SOAS University of London

Online Academic Summer School

The Middle East in Global Politics (Online) (2020 entry)

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  • Teaching and Learning
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Programme Description 

What do we mean by the Middle East – east of where, and why? How should we go about studying the political aspirations and agency of almost half a billion people? To what extent are their fates tied to great power politics, and how can we account for phenomena of cooperation and solidarity in their regional affairs? Can we draw a clear line between the local and the global in Middle East politics?

This module will help students deliberate all these questions, by placing the modern Middle East in its global context without losing sight of local and regional dynamics, cultures, and political traditions. It is informed by critical engagement with international relations scholarship.

For more information, please see the course handbook:  The Middle East in Global Politics online handbook (pdf; 117kb)  

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of the module, students should be able to:

  • Demonstrate familiarity and critical engagement with themes in international relations and foreign policy analysis relevant to Middle East regional and international politics
  • Demonstrate a good grasp of the history of the region since the colonial period and its emergence as a modern state system at the turn of the last century
  • Demonstrate familiarity with the relevant theoretical debates and empirical cases pertaining to issues of Middle East regional and international politics;
  • Marshal empirical evidence in argument-driven oral and written contributions

We hope students will be inspired to continue with further study or interest in the Middle East on completion of the course.


This course is worth 15 credits in the UK system. 15 credits is equivalent to 4 credits in the US system and 7.5 ECTS in the European system. If you intend to transfer credit to your home institution, please check the requirements with them before you apply. We will be happy to assist you in any way we can, however please be aware that the decision to transfer credit rests with your home institution.

Current SOAS students selecting this course as an open option module will not be charged the tuition-fee. For further information and assistance, please contact

The course itself and the lecturers have been amazing. The syllabus has widened my horizons and I made good friends. It has also helped me decide which part of history I should follow in my future studies (possibly at SOAS!)" - Theo (The Middle East in Global Politics, 2019)


For more information, please fill out our enquiries form

Start of programme: 29 June - 10 July 2020

Mode of Attendance: Full-time

Entry requirements

Featured events

2 weeks

Tuition Fees 2021




Programme schedule:

  1. Introduction: What is the Middle East?
  2. European Empire and Resistance
  3. Decolonisation and the Cold War
  4. American Empire and Resistance
  5. The Gulf in Global Politics
  6. The Question of Palestine
  7. Turkey and Iran in Global Politics
  8. Egypt in the Arab Uprisings

Reading Materials

There are no prerequisites for this course but students are asked to asked to familiarise themselves with these two websites: Middle East Report Online and Jadaliyya e-zine. They provide up to date and extremely useful analyses of current affairs in the region. The following is a sample of useful first texts for students preparing for the course:

  • Chalcraft, J. Popular Politics in the Making of the Modern Middle East, Cambridge University Press, 2017.
  • Cleveland, W. and M. Bunton. A History of the Modern Middle East, 6th edition. Boulder: Westview Press, 2016.
  • Fawcett, L. International Relations of the Middle East, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016.
  • Halliday, F. Middle East in International Relations: Power, Politics, and Ideology, Cambridge University Press, 2005.
  • Hinnebusch, R. The International Politics of the Middle East, Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2014.
  • Said, E. Orientalism, Pantheon Books, 1978.

For learned societies focused on the Middle East, see the Middle East Studies Association homepage at, and the British Society for Middle Eastern Studies homepage at

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

Teaching & Learning

The programme is delivered online through a Virtual Learning Environment (intranet page) that sets out the readings for each week, the guiding questions for discussion and hosts the discussion boards. This page provides a platform to share other material such as videos, internet links, quizzes and feedback on assignments. Students also have access to a vast amount of academic and policy-related material through the SOAS library.

Time Commitment

Courses are taught intensively over two weeks between Monday - Friday.  Students should expect to spend between 4-6 hours per day completing course related activities including video lectures, live tutorials, readings, forum discussion and assignments.  Students studying for credit will submit a 2000-2500 word written assignment one week after the course finishes.


Each course is assessed by two online assessments (‘e-tivities’*) comprising of 30%, the remaining 70% is formed of a 2,500 word essay.  The e-tivities provide formative and summative feedback to students as a means of monitoring their progress and encouraging areas in which they can improve. E-tivities will vary in format but will include article reviews, quizzes, blog posts, essay plans and more. On successful completion of the assessments, students will receive a transcript confirming the credit awarded. Students that do not require credit are strongly encouraged to take part in the e-tivities, but are not required to complete the assessments.

* An 'e-tivity' is a framework for online, active and interactive learning following a format that states clearly to the students its 'Purpose'; the 'Task' at hand; the contribution or 'Response' type; and the 'Outcome' (Salmon, G. (2002) E-tivities: The Key to Active Online Learning, New York and London: Routledge Falmer.)


Students will require regular access to a computer with a good internet connection, and the following applications installed:

  • A word processor that accepts Microsoft Word formats (.doc and .docx)
  • A PDF reader
Navigating Time Zones

Courses have been designed with varying time zones in mind.  All lectures will be recorded for access at any time and the discussion forum is open to posts from students at all times.  The limited 'live' sessions will be scheduled between 13:00 - 15:00 BST and will be recorded for any students unable to attend.


Students that successfully complete all course assessments will be awarded 15 SOAS credits.  This is normally equivalent to 7.5 ECTS or 4 US credits.  If you intend to transfer credit to your home institution, please check the requirements with them before you apply.


Fees and funding

Tuition 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.


Save £200 when if apply by 30th April 

10% discount if you apply for two courses over 4 weeks

20% discount for SOAS Alumni (including Academic Summer School alumni)

20% discount for our partner institutions

Other discounts are available for groups. Please contact us for more information.

Academic Summer School Ambassador Scholarship 2021

The Ambassador Scholarship programme 2021 offers 3 full tuition fee waiver scholarships for highly morivated and academically driven students. Take a look at our Ambassador Scholarship page for more information on how to apply.

Application Deadline: 2021-04-30 00:00

For further details and information on external scholarships visit the Scholarships section


How to Apply

Apply now to secure your place.

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 course within 5 working days. Please do not pay your tuition fee prior to having received your offer letter.

Application Deadline

We are accepting applications on a rolling basis. Apply now to secure your place.

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