last century;
  • to familiarise students with the relevant theoretical debates and empirical cases pertaining to issues of Middle East regional and international politics such as imperialism, cooperation and conflict, regionalism, hegemony and dependence;
  • to inspire students to continue with further study or interest in the Middle East


How to Apply

Applications Now Open! Click to apply

Entry Requirements

In order to join our Summer School, you will need to meet the following entry requirements:

  • A university student or a graduate at the time of attending the summer school, and 18+ years of age.
    Professional experience can be acknowledged as equivalent to a university qualification.
  • A minimum English language requirement if English is not your first language:
    • IELTS, 6.5 overall or higher, with at least 6 in all sub scores.
    • TOEFL Paper based test we require a minimum of 583 with minimum 53 in all skills and for TOEFL Internet Based Test we require a minimum of 93 with minimum 20 in all skills. 
    • Pearson Test of English a score of 59-64
    • Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE) Grade B
    • If you have studied in an English speaking institution, or have courses taught at your university in English (excluding English language courses) you may meet our requirements without having to supply a certificate. Evidence of this will either need to be included on a transcript or letter from your university.
    • Applicants with an alternative qualification should contact us for advice.
    • Applicants whose English language level do not meet out requirements may be interested in our subject based courses with English language support.

Enrolment of Summer School applicants who don’t meet the entry requirements is at the discretion of SOAS – please get in touch to speak to us in detail about your application

Application Procedure

Once you have paid the £40 application fee and submitted the online application form, you will be informed as to whether you have a place on the summer school within 5 working days. Please do not pay your tuition fee prior to having received your offer letter.

Application Deadline

15 June 2018

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