MES4590 – Master Thesis in Middle East Studies

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

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Course content

The master’s thesis should be a scientific investigation of a theoretical or empirical kind; it represents an independent piece of research, carried out under supervision. The research question should be precisely defined, the method well founded and the argumentation systematically presented. The subject and research topic for the thesis may be chosen from a wide range of topics associated with Middle East society and politics, language or literature, and is chosen in cooperation with the supervisor. Supervision is compulsory. Sources in Middle East languages should constitute at least 1/5 of the source material used.

This course is combined with one of the following options:

  1. AMS4900 – International Project Term in Asia and the Middle East, or
  2. MES4610 – Voices from the Middle East: How to Communicate Research Results and MES4020 – Field Work in the Middle East, or
  3. Semester abroad.

In addition to supervision, students must attend thesis seminars led by members of the academic staff. The seminar gives students opportunities to present and discuss drafts and sketches, as well as training in commenting on the drafts and sketches of other students.

Learning outcome

  • The writing of the thesis provides students with training in developing research projects from original idea to fully completed research report in the form of a master’s thesis.
  • An aim of the thesis work is also to develop the students’ ability to critically and independently assess source material in accordance with relevant theories.


Students who are admitted to study programmes at UiO must each semester register which courses and exams they wish to sign up for in Studentweb.

If you are not already enrolled as a student at UiO, please see our information about admission requirements and procedures.

Admission to the programme option Middle East Studies under the programme for Asia and Middle East Studies.


Academic supervision of the master’s thesis is compulsory. Up to 8 hours of individual supervision will be given. Supervisors will be assigned by the department. Fall 2022 seminars will be offered on Zoom for the students that are abroad. Contact the course instructor for more information.

Compulsory activities

  • Participation in 4 thesis seminars led by members of the academic staff
  • At least 2 oral presentations of sections of your thesis
  • Be a discussant for students who are presenting at least two times
  • Prepare a table of contents of your thesis early in the semester

Valid absence

If you have valid absence from the compulsory activity, you must submit an application and hand in documentation. 

This is how you apply for a valid absence from compulsory activity.


The master's thesis is to be handed in by 1 December in the autumn semester and 1 June in the spring semester.

The thesis should be about 35 to 50 pages (2300 characters per page, excluding spaces, excluding list of references). 

You must fulfill the requirement of the compulsory activities in order to submit your master's thesis.

Guidelines for submission of a Master's Thesis at IKOS.

Submit assignments in Inspera

You submit your assignment in the digital examination system Inspera. Read about how to submit assignments in Inspera.

Use of sources and citation

You should familiarize yourself with the rules that apply to the use of sources and citations. If you violate the rules, you may be suspected of cheating/attempted cheating.

Language of examination

The thesis is normally written in English, alternatively in a Scandinavian language.

Grading scale

Grades are awarded on a scale from A to F, where A is the best grade and F is a fail. Read more about the grading system.

Explanations and appeals

Resit an examination

Withdrawal from an examination

A master’s thesis that is not passed may be resubmitted only once, and then within the agreed time and in revised form. A master’s thesis that is passed may not be resubmitted in revised form.

If you withdraw from the exam after the deadline, this will be counted as an examination attempt.

Special examination arrangements

Application form, deadline and requirements for special examination arrangements.

Facts about this course






Spring and autumn


Spring and autumn

Teaching language