The MPhil in Islamic Studies and History is a two-year course intended primarily for students who desire an intensive introduction to Islamic history and thought in the pre-modern period. The course would be an excellent preparation for subsequent doctoral study.
The course focuses on the political, social, and intellectual history of the central Islamic lands (Egypt, the Fertile Crescent, the Arabian Peninsula, Iran, Central Asia and Anatolia) up until c.1800, and differs from analogous MPhil courses at other universities in the significance it places on language instruction in classical Arabic, Persian and Turkish, and the study of primary sources.
If you are already capable of carrying out research in one of these languages, you will be strongly encouraged to take up a second. Instruction and supervision are carried out by several members of the faculty’s teaching staff. You will be assigned a supervisor who is responsible for offering academic guidance throughout the course.
The first year of the course is devoted to intensive language instruction, six to eight hours per week, and an introduction to Islamic history (AD 570-1500) and religion taught through a combination of weekly lectures and classes. By the end of the first year you will have begun to read texts in the original language; if you are following the elementary course you will have sat a qualifying exam in whatever language you have been studying.
The second year is devoted to continuing language instruction, more focused work on two elective papers and a thesis. The year ends with a set of examinations. You will normally spend the summer between years one and two in the Middle East for language study and/or research connected with thesis work.
Oriental Studies graduates have found employment in many diverse fields including business, finance law, civil service, journalism, government and industry. Many graduates have also undertaken further research into subjects linked with Oriental studies and have pursued successful careers in the academic world, education and in museums.
For more information please refer to the MPhil Islamic Studies & History 2018-19 Course Handbook.