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The MA Islamic Intellectual History and Intensive Langauge is a programme on historical Islamic studies, offering in-depth study of the intellectual, religious and cultural history of the Islamic world, past and present, and of wider socio-political contexts.

It has broad thematic coverage, including philosophy, theology, political thought, law, historiography and palaeography, as well as a regional coverage that includes the Middle East, South Asia and Central Asia.

This programme suits students from different academic backgrounds and prospective personal objectives, from those interested in broadening their knowledge of Islam and the Muslim world and developing intellectual, transferable and language skills, to those planning to pursue further research in the field.

The two-year Intensive Language pathway is directed at students who want to engage with the Near and Middle East, Asia and Africa in a professional as well as academic way. Our intensive language programmes inlude Arabic, Persian, Turkish, South East Asian languages, Swahili, Japanese and Korean.

Language

Students need not know a language other than English to apply for this programme. However, they will have the opportunity to take modules involving the study of primary texts in Arabic, Persian, Ottoman Turkish or Syriac should they have the required language proficiency. The programme may also be taken without the Intensive Language component.

Studying at SOAS

We offer access to unparalleled scholarly and cultural resources and activities relevant to the study of Islam and the Islamic world, both at the School and elsewhere in London. The SOAS Library and British Library have some of the best specialist collections in the world. Activities include conferences, lectures and seminars, exhibitions and reading groups. The annual international conferences of the British Association for Islamic Studies and the British Society for Middle Eastern Studies, which showcase current research, often take place in, or within easy reach of, London and offer postgraduate students excellent opportunities to connect with the wider field.

Structure

Students must take 315 credits in total, comprised of 255 taught credits (45 of which are taught abroad as part of a Summer School) and a 60-credit dissertation as outlined below.

In their first year, students on the two-year Intensive Language programmes take 60 credits of intensive language instruction and 60 credits in the discipline. During the summer, they participate in a Summer School abroad. In the second year, they take another 30 language credits as well as 60 credits in the discipline; they also complete their dissertation in the discipline. 

The Arabic component is available at beginner, intermediate and advanced level.

For information on the programme structure for the four-year part-time version of the programme, please see the pdf programme specification at the bottom of this page.

A list of modules can be found here.

Teaching & Learning

Knowledge

  • How to assess data and evidence critically from manuscripts and digital sources, solve problems of conflicting sources and conflicting interpretations, locate materials, use research-sources (particularly research-library catalogues) and other relevant traditional sources.
  • Subject-specific skills are an amalgam of the skills described for each of the three options chosen by candidates from the cross-department/faculty choices available in the relevant course-descriptors.

Intellectual (thinking) skills

  • Students will learn to become precise and cautious in their assessment of evidence and should also come to understand through practice what documents can and cannot tell us.
  • Students will learn to question interpretations, however authoritative, and reassess evidence for themselves.
  • Communicate effectively in writing.

Subject-based practical skills

  • Language-students will learn the chosen language at the appropriate level.
  • Present seminar-papers.
  • Listen and discuss ideas introduced during seminars
  • Practise research-techniques in a variety of specialised research-libraries and institutes.

Transferrable skills

  • Writing good essays and dissertations.
  • Structure and communicate ideas effectively, both orally and in writing.
  • Study a variety of written and digital materials in libraries and research-institutes of a kind they will not have used as undergraduates.
  • Present (non-assessed) material orally.

Employment

Graduates in MA Near and Middle Eastern Studies have entered various professions after leaving the School. Some have been able to pursue careers directly related to their study area while others have made use of the general intellectual training provided by the advanced study of cultures for involvement in analysing and solving many of the problems contemporary societies now face. Among a variety of professions, career paths may include academia, charity work, community, government, NGOs, media and publishing, UN agencies SOAS Careers Services The School has a careers service available to all SOAS students while they are at the school, free of charge. This office helps with job listings, interviews during "milk rounds", putting together CVs, and even organising postgraduate study.


Visit the Islamic Intellectual History and Intensive Language - MA page on the SOAS University of London website for more details!

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