Two years part-time or one year full-time
Two evenings a week part-time or four evenings a week full-time, October to June
This Master's degree in politics will deepen your knowledge and understanding of the history and politics of the Middle East and Islam, while honing your ability to make well-informed, critical analyses of the region in the context of global politics.
The programme has its theoretical foundations in international relations and political science, using these as tools to explore and analyse the region's domestic and international politics and current concerns, including sectarianism and persistent authoritarianism. Particular attention is given to the intersection between Islam, conflict and development.
Recognising that Islam is at the centre of urgent discussions and disputes today, the programme looks into key issues including Muslim identity, religious extremism and violence, and the impact of American foreign policy in the region, including the invasion of Iraq in 2003 and the ongoing conflict within Syria. The programme also uses interdisciplinary scholarship to help you make comprehensive, balanced analyses of contemporary Islam and the Middle East in relation to the UK and the world.
The core module explores the domestic political structures and international relations of countries in the Middle East. You can then choose to either study how ideas of ethnicity and nationalism generate identities as well as tension and conflict, or consider how theories and institutions of global governance have arisen in response to the impact of globalisation. You will be equipped with the conceptual ideas, theoretical approaches and analytical research skills needed to study politics at postgraduate level.
You go on to choose two option modules from a wide variety of topics including international security, American foreign policy, globalisation, political theory and sociology, nationalism and religion, and war and conflict. You will also learn research techniques that will enable you to specialise and undertake the researching and writing of a dissertation on the subject that interests you most.
Our Department of Politics is a lively and distinguished centre of interdisciplinary research, with a strong reputation for the quality of our teaching. Some of the world’s most famous libraries are on our doorstep in Bloomsbury, central London, and you can walk down to Whitehall, where Parliament and the UK’s most influential and important think-tanks and centres of political research and analysis are located.
Our departmental building was once a key location for members of the Bloomsbury Group, so you could be studying in rooms that have hosted distinguished visitors, including T. S. Eliot, George Bernard Shaw and Maynard Keynes.
Why study this course at Birkbeck?
- This Master's degree is a unique course, offering insights into the history and politics of the Middle East and a balanced understanding of issues pertaining to Islam in the modern world.
- The programme allows you to follow your own interests, with a wide choice of option modules, while developing your research skills and undertaking a dissertation in an area that interests you.
- Our location in central London puts us at the heart of the UK’s political life and at the centre of academic London. You can walk down to Parliament and Whitehall, while Bloomsbury contains some of the world’s most famous libraries and centres of research.
- You can take advantage of the rich research collections nearby, including Senate House Library, which is right next door to Birkbeck, the British Library, which is five minutes’ walk away, and the British Library of Political and Economic Science at the London School of Economics, which is walkable from Birkbeck.
- Our Department of Politics was ranked 12th in the UK in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF) results and is a world-renowned centre of original, influential research.
- In the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF), Politics at Birkbeck was ranked 17th in the UK.
- The department organises a lively programme of seminars and conferences and is home to affiliated research centres, such as the Centre for the Study of British Politics and Public Life, which run seminars, conferences and other events where some of the world's best scholars present their latest research.
- Our academic staff are international authorities in their respective fields, publishing and delivering stimulating teaching in a wide range of political topics including civil society and the state, public policy, development, gender, international security and terrorism, and social and political theory, among others.
- Birkbeck Library has a large politics collection, including the major specialist journals, and provides you with access to an extensive range of online materials.
- Find out more about why you should study with us.
- Watch videos of our postgraduate students discussing their experience of studying at Birkbeck.
You take two core modules, choose from a range of option modules and write a dissertation.
Option modules are normally available in:
- Politics of the Middle East and political Islam
- Politics of globalisation and international political economy
- International relations, international security and US foreign policy
- War, conflict, nationalism, politics and religion
- Political theory and political sociology
- Policy analysis, policy-making processes and comparative public policy
- Public management and public sector reform
- Research methods.
Please see timetable below where there are links to current module descriptions.
Sample timetableDepartment of Politics Postgraduate Timetable.pdf — PDF document, 273 KB (279653 bytes)
We welcome a wide range of qualifications, from the UK and abroad, and we will also consider your non-academic achievements.
A good honours degree in humanities or social science, though other qualifications may be considered.
International entry requirements
If English is not your first language or you have not previously studied in English, our usual requirement is the equivalent of an International English Language Testing System (IELTS Academic Test) score of 6.5, with not less than 6.0 in each of the sub-tests.
If you don't meet the minimum IELTS requirement, we offer pre-sessional English courses, foundation programmes and language support services to help you improve your English language skills and get your place at Birkbeck.
Visit the International section of our website to find out more about our English language entry requirements and relevant requirements by country.
Fees and finance
We offer advice on all the options for financing your studies. You can pay your fees interest-free by direct debit and postgraduate loans are available for all Home/EU students.
FeesPart-time home/EU students: £ 3975 pa
Full-time home/EU students: £ 7950 pa
Part-time overseas students: £ 7225 pa
Full-time overseas students: £ 14450 pa
Teaching and assessment
Our innovative, engaging teaching is designed to support students who are juggling evening study with work and other daytime commitments.
A mix of lectures and seminars employing a variety of formats.
Find out more about teaching and attendance.
Core modules are assessed by end-of-year examination, while option modules are assessed by a combination of 5000-word essay and end-of-year examination.
Find out more about how MSc programmes are assessed.
Careers and employability
To help you get ahead in your career, we offer free advice and training and our recruitment consultancy, Birkbeck Talent, can connect you with employers.
Careers and employability
Graduates can pursue careers in international organisations/NGOs, policy research, political forecasting, national and supranational service, and journalism. Possible professions include journalist, Civil Service fast streamer, politician’s assistant, or Diplomatic Services operational officer. This degree can be useful in becoming a social researcher or human resources officer.
Find out more about the destinations of graduates in this subject.
We offer a comprehensive Careers and Employability Service to help you advance your career, while our in-house, professional recruitment consultancy, Birkbeck Talent, works with London’s top employers to help you gain work experience that fits in with your evening studies.
How to apply
Once you've found the course that's right for you, here's what to do next to get your place at Birkbeck.
How to apply
You apply directly to Birkbeck for this course, using the online application.
Birkbeck can give you all of the information and help you need to complete your application form, including our online personal statement tool, which will guide you through every step of writing your personal statement.
Application deadlines and interviews
Applications from January.
UK-based candidates who satisfy entry requirements will be interviewed between March and September.
Overseas candidates satisfying entry requirements must apply by 15 August.
Life at Birkbeck
Birkbeck offers a unique combination of evening study and a matchless central London location, right in the geographic and academic centre of the city, giving you exceptional opportunities.
Most of our students live in private accommodation, but we also offer student accommodation and access to the professional services of the University of London Housing Services.
The Birkbeck experience
Birkbeck is different: our classes are held in the evening, so your days are free - to study, work, volunteer or just do your own thing.
Financial support and postgraduate loans
Birkbeck offers advice on all the options for financing your studies. You can pay loans by interest-free direct debit and postgraduate loans are available for all Home/EU students. Find out about the support we provide.
How to apply
Once you've found the course that's right for you, here's what to do next to get your place at Birkbeck. We can give you the advice and support you need.
Birkbeck is one of the world’s leading research universities. Discover more about our vibrant, intellectually challenging and exciting research culture.
Boost your career
Discover how Birkbeck's unique evening teaching, coupled with our comprehensive careers and employability services, can help you get ahead in a highly competitive job market.
Fees and payment
With government loans for undergraduate and postgraduate study, fantastic financial support packages and flexible payment options, there’s never been a better time to study at Birkbeck.
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