The Institute of Ismaili Studies

The Institute of Ismaili Studies



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Academic and Student Services

Academic Support

There are several ways that students are given academic support throughout their two-year study at the IIS.

Pre-sessional English language courses

Most students who have not had an experience of studying in an English-speaking country are enrolled on a pre-sessional language course, the period of study being dependent on the language test scores achieved. Those with the minimum-required (or in some cases, slightly lower) scores are normally enrolled on a 4-12 week course.

In-house Support

Includes one-to-one sessions with individual Academic Advisors, lecturers, and the Academic Support Programmes Adviser (ASPA). Students are encouraged to learn from the comments of the lecturers and to discuss their progress with their teachers and Academic Advisors as well as the ASPA and the GPISH Coordinator.

  • Academic Advisors

All students are allocated an Academic Advisor at the IIS, who will track and monitor their academic progress. Academic Advisors act as mentors and provide students with appropriate support throughout the Programme.

  • Academic Support Programmes Coordinator at the IIS
Students who need support will be able to meet regularly with the IIS’ Academic Support Programmes Coordinator. The ASPCO will be able to provide regular academic support in the form of one-to-one tutorials and consultations.
These sessions will mostly be in person or, as the coordinator sometimes has to travel for work, sometimes remotely via Skype or email. The Coordinator can check work and give feedback when needed, and also suggest strategies for ongoing improvement of academic writing, English language proficiency, and general study skills.
  • Writing Support

In addition to consultations with the ASPCO, the following are the main forms of writing support that are available:

-Students have access to an academic writing guide on MOODLE (the IIS virtual learning environment)
-Online writing support: Students have access to an online writing support website.
-When possible, assistance with the writing of the History Project in Year 1 is provided for students by a designated IIS PhD scholar.

Library Resources

In 2014, The Institute of Ismaili Studies (IIS) and the Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilisations (AKU-ISMC) agreed to establish one joint library instead of retaining the two separate libraries. The merging of the libraries aims to meet the Institutes’ teaching needs and cater to their academic programmes while continuing to build a unique collection on Islamic studies.

In its relatively short history, the IIS-ISMC Library has grown into a leading centre and repository for rare and significant resources illustrative of the pluralism of Ismaili thought and tradition. The Library’s collection comprises nearly 42,000 items covers Islamic studies and Muslim civilisations.
Its general collection of printed materials consists of reference works, books, periodicals, and theses on various aspects of Islamic history, theology, philosophy, law and literature, with a focus on Shi‘i works and esoteric traditions.
Besides this core collection in Islamic studies, the Library has a specialised holding of Ismaili printedmaterials comprising nearly over 1,300 volumes of texts and monographs.

A special collection of rare books is also being developed. In addition to the printed materials, the Library also subscribes to a number of electronic resources that provides full text journal articles for library users.While printed texts have existed for over five hundred years, an ever-increasing amount of materials, in more recent times, is being produced in a wide range of audiovisual formats.

This is also true in the field of Islamic and Ismaili studies. As such, the Library has begun collecting photographs and images, as well as film, video and sound recordings. The collections of audiovisual materials in the Library seek to illustrate the cultures and traditions of Muslim communities around the world.

In addition to The IIS Library, students have access to specialised library collections in Islamic Studies at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), Senate House and at the British Library.

Conference Fund

Students are encouraged to attend and participate in conferences. The Department contributes a modest amount towards the costs. Preference is given to those students who are presenting a paper.

IT Facilities and Support

The IIS provides Mac and PC-based general computing facilities, including standard software and email applications and internet access. In addition, an IT loan scheme enables students to purchase a laptop computer.

Student Services

The Student Services unit is part of the Department of Graduate Studies. The unit is responsible for overseeing all IIS student services and administrative matters relating to student welfare including accommodation, immigration and academic records for our students. The unit works closely with the Head of Department, GPISH Coordinator and other administrative and support units within the IIS. The Student Services staff can offer advice, guidance and professional support in many areas, and actively works to promote equality of opportunity. All services offered are designed to meet the needs of students from all programme areas regardless of age, background, study methods or other differences.

Counselling Services

Among the services available to IIS students, is access to Counselling. It can be useful talking to a counsellor if you encounter difficulties of a personal nature which interfere with your ability to concentrate or study effectively. The IIS has made arrangements with an external Counselling Service, for students to have access to counsellors. The latter have long experience in dealing with both postgraduate and undergraduate students including those from overseas.

Disability Support

Students with disability will be fully supported to achieve equality of opportunity for success in their studies. Disabled students are invited to discuss their needs with the IIS' Student Services. All discussions are in complete confidence.


The IIS has a contract with a UK student housing company to provide single accommodation for all IIS students (exceptions may apply for married students) for the first year and up to August 31 in year 2. Students in their third year may apply for IIS sponsored accommodation subject to availability; or apply to their destination university. The rooms are based in “Cluster Flats”with individual rooms, each with its own en-suite shower room. Each cluster, has four to six rooms with a shared kitchen and living area. All students are required to live in this residence. The IIS will only agree to allow those students with exceptional circumstances to reside elsewhere.

IIS Alumni Association

The IIS alumni body now consists of several hundred individuals dispersed across the world. As alumni of the IIS, GPISH graduates become members of the IIS’ Alumni Association which offers them a number of benefits, including: (a) opportunities to participate in academic seminars; (b) access to research and conference participation grants of up to £500 (subject to availability of budget and approval of application; (c) networking opportunities at annual Chapter Group meetings; (d) an annual Alumni Newsletter; and (e) opportunities to share news and publish research via a dedicated domain on the IIS website.
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The Institute of Ismaili Studies - Academic and Student Services
Last updated: 05/05/2015 15:25