Centre for Islamic and West Asian Studies (CIWAS)


Centre for Islamic and West Asian Studies (CIWAS)

The Centre for Islamic and West Asian Studies (CIWAS) is the product of an exciting new collaboration between Royal Holloway, University of London and the Imam Sadr Foundation (ISF) and affiliated donors. While based in the Department of Politics and International Relations at Royal Holloway, CIWAS provides an institutional base for Royal Holloway scholars whose research relates in some way to Islamic and West Asian studies, including researchers in the departments of History, Music, Geography, Theatre, English, and Economics, and in the School of Law and the School of Management.

Its mission is to foster an exchange of ideas and knowledge among students and scholars from East and West, and across disciplines, on Islam, Islamic societies, and West Asia.

Its aim is to contribute to the conversation being carried on, in London and around the world, on the future of West Asian societies by considering how Islam might contribute to the search for solutions to problems faced, both by contemporary West Asian societies, and by humanity more broadly.


Privileged by unconditional supports from external partners (including IRIC) and as a new initiative of Royal Holloway University, CIWAS is glad to run new programs in coming academic year. These programs are envisioned as developing and expanding through collaborations with its institutional partners from West Asia, some of which have been centers for Islamic and regional studies for more than a millennium. Our programs are designed for students who are seeking to gain knowledge of the Islamic and West Asian worlds, and those interested either in a career in international affairs or in pursuing further research on Muslim and West Asian communities. As September 2018, CIWAS would focus on three streams of programs:

  • MA in Islamic & West Asian Studies

A one-year Master by Taught offered by departments of Politics and International Relations and History at Royal Holloway which prospective students with a robust understanding of history and contemporary politics of Islam and West Asia. This program includes two core courses of Introduction to the Historical Study of the Modern Muslim World, Islam and West Asia in International Relations, along with a core method course. A wide range of optional courses are available to students to further strengthen their study of Islamic societies and West Asian communities.

  • MPhil in Islamic & West Asian Studies

A two-year Master of Philosophy for those prospective students who are more interested in pursuing a research pathway in understanding Islamic and West Asian studies. Those pursuing an MPhil Degree at CIWAS are required to attend MA program core courses during the first semester and are offered Farsi or Arabic instruction in Iran or Lebanon for four months. After they return, students work with their supervisors to develop and complete a dissertation that draws on resources in the language, which they have studied.

  • PhD with Focus on Islamic & West Asian Studies

CIWAS affiliated faculty, are available to supervise research projects carried out at the frontiers of knowledge in Islamic and West Asian studies with a thesis that makes an original contribution to knowledge. The PhD students will get regular progress reviews, an oral upgrade exam, and a major annual review for which they’ll usually prepare a written submission. With advice from the supervisors, students are responsible for deciding when to submit their thesis, which normally takes three to four years after their enrolment.


  • Reading Group on Islam

We are setting up a reading-discussion group on Islamic subjects in Royal Holloway to introduce, read and write about all the different creative ideas we come up with, while reading Islamic texts. The plan is to get together and discuss chapters of books, articles, news, and other materials we agree to read on the subject. The meeting location would be in London, and the textbook we’d be starting with would be Mofazzal’s Monotheism.

Mofazzal’s Monotheism is a book that contains the teachings of Imam Sadeq, an Islamic saint, living in 8th century AD to one of his students, Mofazzal. It is a religio-scientific text that contains his teachings on nature, creation, casualty and scientific reasoning.


– A study of Islamic law and political power in the Ottoman Empire’s richest provincial city
– The Multiculturalism Backlash and the Mainstreaming of Islamophobia Post 9/11
– The Emergence of Socialist Thought Among North Indian Muslims (1917-1947)



Deputy Director


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