Asian and Middle Eastern Studies MSt

L0032394 Oriental Calligraphy Credit: Wellcome Library, London. Wellcome Images

The MSt in Asian and Middle Eastern Studies at Oxford aims to provide tailor-made courses for training graduate students at the beginning of their research in different areas of Asian and Middle Eastern studies.

The course is aimed at students who need some additional training before applying for doctoral studies. Only specified teaching staff accept students for this degree and once you and your prospective supervisor have agreed on your course of study, it is not normally possible to make any changes.

The MSt in Asian and Middle Eastern Studies is designed for students who hold a first degree in the same field as that of their proposed research, or one closely related. As an example, most students who wish to study Arabic for this MSt will have either a BA in Arabic or one in which Arabic has been a majority of the course. The decision on whether a candidate's first degree qualifies for the course is taken by the Faculty Board.

The precise content of the course is devised by your supervisor in consultation with yourself in order to provide the most useful training for you. The course content is in each case designed to advance your progress towards a research degree after the completion of the MSt. You may therefore be required by the supervisor, under the direction of the Faculty Board, to attend lecture courses, seminars, language classes and tutorials, and also to write more extended pieces of written work.

The course may be taught in a variety of ways, depending on your needs. If you wish to learn a language these are normally taught in classes. If you wish to concentrate on historical issues, these may be taught primarily in regular tutorials for which you are expected to write essays.

For the MSt in Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, the course content is in each case designed to advance your progress towards a research degree after the completion of the MSt, and the topic of the MSt dissertation will normally be chosen in preparation for a subsequent DPhil. You should therefore also demonstrate clear potential for DPhil level work in your application.

Our graduates have found employment in many and diverse fields including business, finance law, civil service, journalism, government and industry.

Many graduates have also undertaken further research into subjects linked with Asian and Middle Eastern Studies and have pursued successful careers in the academic world, education and in museums.


Evaluation of the course takes place entirely during the third term, through a combination of essays, examination papers and a dissertation.

Further information on the course, and the examination process, can be found in the course handbook here (information is current for the academic year of publication).


You must contact a prospective supervisor before you apply to secure their agreement in principle to supervise you whilst pursuing the course. 

Please note that only specified teaching staff in the Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies are able to accept students for this degree. A list of these staff is below. 

Admission is always subject to the assessment of a complete application and a supervisor available and willing to oversee your work.


You will have access to the Nizami Ganjavi Library in the Faculty building. In addition to this, there are a number of other specialist library collections in Oxford that focus on Asian and Middle Eastern studies, such as:

The Art, Archaeology and Ancient World Library includes the principal library for Egyptology and ancient Near Eastern Studies. The Khalili Research Centre is the University of Oxford's centre for research and teaching in the art and material culture of the Islamic societies of the Middle East and of non-Muslim members and neighbours.

You will also have access to the University's centrally provided electronic resources, the department's IT Officer and other bibliographic, archive or material sources as appropriate to the research topic. There is a computing room for the use of graduate students in the Faculty building, as well as a common room where tea and coffee are available and staff and students can meet.

Sources of funding

Applications received for this course by the January deadline will also be considered for funding if applications meet the eligibility criteria. Please use the University's fees, funding and scholarship search tool to find what funding you may be eligible for.

The Faculty has a number of scholarships and funding opportunities across a wide range of subjects. Please see here for a list of these opportunities.