Please note: there may be some adjustments to the teaching arrangements published in the course catalogue for 2020-21. Given current circumstances related to the Covid-19 pandemic it is anticipated that some usual arrangements for teaching on campus will be modified to ensure the safety and wellbeing of students and staff on campus; further adjustments may also be necessary, or beneficial, during the course of the academic year as national requirements relating to management of the pandemic are revised.

Innovation in the Middle East and North Africa SPS5047

  • Academic Session: 2022-23
  • School: School of Social and Political Sciences
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 5 (SCQF level 11)
  • Typically Offered: Either Semester 1 or Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes
  • Available to Erasmus Students: Yes

Short Description

This course will analyse how religions, cultures, and innovation interact in the modern and contemporary Middle East and North Africa (MENA). It will look at the development of innovation and entrepreneurship in the region, the transmission of Western sciences and technologies to MENA, women in STEM, and recent developments in fields such as bioethics and the politics of energy in light of their potential for promoting economic development.


This course may not run every year. Teaching comprises 10 classes comprising a mixture of lectures, small-group work, and class discussion.

Requirements of Entry

Standard entry to MSc programmes: An Upper Second-class degree or equivalent.

Excluded Courses





■ - 1000-word Critical Summary 25%

■ - 1500-word Course Diary 35%

■ - 2000-word Essay 40%

Course Aims

This course aims to introduce students to drivers, motivations, and obstacles to innovation in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, with a focus on the interactions among religions, cultures, and innovation in the modern era. Is the region'strajectory best explained by factors peculiar to the region or was the long run path of development determined by factors common to many countries including globalization, imperialism, demography, and social organization?" This course will critically evaluate claims of MENA exceptionalism and encourage students to apply broader models of (under)development to concrete case studies that explore the relationship between religion, culture, innovation, and economic growth.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

On successful completion of this course and prescribed readings, students will be able to:

■ Compare divergent explanations of the drivers for and challenges facing innovation and economic development in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA)

■ Assess the main stages and themes in the evolution of science and technology in the MENA

■ Evaluate the ways contemporary Western views of MENA religions and cultures as well as the geopolitics of the MENA have been shaped by imperialism, decolonization, and globalization

During this course, students will get the opportunity to develop and demonstrate

■ Understanding of readings and cases through discussions and written assignments

■ Analysis and evaluation of theoretical and case-based material on innovation in the MENA

■ Skills of summary and critical evaluation of journal articles and other readings

■ Teamwork, leadership, and discursive dialogue skills in small-group discussions

These outcomes align with achievement of University of Glasgow graduate attributes in areas such as independent and critical thought; resourcefulness and responsibility; effective and confident communication; adaptable and multidisciplinary approaches to learning; and collaboration.

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.