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 is 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 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. At the end of the first year, you will sit a qualifying examination in the 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.
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 any subject.
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.
For applicants with a degree from the USA, the minimum GPA sought is 3.5 out of 4.0.
GRE General Test scores
Applicants from the US and others who hold Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores are recommended to submit these with their application. GMAT scores are not sought.
Graduates in Oriental studies 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 further information please see the Postgraduate Taught Courses Handbook.