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Middle Eastern Studies

The Middle East dominates our news headlines today, and its languages and cultures have permeated our history for centuries. Middle Eastern Studies at Cambridge offers students the opportunity to study some of the most complex and interesting political issues of our times, whilst also giving them access to some of the most beautiful poetry in history, conveyed through some of the richest language systems in the world.

The BA in Middle Eastern Studies (MES) is distinctive for the range of language and subject combinations you can choose. Our aim is to provide you with extensive language abilities in one or more language spoken in the Middle East, to teach you the methods and styles of scholarly disciplines, and to further your understanding of the region through its history, politics, cultures, philosophies, and literatures. The skills you will obtain whilst studying for the BA open up a wide range of career options and the knowledge and experiences you acquire open up your mind.

Many students choose to combine MES with learning a European language through the Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages (MML). As you learn a Middle Eastern language from scratch, you can continue in a language you’re already familiar with. A combined degree in MES and MML offers access to a wide variety of paper choices, including topics in linguistics, comparative literature, and Audio Visual Media.

The year abroad in your third year is where all that book learning comes to life. Living in a place, speaking the language, and conducting research in the language provides students the chance to obtain a deeper level of knowledge and appreciation for the cultures and histories of the region. The year abroad requires you to put what you’ve learned to use in a totally new environment. During at least eight months of your third year you will study, maybe work or volunteer, make new friends, and consolidate your language skills in the Middle East. All year abroad plans need approval by the Faculty Board. Please note students for 2017 entry exact details of the year abroad are still being finalised.

The Department of Middle Eastern Studies holds Undergraduate Open Days in mid-March and early July each year. The Open Day provides an excellent opportunity for you and your parents to meet academic staff from the Department and to ask any questions that you might have about our courses.

The Department will be holding a Middle Eastern Studies Taster Day on Monday 12 February 2018 for Year 12 pupils (or equivalent). This is an ideal opportunity to learn more about the languages we offer and find out whether this is the area of study for you.

Further information about postgraduate courses at the Department may be found in our Graduate Studies section.