Netherlands Interuniversity School for Islamic Studies


Netherlands Interuniversity School for Islamic Studies

NISIS is a national research school for the study of Islam and Muslim societies.

NISIS functions as a prime hub for interdisciplinary scholarly exchange in the Netherlands, strengthening research and teaching cooperation between academics of different disciplinary backgrounds who study Islam and Muslim societies in all its variety and depth. NISIS reinforces and extends national and international networks of scholars by organizing high-quality schools and network days, and thus it contributes to the education of new generations of scholars in the field.

NISIS is a collaborative association of nine universities in the Netherlands constituting a national research  school  in  the field  of  the  study  of  Islam  and  Muslim  societies.

In 2009, eight Dutch universities decided to join forces in a national research school for Islamic studies: the Netherlands Interuniversity School for Islamic Studies (NISIS), which was officially established on 1 January 2010.

In 2013 Maastricht University joined the partnership, which means that NISIS now includes all Dutch universities with a substantive scholarship in Islamic studies. NISIS is the first successful Dutch endeavor to connect researchers and students from all disciplinary backgrounds working in the field of Islamic Studies.

NISIS covers the field in its broadest dimension, by acknowledging that Islam can only be properly studied from different disciplinary angles and with a multidisciplinary sensitivity, without ignoring its doctrinal, cultural and historical specificities. Students and researchers participating in NISIS activities have disciplinary backgrounds in law, history, religious studies, theology, anthropology, sociology, political studies, media studies, security studies and philology. NISIS covers a wide range of regional expertise, as geographically, NISIS members work on the Middle East, Africa, Turkey, Iran, Indonesia, Central Asia, Russia, China and Western Europe.

NISIS aims at:

  • Enlarging and deepening already existing knowledge of Islam and Muslim societies;
  • Creating an academic community in which research in the field of Islam and Muslim societies can be optimally pursued;
  • Mediating between a new generation of researchers and innovative disciplinary and interdisciplinary developments, theoretical and methodological initiatives and explorations in the field.

Through its training program, NISIS facilitates education for PhD candidates and research master students in the Netherlands doing research on Islam and Muslim societies. The NISIS training program aims at the following:

  • To provide insight and stimulate participation in the current academic debate;
  • To encourage students to write about and present projects throughout their PhD and Research master trajectory;
  • To introduce students to an international network of scholars in the field.

To achieve these aims NISIS organizes seasonal schools, network days and other educational activities on themes that are fundamental to the study of Islam and Muslim societies. NISIS is part of the network of Dutch national research schools in the Arts and Humanities (Landelijk Overleg Geesteswetenschappelijke OnderzoeksScholen, LOGOS) under the authority of the assembly of Deans of the Faculties of Arts and Humanities (Disciplineoverleg Letteren en Geschiedenis DLG).

Training Program

The NISIS training program offers educational activities, and thereby contributes to successful completion of individual research master programs or dissertation projects in the domain of the study of Islam and Muslim societies.


The NISIS Training Program offers NISIS PhD candidates and research master students the opportunity to obtain at least 11 EC a year. The Training Program consists of:

  • NISIS Spring School (5 EC)
  • NISIS Autumn School (5 EC)
  • NISIS Islamic Studies Network Day (1 EC)
  • Additional courses, workshops and seminars (from 1 EC)
  • Tailor-made training: NISIS offers the opportunity for research master students who need 10 EC a semester, to write an extra paper (up to 4 EC) on a subject related to the study of Islam and Muslim Societies. Please contact

In order to obtain credits for participation in the activities of the NISIS Training Program, PhD candidates and research master students will be evaluated under the authority of the NISIS board. The distinctive criteria listed in the course descriptions form the basis for these evaluations.

PhD candidates

PhD candidates who obtain 15 EC within the framework of the NISIS Training Program are eligible to receive the NISIS Research Certificate. Additional requirements to receive this certificate are: the EC are gained by participating in at least two Seasonal Schools and one NISIS Islamic Studies Network Day. All PhD candidates are welcome to continue participating in the NISIS Training Program after obtaining the NISIS Research Certificate.

PhD candidates who wish to shape their training program in a different way, may in principle do so, but should consult their supervisor beforehand and get his/her consent. The PhD candidate should hand in a tailored training program to the NISIS administration together with written approval from their supervisor. The NISIS examination board will then decide on the compatibility of the individual program with the NISIS Research Certificate.

Research master students

Research master students may obtain credits (EC) for their participation in the NISIS Training Program. After successful completion of the course requirements, NISIS issues an official certificate indicating the student’s participation in the NISIS training course as well as the course load in EC.

EC earned in the NISIS Training Program may be included in individual research master study programs by submitting NISIS certificates to the research master’s administration. The possibility to include EC earned in the NISIS Training Program in individual study programs is guaranteed for students enrolled in the faculties of Humanities throughout the Netherlands.

Students from other faculties at Dutch universities and students not enrolled at a university in the Netherlands need to consult their student counselor about the possibility to include EC earned in the NISIS Training Program in their individual study programs. Please note that formal recognition of EC obtained in the NISIS Training Program falls under the responsibility of the examination board of the respective study program.

Additional training activities

In addition to the regular NISIS training activities (the annual Autumn and Spring Schools, the annual NISIS Islamic Studies Network Day NISIS can facilitate in the organization of additional training activities, run by NISIS members. These activities may take several forms: one-day events (symposiums, workshops) or long-term activities (lecture series, theme groups).

Junior as well as senior NISIS members may apply for NISIS recognition and support for an additional training activity run by themselves. Applications have to be submitted to the NISIS board before the 1st of March of each year in order to become part of the NISIS curriculum of the following academic year. The NISIS examination and education committee reviews and awards the applications.


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