Guide to Studying Middle Eastern & African Studies

What is Middle Eastern & African Studies?

  • Middle Eastern Studies is a name given to the study of the history, culture, politics, economies and geography of the Middle East, encompassing Israel, Lebanon, Palestine, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Turkey and Syria.
  • African studies is the study of the continent's cultures and societies, as opposed to its geology, geography and zoology. The field includes the study of Africa's history, ethnicity, culture, politics and economy.

Why study Middle Eastern & African Studies?

  • This subject area is ideal for students who are keen to gain a broad knowledge of these regions, as well as an understanding of at least one foreign language.
  • The course accommodates a wide variety of topics that engage with the region's diversity, and is a good pathway into numerous future MAs and postgraduate courses.
  • The contact between professors and students is often intimate, thanks to the small numbers of students that take this course. A more intimate exchange with academics is often facilitated.
  • There are plenty of opportunities to study abroad. Many universities have good links with other institutions in these regions, allowing for welcoming and fulfilling exchanges.
  • The Middle East and large parts of Africa are regions that don't get much mainstream coverage here, unless they're being torn apart by war. This course instead teaches the fascinating history, art and religion.

Coursework, assessment and exams

  • Courses are assessed via a variety of ways. Each module at each individual university, on each unique course, will be assessed differently. Mostly it is done via coursework essays, presentations done alone or in a group, or by formal examinations. A dissertation is usually a final year option.

What degree can I get? 

  • BA African Studies and History of Art
  • BA Arabic and Archaeology
  • BA Middle Eastern Studies and Politics
  • BSc International Management with a year abroad in Africa or Middle East

What qualifications do I need?

  • Grade requirements vary depending on the university. It is recommended to confirm the entry requirements for the particular university and course you are interested in.

Use the CUG Course Chooser to search through Middle Eastern & African Studies courses.

What are the postgraduate opportunities?

  • There is an exciting range of taught MAs and research degrees at postgraduate level.
  • Examples include straight MAs in Middle East or African Studies, as well as history-focused courses on the regions, International Management, Law in Middle East and Africa, and in one of the regional languages.

Graduate job prospects



*Professional employment refers to a job or occupation which normally requires a degree.
**Non-professional employment refers to a job or occupation which doesn't normally require a degree.

What are the job opportunities?

  • Middle Eastern and African Studies degrees teach students transferable skills, such as presentation, research and communication, as well as a rounded cultural knowledge and a second language.
  • Particular job areas include recruitment, research, translation and interpretation, secretarial work, teaching and lecturing, and consular assistant.
  • Numerous companies offer graduate schemes in this subject, including the governments and embassies of the countries in these areas.