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Guide to studying Middle Eastern & African Studies

Middle Eastern & African Studies is ideal if you're keen to gain a broad knowledge of these regions, and at least one foreign language.

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  1. What's Middle Eastern & African Studies?

  2. Why study Middle Eastern & African Studies?

  3. What jobs can you get as a Middle Eastern & African Studies graduate?

  4. What do graduates do and earn?
  5. What qualifications do you need?

  6. What degrees can you study?

  7. How will you be assessed?

  8. What are the postgraduate opportunities?

What's 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.

Similar courses for Middle Eastern & African Studies include: 

  • African Studies
  • Modern Middle Eastern Studies

Why study Middle Eastern & African Studies?

The subject area accommodates a wide variety of topics that engage with the region's diversity, and is a good pathway into numerous MA and postgraduate courses.

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. There will be opportunities for study placements abroad to countries such as Morocco or Turkey. You have the freedom to immerse yourself in the wondrous culture and experience it first-hand.

They may be detailed and difficult, but if you know a language such as Arabic or Persian it's a huge achievement. It can also be incredibly attractive to an employer in certain professional areas.

From politics to music, art to religion, there are many topics you can enjoy being educated on. You're unlikely to have boring and repetitive lectures and seminars.

Skills that are developed during a Middle Eastern & African Studies degree can assist greatly in many career routes. These skills include gathering information, interpretation and presentation. Potential areas of employment can include translation, teaching, tourism or finance.

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What jobs can you get?

Middle Eastern & African Studies degrees teach transferable skills, such as presentation, research and communication, as well as a rounded cultural knowledge and 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 countries in these areas.

What do graduates do and earn?

In the infographic below, the first table shows what graduates of Middle Eastern & African Studies have gone on to do in the months after their graduation.

The second table shows the average salaries of undergraduate Middle Eastern & African Studies students entering employment. The three skill levels – high, medium and low – reflect the UK's Standard Occupational Classification's major groups 1–3, 4–6 and 7–9 respectively.

Source: HESA Graduate Outcomes Survey 2017/18

What qualifications do you need? 

Grade requirements vary depending on the university. You should confirm the entry requirements for the particular university and course you're interested in.

What degrees can you study?

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

How will you be assessed?

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

What are the postgraduate opportunities?

Examples of taught MAs and research degrees at postgraduate level 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.

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