MA Islamic Studies
Overview of the Programme
The MA Islamic Studies is a dynamic and exciting programme of study, appropriate for all those seeking to further their knowledge in the multidisciplinary academic fields associated with the study of Islam. The programme is taught by experts with diverse interests in Islamic Studies, encouraging students to explore in depth a range of topics relating to the Islam and Muslims in contemporary and historical perspectives. Islamic Studies is a long-standing discipline at the university, and our academic team have contributed to the field through publications, specialist research, and participation in international conferences.
The MA provides a high quality student experience suitable for those working within – or associated with - Muslim communities, in minority and majority contexts, especially those wishing to develop a greater understanding of the people, cultures and religious perspectives with in which they are working.
Module Content and Structure
The MA programme comprises three compulsory modules and three options, devised in such a way as to enable students to develop the academic skills necessary to research and analyse key issues associated with Islamic Studies; successful completion of the modules enables students to proceed to write a dissertation.
- Study Skills introduces students to the essential academic skills required in the field.
- Islam Today introduces students to key contemporary themes relating to Islam and Muslims, particularly in western contexts.
- Islamic Law in the Contemporary World provides an opportunity to explore significant issues of interpretation and practice, relating to Muslims in minority and majority contexts.
- Following these compulsory elements, within the MA, students can take different routes to complete their degree:
- Muslim Networks encourages the study of diverse influences on Muslims in historical and contemporary frameworks, including Sufism, Shi’a beliefs, and knowledge transmission.
- Muslim Politics provides an essential grounding in the political issues that have impacted on diverse Muslim contexts in the contemporary world – from ideas about ‘reform’ through to the ‘Arab spring’.
We will also be offering in due course two modules that are presently in preparation:
- Perspectives on Islamic Sources will enable students to tackle important questions relating to the Qur’an, Hadith and other sources;
- Islam and the Environment provides a unique opportunity to research this essential contemporary issue in detail.
Mode of Study
The programme is delivered as a full-time and part-time programme of study, and is also available as distance learning. All module content is available through the University’s Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) and students will be supported throughout their studies through regular access to their module tutors, either one to one (by email, skype, phone), in groups (using media such as Skype), or via VLE module discussion forums or wikis.
Campus-based students will be supported through lectures, research seminars and public lectures. An annual residential graduate summer school is held for all students in July where students are able to experience lectures and seminars covering both issues related to generic learning and subject-specific information and to engage with a number of our research students.
Each module is assessed individually. We employ a range of assessment methods including summative assignments, course work, essays and a final dissertation.
Normally the entry requirement for this programme is a first class or upper second class undergraduate degree. In addition, the School encourages students with an equivalent and appropriate professional qualification or significant and relevant professional experience to apply.
A non-graduate may also be admitted to candidature provided that she/he has gained a minimum of three years professional experience relevant and appropriate to the programme and they can demonstrate a satisfactory level of writing /analytical skills.
The programme has attracted a wide range of professional and personal interests, from within the UK and elsewhere. This includes those in the fields of law, social policy, community work, inter-faith dialogue, diplomacy, politics and education. This MA programme is particularly suitable for students who have not previously studied Islam before at university level, and for mature students of all ages and backgrounds returning to education. It is also suitable option for those with some background interest in Islam or connections with Muslim communities, who wish to extend their horizons within this fascinating subject sphere. The MA is a platform through which the academic skills can be developed for individuals to progress to further postgraduate study (MPhil and PhD). The development of study skills, research methodologies and other 'transferable attributes' are an important component of the degree programme. Arabic is not a requirement for this MA.
- Islamic Studies is a long-standing discipline at the university
- Academic team that contributes to publications, specialist research, and participation in international conferences
- Excellent Continuing Professional Development for those working in the field of Islam or with majority and minority Muslim communities.
- Our staff are highly experienced teachers who have taught in different institutions and countries and who bring with them valuable expertise in guiding international students through their programmes of study.
On graduating with an MA Islamic Studies, students should be able to:
- demonstrate a critical understanding and competence in Islamic Studies;
- read and apply a wide variety of source materials critically and empathetically;
- develop advanced methodological and epistemological frameworks appropriate for the study of Islam;
- engage critically with a range of religious, political, cultural and social issues associated with Islamic Studies;
- demonstrate a thorough awareness, and critical evaluation, of current scholarship relating to the formation and development of Muslim communities in the UK (and internationally):
- demonstrate a critical understanding and competence in other academic disciplines relevant and useful to the subjects and material focused on in this programme of study;
- demonstrate multidisciplinary/interdisciplinary skills appropriate for the academic analysis of key issues and concepts associated with Islamic Studies;
- interpret and express balanced and informed independent opinion on significant issues in Islam, drawing on appropriate methodological tools.
Knowledge and Understanding:
On graduating with an MA Islamic Studies, students should be able to:
- display mastery of a complex and specialised area of knowledge and skills associated with Islamic Studies;
- employ advanced skills to conduct research into aspects of Islam and Muslim societies;
- critically evaluate concepts and evidence from a range of sources associated with Islamic Studies.
MA degrees are awarded to students who have demonstrated:
- a systematic understanding of knowledge, and a critical awareness of current problems and/or new insights, much of which is at, or informed by, the forefront of their academic discipline, field of study or area of professional practice;
- a comprehensive understanding of techniques applicable to their own research or advanced scholarship;
- originality in the application of knowledge, together with a practical understanding of how established techniques of research and enquiry are used to create and interpret knowledge in the discipline;
- conceptual understanding that enables the student to evaluate critically current research and advanced scholarship in the discipline;
- conceptual understanding that enables the student to evaluate methodologies and develop critiques of them and, where appropriate, to propose new hypotheses.
Holders of the qualification will be able to:
- Deal with complex issues both systematically, make sound judgments in the absence of complete data, and communicate their conclusions clearly to specialist and non-specialist audiences;
- Demonstrate self-direction in tackling and solving problems, and act autonomously in planning and implementing tasks at a professional or equivalent level;
- Continue to advance their knowledge and understanding, and to develop new skills at a high level.
Holders of this qualification will have:
- the qualities and transferable skills necessary for employment requiring the exercise of initiative and personal responsibility;
- the skills required for decision-making in complex and unpredictable situations;
- an independent learning ability required for continuing professional development.
Dr Gary Bunt
Dr Abdulrahman Alzaagy