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Arabic Studies (Taught)

MPhil in Asian and Middle Eastern Studies (Arabic Studies)

The Arabic Studies MPhil pathway is a one year course primarily for students who intend to go on to do a PhD in Arabic.  It is designed for highly-motivated future researchers who have a substantial undergraduate background in Arabic Studies or related fields but need more exposure to topic-specific or discipline-based analysis and more exposure to primary source language(s) and research skills. In the academic year 2015-16 the Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies will be offering an option in Classical Arabic Studies.

The one year course MPhil in Asian and Middle Eastern Studies (Arabic Studies) will have the following structure:

  • (i) three modules each assessed by a written examination or a 5,000 word essay or by an Alternative Exercise.

    The cumulative score of these three papers will be worth 50% of the final mark.

  • (ii) a 15,000 word dissertation. The mark for the dissertation constitutes 50% of the overall mark for this course.

The following papers will be available for the MPhil pathway in Classical Arabic Studies in 2015 - 2016:

You need to choose three of the following papers:

  • Classical Arabic Literary Creativity
  • Science and Religion in Medieval Islam
  • Qur’an and Hadith
  • Islamic Law
  • The Arabic Grammatical Tradition
  • Modes of Legitimation in the pre-modern Islamic world
  • Alternative Exercise [to be arranged with specific instructors]

An individual student or a group of students sharing similar interests can arrange an 'Alternative Exercise'. Possible topics include:

  • Al-Jahiz and the Ninth Century
  • The Qira’at Tradition
  • The Arabic Geographical Tradition
  • Al-Ash’ari’s K. Maqalat al-Islamiyyin


The taught one-year MPhil in Arabic Studies has the following structure:

  • (i) three modules which will each be assessed by written essays or written examinations. The cumulative score of these three papers will be worth 50 percent of the final mark.
  • (ii) a 15,000 word dissertation which will constitute the other 50 percent for this course.


The dissertation provides an opportunity to learn the process of carrying out research and will help train students to be a future researcher (in academia or elsewhere). Applicants should consider carefully the formulation of a potential MPhil dissertation topic before applying. They should be in touch with members of staff who would act as supervisors before submitting the final version of their dissertation proposal.


Applicants for the PhD will be expected to have scored at least 67% or above (or the equivalent from an overseas University) in their Master's degree which should be related to the PhD programme they wish to pursue. All applicants should submit with their GRADSAF (graduate application) a workable and interesting research proposal and demonstrate that they have the required academic knowledge and skills to carry out their project.

Admission is at the discretion of the Degree Committee, which judges each graduate applicant on his or her own merits and in accordance with its own set rules and regulations.


For further information about this course and how to apply, please refer to the following wepage(s) on the Graduate Admissions website: