The MSt in Islamic Art and Archaeology is a one-year degree which aims to provide tailor-made courses in order to train you at the beginning of your research in the history of Islamic art and architecture (to circa 1900) and in Islamic archaeology.
Before admission to this course, you will have demonstrated that you possess the necessary qualifications in Arabic or Persian or Ottoman Turkish to use primary sources in the original language for the study of Islamic art. You will have a supervisor who will guide your progress through the course and who will agree with you a programme of work and a timetable for each term of the course, including: general skills and research specific training, formal teaching and instruction, attendance at lectures and seminars, and regular meetings (normally at least twice per term) with your supervisor for detailed discussions on your progress.
You will be expected to attend tutorials, classes, lectures and seminars regularly, and tutors will give you regular assignments of written work. Tutors report to your supervisor on your progress at the end of each term, and the supervisor will write a formal report upon your work and progress during the term.
The final examination is taken at the end of the course and consists of four elements.
The first is a thesis of between 12,000 and 15,000 words in length (excluding bibliography), which should be equivalent to a substantial draft chapter or chapters of a proposed thesis for the MLitt or DPhil.
The second element is either a portfolio which introduces techniques to describe and analyse buildings and objects in a range of media (such as ceramics, epigraphy, manuscripts, metalwork, numismatics, and textiles) and which provide training with basic academic skills (such as presentation of work in a lecture or seminar, and writing museum display and book reviews) or a report or reports on practical work completed on an object or objects that will form part of a proposed thesis for the MLitt or the DPhil.
The third and fourth elements consist of any one of the three options below:
- a. two examination papers, which may be any combination of language and non-language papers (a year-long survey course on Islamic art is among the available options);
- b. two essays of 5,000 to 7,000 words each, which may be any two of the following:
- an essay on the theoretical issues raised by the subject which the candidate is proposing for the thesis for the MLitt or DPhil;
- an essay discussing the historical or literary background, or the source material, relevant to the proposed thesis for the MLitt or DPhil; or
- an essay discussing the historical or literary background, or the source material, relevant to the proposed thesis for the MLitt or DPhil.
- c. one examination paper under (a) above and one essay under (b) above.
The allocation of graduate supervision for this course is the responsibility of the Faculty of Oriental Studies and it is not always possible to accommodate the preferences of incoming graduate students to work with a particular member of staff. Under exceptional circumstances a supervisor may be found outside the Faculty of Oriental Studies.
As a minimum, applicants should normally hold or be predicted to achieve the equivalent of the following UK qualifications:
- a first-class or strong upper second-class undergraduate degree with honours in a course with a substantial component of either Islamic studies, Islamic history, Middle Eastern history, or anthropology of the Middle East, or language and language-related degrees in Arabic, Persian or Ottoman Turkish.
For applicants with a degree from the USA, the minimum GPA sought is 3.5 out of 4.0.
If your degree is not from the UK, visit our International Qualifications page for guidance on the qualifications and grades that would usually be considered to meet the University’s minimum entry requirements.
Other qualifications, evidence of excellence and relevant experience
- You should also have a sound knowledge of Islamic history.
- Applicants are only admitted to the MSt in Islamic Art and Archaeology if they can demonstrate, through their academic record and the written work and references supplied with their application, both the intention and the clear potential to progress to a research degree.
Many graduates have pursued doctoral study in Oxford and elsewhere, and/or successful careers at universities, museums, and in business-related fields worldwide. Examples of alumni’s current positions can be found on the Khalili Research Centre’s website.