MA in Islamic Studies


MA in Islamic Studies

Department of Religion, Columbian College of Arts and Sciences

The Master of Arts in Islamic Studies offers an insider’s perspective on Islamic tradition as a religion, a civilization, a culture and a political force. The GW Religion Department is the only graduate program in the country to offer a concentration in Shi’ism, in addition to Sunni Islam.

All graduate courses draw on the expertise of internationally published faculty as well as guest lecturers, including diplomats and spiritual leaders.

Curriculum Details

– Historical Component

Unlike other Islam programs, GW’s MA in Islamic Studies curriculum incorporates a historical component, focusing on both classical texts and modern Islam.

– Diversity of Material

Outside of core material, students are exposed to courses in history, political science and international affairs to gain insight into current politics, society and cultures of the Islamic world.

– Thesis and Language Requirements

All MA students must complete a graduate thesis and a language requirement in Arabic, Hindi, Persian, Sanskrit or another language relevant to their research.

The Shi’ism concentration incorporates core coursework in Shi’i thought, philosophy and principles. Students in the regular track in Islamic studies may also take courses from the Shi’ism track as electives. Comprehensive study including both major branches of Islamic tradition provides a full understanding of current issues in the world of Islam and what its future holds.

A limited number of full scholarships are available to MA students in the Shi’ism track. Scholarships are funded by the Imam Mahdi Association of Marjaeya (IMAM), an organization in the Washington, D.C., area that serves the needs of Shi’ite communities throughout North America.


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