University of Exeter MPhil/PhD in Kurdish Studies 2018, UK

Publish Date: Oct 27, 2017

MPhil/PhD Kurdish Studies

The Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies is recognised as one of the main centres in the world for social sciences and humanities teaching and research in relation to the Arab world and the world of Islam. Our MPhil/PhD programmes provide an opportunity for you to study with leading specialists in the field. 

We have strong links with other departments in the University and students have opportunities for cross-disciplinary research in collaboration with relevant programmes in other fields of study. Our relationships extend beyond the University and we have good relations with academic and research institutions internationally, attracting research students from all over the world and many cultural backgrounds. There are frequent public seminars and a lecture series which features distinguished scholars and public figures in related fields from the UK, Europe and throughout the Islamic world.

What is an MPhil or PhD?

Both MPhil and PhD research degrees involve an extensive investigation of a particular topic.

MPhil research takes a maximum of three years to complete full-time, or five years part-time, and is assessed by the submission of a dissertation of up to 60,000 words. The PhD takes a maximum of four years full-time and seven years part-time and the results of your research will normally be assessed by a written thesis of up to 100,000 words and oral examination. The PhD is only awarded when the results of your investigation make an original contribution to knowledge in the field.

A PhD is the highest qualification that a university can award and offers a challenging and exciting opportunity to work at the cutting-edge of research: if you have these qualities Exeter can offer a very supportive environment in which to pursue research.

Research areas

MPhil/PhD students work alongside researchers from the Centre for Kurdish Studies. You will need to pinpoint the area in which you wish to undertake your research and identify academics who are undertaking similar research here who can offer supervision in your chosen field.

The Centre for Kurdish Studies was founded in 2006 following the growth of staff interest in Kurdish Studies and the recruitment of a diverse PhD student body. Although a research centre, teaching also a key element of the centre activities. More than 40 MA and PhD students are currently affiliated to the Centre.

Initial funding was provided by the Ibrahim Ahmad Foundation, a charity established by the family of the notable Kurdish politician and poet Ibrahim Ahmad to promote the study of Kurdish language, literature, culture and history. Thanks to this generous support, two Ibrahim Ahmad academic positions (one lectureship and one professorship) have been funded at the University of Exeter. The funding of these two positions has enabled the Centre to build strong foundations, including developing strong research, teaching activities and international networks.

This support to the Centre was augmented with important scholarship funds awarded by the Prime Minister of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), HE Nechirvan Barzani.

Exeter is the only British university to have developed a strong research focus in the field of Kurdish Studies, with the two main Kurdish dialects being taught. As such, we are the leading centre of research in the field in the UK, and one of the global centres of excellence. The Centre has built cooperation with scholars worldwide and aims to develop further this current collaboration and to launch further research initiatives. With our programme of international conferences, workshops and seminars, we also provide a forum for the discussion of topics relevant to Kurdish Studies.

Our focus on Kurdish Studies places the Kurds at the centre of our research and teaching activities, and offers a chance to consider Kurdish society, culture and politics holistically in all its complexity and variation, across and within established nation-states and the global diaspora community.

As the Centre for Kurdish Studies is  physically located in the Institute for Arab and Islamic Studies (IAIS) and is part of the College of Social Sciences and International Studies, the Centre staff and students contribute to this wider education and research environment. This interaction between students and staff from different areas and disciplines is highly valued as strengthening the academic foundations of Kurdish Studies. Indeed the Centre’s vision is that strong Kurdish Studies can only be built through dialogue with other areas, and with a strong grounding in different academic disciplines.

This unique centre promotes academic investigations in Kurdish Studies in an interdisciplinary manner and will commission a new peer-reviewed academic journal. Currently, members associated with the Centre cover subjects including politics and international relations, gender studies, geography, sociology, language and literature, Islamic studies and history.

You will need to pinpoint the area in which you wish to undertake your research and identify academics who are undertaking similar research here who can offer supervision in your chosen field.


The Institute building was constructed in 2001 in an architectural style evocative of the Middle East, and houses superb facilities including:

  • computerised language lab
  • computing and audio-visual equipment
  • lecture theatres and seminar rooms
  • lounge with satellite TV for viewing Middle Eastern channels
  • a postgraduate centre
  • cafeteria

The University of Exeter Library is the location of the Arab World Documentation Unit, one of the major Arab and Islamic Study research collections in the UK. It provides reference materials covering the Gulf Region; Middle East economics, politics, and history; the history of the Gulf wars and the Arab-Israeli conflict; and the history of British and international involvement in the region, from the 18th century onwards.

If you are considering study at Exeter we strongly encourage you to visit the impressive facilities and meet with staff and students in your area of interest.

Tuition fees per year 2018/19

  • UK/EU: £4,400 full-time; £2,200 part-time
  • International: £16,400 full-time

For more information please click "Further Official Information" below.

Further Official Information

Link to Original

Similar Opportunities



International Relations

Kurdish Studies


Political Sciences


Study Levels


Eligible Countries


Host Countries

United Kingdom