Research course

Arab World Studies

The University of Manchester · School of Arts, Languages and Cultures

Entry requirements

Successful completion of a Masters course with an overall classification of Merit or higher, or its overseas equivalent, with an element of research training, is a prerequisite for entry to a PhD. A research proposal must be included with the formal application materials.

The University requires you to reside within a commutable distance from Manchester during your time as a registered student, unless you are on approved fieldwork/a formal placement or are on a period of Submission pending. This is to ensure that you are able to meet attendance expectations and participate in wider research activities within your discipline area and/or School. Should you be unable to do this at any point during your programme, a formal case must be made to the Faculty office, together with the full support of your supervisor(s). The University reserves the right to reject such a request where it is considered that your residency could have a detrimental impact on the progression and engagement of your studies.

Months of entry


Course content

Arabic and Middle Eastern Studies at Manchester offers exceptionally wide-ranging opportunities for research and advanced training in the history, politics, gender studies, literatures, religious traditions and cultures of the Middle East. Training and research supervision in all major cultures and periods of the region are delivered by experts whose publications contribute to their subject on an international level.

Arabic and Middle Eastern Studies regularly organises seminars, workshops and conferences, and offers some specialist training opportunities. Another major research centre, the Centre for Jewish Studies ( CJS ), brings together a wide range of specialists from across the University, and a large and active body of graduate students working on various aspects of Jewish culture and history, including modern Israeli society. The Manchester Iranian History Academic Network ( MIHAN ) organises seminars, workshops, and international conferences providing an intellectual and organisational framework for a sizeable and active group of graduate students working on Iranian history.

Research specialisms in Arabic and Middle Eastern Studies and related subject areas include literature, gender, culture and history of the Arab countries (Salhi, Mostafa, Buckley), Islamic societies and practices, including Shiism (Buckley,Woerner-Powell), the modern and contemporary history of Iran, with a special focus on its politics and relations to other parts of the Middle East, to Europe, and to the US (Randjbar-Daemi). Other areas of doctoral supervision can be offered or are available through inter-disciplinary collaboration.

Manchester's experts in Middle Eastern Studies contribute to the public debate on contemporary cultural-religious issues in the UK, the analysis and contextualization of current affairs in the Middle East, and the understanding of gender roles and the relations between 'East' and 'West'. Manchester is the editorial home of the Journal of Semitic Studies ( JSS ), an internationally renowned academic journal which recently celebrated its fiftieth anniversary.

In the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF 2014) Middle Eastern Studies was assessed as part of the University of Manchester's 'Modern Languages and Linguistics' submission. In REF 2014 the University of Manchester has been confirmed as a leading centre for research in Modern Languages and Linguistics, ranking third in the UK in terms of research power (an established criterion which values research quality in relation to the number of staff submitted). We achieved joint fourth in terms of the overall amount of 'world-leading' (4*) research activity and 80% of our research was judged to be in the highest two categories (4* or 3*). Specifically, 73% of our publications were judged as either 'world-leading' (4*) or 'internationally excellent' (3*); moreover, 85% of our research activity achieved 'outstanding' (4*) or `very considerable¿ (3*) public impact in areas spanning policy, public discourse, education, cultural life and society. Our research environment was also judged to be strong, with 100% judged to be 'world-leading' (4*) or 'internationally excellent' (3*).

Information for international students

Students whose first language is not English require:

an overall IELTS score of 7.0 with 7.0 in the writing component


a TOEFL score of 600 paper-based test or 100 internet-based test


a Pearson Test of English (PTE) score of 70 overall with 70 in the writing component


an overall Trinity Integrated Skills in English (ISE) III grade of Merit with Merit in the writing component.

Fees and funding

UK students
International students

The School offers a limited number of bursaries and studentships on a competitive basis, details of which can be found via the links below.

Please note that whilst we do not have closing dates for programme applications, all funding competitions have a specified deadline for submitting the funding application form and a separate (earlier) deadline for submitting the online programme application form, both of which will be stated in the funding competition details below:

Qualification and course duration


full time
36 months

Course contact details

School of Arts, Languages and Cultures
+44 (0)161 275 3559
+44 (0)161 275 3031