MRes Modern East Mediterranean History

The MRes Modern East Mediterranean History programme offers the chance to explore key aspects of East Mediterranean history in the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries, with a focus on the study of primary evidence.

Special emphasis is put on the causes and consequences of Great Power intervention in the region, such as the world wars, the Cold War, the Arab-Israeli conflict and the war on terror.

The programme comprises a major individual research project, supervised by a specialist in the field of study, and taught elements which provide the context and skills needed to conduct independent research into a region which includes the Balkans, the Middle East and North Africa.

Picture: Oil well fires rage outside Kuwait City in the aftermath of Operation Desert Storm. The wells were set on fire by Iraqi forces before they were ousted from the region by coalition forces.

Dr Steve Morewood

Dr Steve Morewood

“The Eastern Mediterranean incorporates the Balkans, the Middle East and North Africa. These regions have experienced conflict from 1798, when Napoleon invaded Egypt, to the present, which has either been internally or externally driven and sometimes a combination of both. Britain and subsequently America became heavily involved. The National Archives in London provides a rich source of British government records while other archives, including Birmingham Cadbury Research Centre, hold relevant private papers. More contemporary topics can be researched through printed and internet sources.”

The programme features three taught modules (see the modules section) and a 20,000-word supervised research thesis on a topic of your choice.

You will take a core module in Research Methods and Skills, and choose two optional modules to complement your research topic. We recommend that you discuss your proposed research thesis with a potential supervisor before making your application.

Why study this course

  • The Department of History was ranked first in the country in the latest Research Excellence Framework, and is unrivalled in the geographical and chronological breadth of its research. You will be able to draw on the expertise of staff with specific knowledge of the regions and periods you wish to study
  • Our lecturers incorporate their research findings into their teaching, including the study of original documents.


You will study one core module:

Postgraduate Research Skills: Historical Studies

This module will provide an introduction to generic skills training for Historical Studies postgraduates. It will introduce a range of research, library and generic skills that will be applicable to your thesis and research experience, as well as subject/discipline specific training.
Assessment: 4,000 word written essay

You will also choose two optional modules from a list which includes the modules below. You may also select modules from the MA in Contemporary History.

Conflict in the Modern Middle East 

The module considers a series of conflicts which have engulfed the Modern Middle East, the most unstable region in the world, arising from a number of causes: external intervention by the Great Powers; inter-ethnic rivalry; religion; competition for scarce resources, especially oil; geographic location particularly land, sea and air routes including the Suez Canal. The module embraces analysis of the causes, courses and consequences of several major conflicts including the two world wars, the Arab-Israeli wars, the Israeli-Palestinian struggle and the Gulf wars.
Assessment: 4,000 word written assignment

Nationalism and Conflict in the Balkans and Middle East

The Balkans and Middle East, covering the period from 1800 to the present, are regions which have a geostrategic significance that, aligned with rising nationalism, produced conflicts, generated internally or externally and sometimes in combination, on a regular basis. Many of these wars had a profound impact both within the region and farther afield. The themes covered in this module are: the transition from empire to nation states; the role of foreign powers, international diplomacy and external military intervention; nationalism, colonialism and regional conflicts; religions, identities and conflict; modernisation and peace efforts.
Assessment: 4,000 word written essay

Please note that the optional module information listed on the website for this programme is intended to be indicative, and the availability of optional modules may vary from year to year. Where a module is no longer available we will let you know as soon as we can and help you to make other choices.

Fees and funding

We charge an annual tuition fee. Fees for 2017/18:

  • Home/EU: £4,195 full-time; £2,098 part-time
  • Overseas: £15,210 full-time

The above fee quoted is for one year only; for those studying over two or more years, tuition fees will also be payable in subsequent years of your programme.

Fee status

Eligibility for home/EU or overseas fees can be verified with Admissions. Learn more about fees for international students

We can also confirm that EU students who are already studying at the University of Birmingham or who have an offer to start their studies in 2017-18 or 2018-19 academic years will continue to be charged the UK fee rate applicable at the time, provided this continues to be permitted by UK law. The UK Government has also confirmed that students from the EU applying to courses starting in the 2017-18 and 2018-19 academic years will not see any changes to their loan eligibility or fee status. This guarantee will apply for the full duration of the course, even if the course finishes after the UK has left the EU.

Paying your fees

Tuition fees can either be paid in full or by instalments. Learn more about postgraduate tuition fees and funding.

Scholarships and studentships

Scholarships to cover fees and/or maintenance costs may be available. To discover whether you are eligible for any award across the University, and to start your funding application, please visit the University's Postgraduate Funding Database.

International students can often gain funding through overseas research scholarships, Commonwealth scholarships or their home government.

Entry requirements

Our requirements for postgraduate research are dependent on the type of programme you are applying for:

  • For MRes and MA by Research programmes, entry to our programmes usually requires a good (normally a 2:1 or above) Honours degree, or an equivalent qualification if you were educated outside the UK.
  • Applicants for a PhD will also need to hold a Masters qualification at Merit level or above (or its international equivalent).

Any academic and professional qualifications or relevant professional experience you may have are normally taken into account, and in some cases, form an integral part of the entrance requirements.

If you are applying for distance learning research programmes, you will also be required to demonstrate that you have the time, commitment, facilities and experience to study by distance learning.

If your qualifications are non-standard or different from the entry requirements stated here, please contact the admissions tutor.

International students

Academic requirements

We accept a range of qualifications; our country pages show you what qualifications we accept from your country.

English language requirements

You can satisfy our English language requirements in two ways:

How to apply

Before you make your application

Please refer to our six step process on applying for PhD, MA by Research and MRes opportunities for Arts subject areas.

You may wish to register your interest with us to receive regular news and updates on postgraduate life within this Department and the wider University.

When clicking on the Apply Now button you will be directed to an application specifically designed for the programme you wish to apply for where you will create an account with the University application system and submit your application and supporting documents online. Further information regarding how to apply online can be found on the How to apply pages

Apply now

The Modern East Mediterranean History MRes forms part of the Centre for Byzantine, Ottoman and Modern Greek Studies (CBOMGS) which is the only centre in the UK which brings all of these subjects together within a single unit.

CBOMGS aims to provide a stimulating environment for cross-disciplinary research and inter-cultural dialogue for the wider research community, meaning that you’ll benefit from the insight of academic staff and peers from across the College of Arts and Law.

You will also become part of, and contribute to, the lively international community of the College of Arts and Law Graduate School, which offers dedicated research resources and a supportive working environment. Our team of academic and operational staff are on hand to offer support and advice to all postgraduate students within the College.

Your degree will provide excellent preparation for employment and this will be further enhanced by a range of employability support services offered by the University.

The University's Careers Network provides advice and information specifically for postgraduates that will help you to develop an effective career and skills development strategy, and to make the most of your time with us at the University. The College of Arts and Law also has a dedicated careers and employability team to deliver tailored programmes of careers events and local support.

You will have opportunities to: meet employers face-to-face at on-campus recruitment fairs; attend employer presentations and skills workshops; receive individual guidance on your job applications, writing your CV and improving your interview technique; and access to comprehensive listings of hundreds of graduate jobs and work experience opportunities.

You will also be able to access our full range of careers support for up to two years after graduation.

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Get involved

In addition to the student groups hosted by the Guild of Students, each school runs its own social activities, research fora, seminars and groups for postgraduates.


Coming to Birmingham to study might be your first time living away from home. Our student accommodation will allow you to enjoy your new-found independence in safe, welcoming and sociable surroundings.

Support in your studies

We offer an Academic Writing Advisory Service, which aims to help your transition to postgraduate research. The service offers guidance on organising your ideas and structuring an argument, referencing and avoiding plagiarism, being clear and coherent and editing your work for academic style and linguistic accuracy. Individual support is provided by a professional academic writing advisor via tutorials or email, as well as through the provision of online materials.

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