Programme Description

This course serves as an introduction to the politics of North Africa (Maghreb), the Arab East (Mashriq) including the Gulf and the Arabian Peninsula, Israel, Turkey and Iran. It gives - on a country by county basis - an overview of the major political issues and developments in the region since the end of the First World War and addresses key themes in the study of contemporary Middle East politics, including: the role of the military, social and economic development, political Islam, and the recent uprisings (the 'Arab Spring').

Its aim is to develop the students' understanding of the major trends in the Middle East politics and their skills of political analysis through critical reading, lectures, presentations and informed discussion.

The course is normally offered in conjunction with Beginners Arabic (Level 1 or 2).

Beginners Arabic (Level 1)

This is an introductory course in Modern Standard Arabic. It teaches students the Arabic script and provides a basic grounding in Arabic grammar and syntax. On completing the course, students should be able to read, write, listen to, and understand simple Arabic sentences and passages. This course is for complete beginners and does not require any prior knowledge of Arabic.

Beginners Arabic (Level 2)

This course is a continuation of Beginners Arabic Level 1. It completes the coverage of the grammar and syntax of Modern Standard Arabic and trains students in reading, comprehending and writing with the help of a dictionary more complex Arabic sentences and passages.

To qualify for entry into this course, students should have completed at least one prior introductory course in Arabic.

Beginners Persian (Level 1)

This is an introductory course which aims to give the students a reasonable grounding in the basics of Persian grammar and syntax as well as enabling them to understand simple and frequently used expressions related to basic language use. They will be able to hold uncomplicated conversations on topics such as personal and family information, shopping, hobbies, employment as well as simple and direct exchanges of information related to familiar topics. By the end of the course, they will also progress to read simple short texts.


Tuition fee

£2,700 (both courses) £1,400 (one course)

A limited number of partial tuition fee waivers (two per course) of up to 50% off the fee are available to SOAS’s current students on a first come, first serve basis (please enquire). 15% discount off the fee for SOAS alumni.

Other discounts are available for partner institutions and groups; please contact us for further information.

Application Fee

A one-off, non-refundable application fee of £40 payable through the SOAS Online Store will be charged to cover administration costs. Once the application fee has been paid, you will be given an order number which you will need in order to complete your online application form.

Accommodation fee

from £300/week

Rooms can be booked at the Intercollegiate Halls which are located in the heart of Bloomsbury.


Please note that summer courses are not accredited by SOAS and please be aware that the decision to award credits rests with your home institution.

Assessment will vary for each course. Participants will be provided with a certificate of attendance and transcripts will be available on request.

Social Programme

You will also be able to enjoy our social programme, starting with a welcome party and an optional river cruise on the Thames for a small additional charge. Details about how to book will be communicated to you once you are registered. You will also receive discount codes for day trips and overnight tours with our partner International Friends.


Part 1

  • BA1: letters/sounds recognition, writing practice and basic speaking scenarios
  • BA2: Unit 1-4 of Al-Kitaab fii ta'allum al-'arabiyya, part 1, by Brustad, Al-Batal and Al-Tonsi
  • GPME: defining and analysing the Middle East; structural determinants of Middle East politics

Part 2

  • BA1: joining letters/writing words and continuation of speaking scenarios
  • BA2: Unit 5 of Al-Kitaab fii ta'allum al-'arabiyya
  • GPME: Ottoman legacies and European colonial legacies; the politics of independence; the military and politics

Part 3

  • BA1: Units 3-4 of Mastering Arabic, part 1, by Jane Wightwick and Mahmoud Gaafar
  • BA2: unit 6 of Al-Kitaab fii ta'allum al-'arabiyya
  • GPME: social and political forces behind the drive for economic liberalisation; liberalisation and its limits

Part 4

  • BA1: Unit 5-6 of Mastering Arabic
  • BA2: unit 7 of Al-Kitaab fii ta'allum al-'arabiyya
  • GPME: politics from below; Islam and democracy

Part 5

  • BA1: Unit 7 of Mastering Arabic and Introduction to Present Tense
  • BA2: unit 8 of Al-Kitaab fii ta'allum al-'arabiyya
  • GPME: the ‘Arab Spring’ uprisings; the fortunes of Political Islam

Entry Requirements

In order to join our Summer School, you will need to meet the following entry requirements:

  • A university student or a graduate at the time of attending the summer school, and 18+ years of age.
  • Professional experience can be acknowledged as equivalent to a university qualification.
  • A minimum English language requirement if English is not your first language:
    • IELTS, 6.5 overall or higher, with at least 6 in all subscores.
    • TOEFL Paper-based test we require a minimum of 583 with a minimum of 53 in all skills and for TOEFL Internet Based Test we require a minimum of 93 with a minimum of 20 in all skills.
    • Pearson Test of English a score of 59-64.
    • Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE) Grade B.
    • If you have studied in an English speaking institution, or have courses taught at your university in English (excluding English language courses), you may meet our requirements without having to supply a certificate. Evidence of this will either need to be included on a transcript or letter from your university.
    • Applicants with an alternative qualification should contact us for advice.
    • Applicants whose English language level do not meet out requirements may be interested in our subject-based courses with English language support.

Enrolment of Summer School applicants who don’t meet the entry requirements is at the discretion of SOAS – please get in touch to speak to us in detail about your application.

Application Procedure

Once you have paid the £40 application fee and submitted the online application form, you will be informed as to whether you have a place on the summer school within 5 working days. Please do not pay your tuition fee prior to having received your offer letter.

Application Deadline

31 May 2019

Program taught in:
  • English
SOAS Summer School

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Last updated May 12, 2019
This course is Campus based
Start Date
1 month
2,700 GBP
£2,700 (both courses) + £40 application fee; £1,400 (one course) + £40 application fee.
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