Ten students from four countries were accepted into the Institute’s Graduate Programme in Islamic Studies and Humanities (GPISH), which began in October. The students were selected from a pool of nearly 300 applicants. They have embarked on an intensive two-year course in the faith, culture and thought of Muslim societies, leading to a Masters degree from a British university in a relevant area of specialisation.

Ten years after its launch, the Graduate Programme continues to attract high-calibre students, with a variety of academic backgrounds, from North America, Central and South Asia, Europe and the Middle East. This year’s intake includes students from Canada, Iran, Pakistan and Tajikistan.

The Programme provides an interdisciplinary approach to the materials of Muslim culture and thought, and encourages a perspective that is not confined to the theological and religious heritage of Islam, but seeks to explore the relationship of religious ideas to broader dimensions of society and culture.

The first two years of the programme are spent developing language skills and engaging in a wide range of courses bridging the fields of History, Religious Studies, the Social Sciences, Philosophy and Art. Their course of study will include modules such as: Approaches to the Study of Religion; The History of Philosophy; The Qur'an: Meaning, History, and Text; Fatimids; Islam and Modernity.

At the end of the first year, students have the opportunity to immerse themselves in Arab culture and language through a summer programme in an Arabic-speaking country. In the past, students have attended courses in Egypt, Morocco and Yemen. The Class of 2007 is expected to go to Syria for their Arabic immersion course.

In the summer of the second year, students apply the lessons learned from the classroom to field projects designed with their own research interests in mind. In the past countries as varied as China, India, Canada, Syria, Tajikistan and Tanzania have been chosen.

More information on the Programme can be obtained from the Graduate Studies pages of the website.