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The MA Islamic Intellectual History 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 and transferable skills, to those planning to pursue further research in the field.

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 in combination with the Intensive Language pathway.

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 complete 180 credits, consisting of a dissertation (worth 60 credits) in addition to 120 credits of taught modules as outlined below.

Please note that on all Area Studies degrees, including the MA Islamic Intellectual History:

  • a maximum of 60 credits can be taken in any one subject area
  • a minimum of three subject areas must be covered.

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 from the department 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 - MA page on the SOAS University of London website for more details!

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