Programme Modern Middle East Studies

Modern Middle East Studies focuses solely on modern times. The programme investigates the rich cultures, literatures and religions of this strategically important region while examining the Islamic Revolution (1979) in Iran, revolts and revolutions in Arab countries, and political developments in Turkey, Central Asia and Afghanistan.

Programme information

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Unified around the dual themes of unity and diversity and continuity and change, the programme offers instruction and research guidance across a spectrum of topics and interests – from the birth of Islam to the mediaeval world of 1001 Nights to the modern-day cultures of the Middle East, North Africa and South East Asia.

The programme consists of two semesters, each having a weight of 30 EC. In the first semester students follow three courses of 10 EC each. In the second semester students take one more 10 EC course and write their thesis (20 EC).

All students take two courses jointly. During both semesters, all students take part in the ‘Bi-weekly Staff Seminar Middle East and Islamic Studies’ in which the students and other invited speakers present their ongoing research. In the first semester, moreover, all students take a course entitled ‘Theories and Methods of Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies’ (10 EC). In this course the emphasis lies on the relevance (or lack thereof) of contemporary theories, concepts and models from the social sciences for the study of the Middle East. Students are familiarised with a variety of methods to obtain and interpret information from different types of sources.

During the first semester, furthermore, students take two courses of 10 EC each from their own specialisation in addition to this common core course. In the second semester, they take one more specialisation course of 10 EC, while they also work on their thesis of 20 EC.

More detailed information on the common core courses as well as the specialisation courses on offer can be found in the Prospectus for Modern Middle East Studies.

Timetables and calendar

Prospectus: programme overview and course description

The prospectus contains overviews and course details for all programmes in the Faculty of Humanities (and other faculties). The information in the prospectus is updated annually, in June. Please consult the Modern Middle Eastern Studies section of the prospectus for more information.

Application, enrollment and examinations

  • To enroll for a specific course or examination, use the Study administration system uSis.
  • This website is intended for students who are already enrolled in the programme. Prospective students looking for application information should consult

Study advice

Every department (or degree programme) has a Co-ordinator of Studies (studiecoördinator). The Co-ordinator of Studies knows all the ins and outs of the programme and can help with any problems. Typical subjects to discuss with the Co-ordinator of Studies are: student progress (and delay) and exam regulations.

Graduation procedures

MA students who are ready to apply for their graduation should follow the graduation procedure. See the graduation website for more information about this procedure, the MA thesis, and how to deregister from Leiden University after graduation.

Teaching and Examination Regulations and Faculty Regulations

All the rights and obligations of students in the Humanities faculty are set out in regulations. The most important of these are indicated below. (The list is not exhaustive; more documentation on regulations may appear here in the future.)

  • Teaching and Examination Regulations state the contents of your programme and the specialisations within the programme.
  • Registration for lectures, tutorials and tests is obligatory: see the uSis registration procedure.
  • The Student Charter informs students about what they can expect from the University and what the University expects from them.
  • Regulations on plagiarism are in place, to counter any instances of malpractice. These regulations provide advice on how to use sources and citations.

Boards, committees, and co-participation

Students within the Faculty of Humanities, are represented in the following boards and committees:

  • the departmental Teaching Committee
  • the departmental or institute administration ór Institute Board
  • the Faculty Council
  • the Faculty Board
Another committee that is relevant to your studies, but in which students are not represented, is the Board of Examiners.

Contact and staff Modern Middle Eastern Studies

Information for alumni Middle Eastern Studies

Last Modified: 01-12-2016