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Best universities for Middle Eastern Studies? Watch

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    Hey guys, I applied to many of the UK based Masters in ME Studies here (including SOAS, St Andrews, Durham, Leeds, Edinburgh, KCL).

    So far I've been accepted in to Durham while awaiting responses from the others.

    My questions are:
    -How is Durham in terms of academics and employee recognition?
    -Of those schools I listed, which ones give you the best chance of finding a job after finishing a Masters?
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    (Original post by Dustin)
    Hello All, I am currently a student in the Masters Program for Middle Eastern Studies at Lund University. If anyone has questions feel free to ask away.

    ~D
    Hello

    about the Middle Eastern Studies at Lund. Is there any scholarship for outside EU country?
    Currently I'm finishing my last year studies and interested to continue my study there
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    (Original post by bbmm1987)
    Hey guys, I applied to many of the UK based Masters in ME Studies here (including SOAS, St Andrews, Durham, Leeds, Edinburgh, KCL).

    So far I've been accepted in to Durham while awaiting responses from the others.

    My questions are:
    -How is Durham in terms of academics and employee recognition?
    -Of those schools I listed, which ones give you the best chance of finding a job after finishing a Masters?
    Durham is very good in terms of academics and employee recognition.

    Which uni did you do your undergraduate degree at? And in which subject?
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    (Original post by RamlakU)
    Durham is very good in terms of academics and employee recognition.

    Which uni did you do your undergraduate degree at? And in which subject?
    I did my BA at the University of Toronto in Canada in Political Science.

    The reason I ask about Durham is because I dont know much about UK school reputations and how Durham is perceived within the UK and Europe. To be fair to Durham, Oxford and Cambridge are the only 2 UK schools with any real name recognition in North America.

    I'm also curious about Durham's employee recognition because finding a job immediately upon completion of my Master's is top priority for me.

    The University of Toronto is ranked top 20-30 in the world and 1st or 2nd in Canada yet its extremely difficult for new grads to find jobs after graduating from that school. I'm wondering if it'd be tricky finding a job upon finishing a postgrad degree at Durham when in all likelihood, 99.9% of the jobs you will be applying for will be outside of Durham.
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    What sort of job do you hope to get after finishing the MA at Durham?
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    The MA program in IR is focused on the Middle East so I'm looking to find a job in human rights, development, economic analysis/policy, security analysis/policy, etc with the UN or NGO. I know the UN does not really care about where you studied but I wonder what NGOs think of Durham. Further, are there any real internship or volunteer opportunities for IR students in a city like Durham?
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    (Original post by bbmm1987)
    The MA program in IR is focused on the Middle East so I'm looking to find a job in human rights, development, economic analysis/policy, security analysis/policy, etc with the UN or NGO. I know the UN does not really care about where you studied but I wonder what NGOs think of Durham. Further, are there any real internship or volunteer opportunities for IR students in a city like Durham?
    I am currently working for an NGO in the Middle East so maybe I can offer some advice.

    If you are thinking of doing a MA in Middle East Studies to get an NGO job as you said above then I have to ask...what is your level of Arabic? The vast majority of NGO workers in the Middle East have a working knowledge, if not fluent, of Arabic (both Modern Standard and Dialects)

    The fields you have described are massively different. You would not have enough time during your studies at Durham to take the number of courses needed to get the technical expertise to be able to do all of those jobs. E.g. Development needs lots of economics courses, Human rights lots of law, policy again needs lots of economics courses.

    Most NGOs (I assume you are talking about ones abroad as there are only limited Middle East Focussed NGOs in the UK) would not have heard of Durham specifically. But will look at your work experience, language skills, and courses taken.

    If you are planning a career in an NGO I always advise that people get some experience first. The reality of the job is often not as romantic as people see. For example, I have worked in extremely insecure environments for long periods of time without much contact with family friends etc. Some people just don't like these sort of things when it comes down to it.

    In addition the time of the expat NGO worker is coming to an end, with people mostly working on developmental or social issues in their own countries. Make of that what you will.

    In Durham there are no Middle East focussed NGOs as far as I can remember, but you may be able to get some experience as a research assistant though one of the research centres at the university.

    Any other questions please ask away. I don't mean to offend I am just trying to be as honest as possible!
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    beefmaster, check your inbox when you get the chance.
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    Does anyone know anything about the MA Islamic Studies program at McGill? It seems to be a really strong department with a big faculty. They don't require the GRE so it's pretty simple to apply - might be a good addition to my UK applications... I just can't really gather how well respected McGill is globally/in Europe. What would it compare to in the UK? Any thoughts?
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    McGill is the 1st or 2nd best Uni in Canada, recognized in North America as one of the best Unis in the continent and has a very strong reputation globally. It is very well recognized in Europe, especially in the French speaking parts (keep in mind that much of the programs are taught in English).

    Last time I checked, it was ranked as high as a top 20 university in the world and generally regarded to be in the top 30. Compared to UK universities, it's probably only behind Oxford, Cambridge, Imperial and UCL.

    I spent a lot of time considering applying for the Islamic Studies program but ultimately decided against it because it's not very diverse IMO. Nonetheless, if you feel the program is right for you then you should apply with confidence.
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    (Original post by bbmm1987)
    McGill is the 1st or 2nd best Uni in Canada, recognized in North America as one of the best Unis in the continent and has a very strong reputation globally. It is very well recognized in Europe, especially in the French speaking parts (keep in mind that much of the programs are taught in English).

    Last time I checked, it was ranked as high as a top 20 university in the world and generally regarded to be in the top 30. Compared to UK universities, it's probably only behind Oxford, Cambridge, Imperial and UCL.

    I spent a lot of time considering applying for the Islamic Studies program but ultimately decided against it because it's not very diverse IMO. Nonetheless, if you feel the program is right for you then you should apply with confidence.
    Cheers! My only worry is that they convert a UK 2.1 to a GPA of 3, which is very meagre to say the least. I really like the program though (one of my interests is the history of the Islamic world).

    How is Montreal/McGill for learning French? I think Arabic and French would complement each other well.

    Did you apply anywhere outside the UK? How about the US? I'm contemplating whether I stand any chance of admission without a 1st and by the time of application only basic Arabic.
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    Montreal will not be very good for learning French since most people speak English. Further, if you study at McGill, your lectures will be in English and you will likely be surrounded by mostly English speaking people.

    More 'rural' parts of Quebec are good for learning French but a diverse city like Montreal (where many residents do not even speak French) is not the greatest place to learn the language.

    A UK 2:1 will not convert to a 3.0 North American GPA. A UK 2:1 is the equivalent of a 3.3-3.7 GPA which is roughly 77-84.9 % in the North American system. Your GPA is competitive enough to apply to McGill. If you're into history of the Islamic world then you might as well apply to the University of Toronto's program as well since they're probably top 2 in Canada (along with McGill).

    You do not need Arabic to apply to these programs. I recall most (90%) of the Near East students I encountered at U of T did not speak a lick of Arabic. U of T's Arabic language courses are excellent (you can be fluent in Standard Arabic in about 1.5 years of study) so you could always learn there.

    I didnt apply to US programs because I want to get out of North America. Keep in mind you need to write the GRE to apply to almost all U.S. postgraduate programs.
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    (Original post by bbmm1987)
    Montreal will not be very good for learning French since most people speak English. Further, if you study at McGill, your lectures will be in English and you will likely be surrounded by mostly English speaking people.

    More 'rural' parts of Quebec are good for learning French but a diverse city like Montreal (where many residents do not even speak French) is not the greatest place to learn the language.

    A UK 2:1 will not convert to a 3.0 North American GPA. A UK 2:1 is the equivalent of a 3.3-3.7 GPA which is roughly 77-84.9 % in the North American system. Your GPA is competitive enough to apply to McGill. If you're into history of the Islamic world then you might as well apply to the University of Toronto's program as well since they're probably top 2 in Canada (along with McGill).

    You do not need Arabic to apply to these programs. I recall most (90%) of the Near East students I encountered at U of T did not speak a lick of Arabic. U of T's Arabic language courses are excellent (you can be fluent in Standard Arabic in about 1.5 years of study) so you could always learn there.

    I didnt apply to US programs because I want to get out of North America. Keep in mind you need to write the GRE to apply to almost all U.S. postgraduate programs.
    Thanks a lot for your advice.

    So with a UK 2.1 I might even stand a chance at top 10 schools in the US? I was under the impression that a 2.1 would be a blanket rejection from the very top schools. I'm in love with Columbia's program but thought I wouldn't stand a chance.

    Toronto says explicitly it requires working knowledge of Arabic as well as an academic background in Islamic civilisation, whereas McGill doesn't stipulate either of those... But you're right, I might as well give U of T a shot!
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    A 2:1 is good enough to get you in to any top school.

    Top schools are looking for atleast a 3.3 (77-79%), but realistically speaking, applicants with over 3.5 (80%) GPAs are more likely to be admitted.

    I cant speak for McGill but U of T is very competitive so you'll likely need an average of over 80%. U of T asks for adequate reading knowledge of one Middle East language but I'm sure the bar is pretty low for this. In any case, they might be willing to overlook your weakness in Arabic if you send in a strong application. You could also study Arabic over the summer prior to the start of the program and make mention of your intentions in your application.

    Like I said, a UK 2:1 is around a 77-84% average which is between 3.3-3.7 GPA (good enough for pretty much any top school in North America). Ofcourse they dont just look at GPA alone, and the top schools always have a bunch of more than qualified candidates with high GPAs so other factors such as statement of purpose, references and CV matter as well.
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    (Original post by bbmm1987)
    A 2:1 is good enough to get you in to any top school.

    Top schools are looking for atleast a 3.3 (77-79%), but realistically speaking, applicants with over 3.5 (80%) GPAs are more likely to be admitted.

    I cant speak for McGill but U of T is very competitive so you'll likely need an average of over 80%. U of T asks for adequate reading knowledge of one Middle East language but I'm sure the bar is pretty low for this. In any case, they might be willing to overlook your weakness in Arabic if you send in a strong application. You could also study Arabic over the summer prior to the start of the program and make mention of your intentions in your application.

    Like I said, a UK 2:1 is around a 77-84% average which is between 3.3-3.7 GPA (good enough for pretty much any top school in North America). Ofcourse they dont just look at GPA alone, and the top schools always have a bunch of more than qualified candidates with high GPAs so other factors such as statement of purpose, references and CV matter as well.
    So purely looking at GPA, a 2:1 would be strong enough to apply to Columbia and Harvard? Obviously strong recommendations etc. will be crucial, but would I stand any chance with a 2:1? I'm only going to apply to the US if I stand a reasonable chance at the top schools, otherwise I'll opt for the UK.
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    The University of Leeds have an Excellent MA in Middle East and Islamic studies /is politically orientated and up to date. Dr Henderik Kraetzshmar knows his stuff I think it is ranked just behind SOAS in the UK for ME studies.
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    Durham concentrates on the Middle East and their Master's in the School of Government and International Affairs allow for an optional module form the department of modern languages, e.g. Arabic.
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    (Original post by Dustin)
    Hello All, I am currently a student in the Masters Program for Middle Eastern Studies at Lund University. If anyone has questions feel free to ask away.

    ~D
    Hello Dustin!! I would really like to know how big competition is in Lund for CMES studies? i am considering to apply only to Lund, i have good grades, i have lived in Lebanon for 1 year and i am beginner in arabic. You said there are only 30 students in group, how many apply for studies?!
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    Hi Appollonia,

    I've just graduated from Edinburgh this summer in Religious Studies (with a strong focus on Islam), I'm currently taking a year-out now, figuring out my plans while I work/study in the Middle East.

    I'm definitely returning to school Sept '14 though and trying to figure out my plans for Masters now. Was wondering what you could tell me about Lund? You seem to know much more about it than I do!

    Reason Im emailing is because i want to do a masters in Middle Eastern studies, and i'm undecided about whether to carry on at Edinburgh, or go to SOAS or Lund...Kind of the same position you were in!

    Where did you end up studying, and why did you choose it?

    Thanks a lot!
 
 
 
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