Director, Middle East Institute: Brinkley Messick
Degree Programs: Full-Time/Part-Time: Free-Standing M.A.
M.A. Advisor: Hossein Kamaly
The M.A. in Islamic Studies focuses on cultural, political, and religious history of Islam and the nations and populations linked to this practice of faith. Students pursue their interest in the field through the course offerings of several departments at the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences as well as, to a lesser extent, other schools at Columbia. Courses give students the foundation to specialize in one period or interdisciplinary area as they design an individual program of study in consultation with the program coordinator. The program concludes with a thesis on a limited topic within the student's area of concentration.
In addition to the requirements listed below, all students must submit one transcript showing courses and grades per school attended, a statement of academic purpose, and two letters of recommendation.
The statement of academic purpose allows the university to evaluate your ability to succeed academically and the reasons you wish to undertake the degree. It should describe briefly your academic and/or professional background (relevant coursework, professional experience or other activity pertaining to your academic interests); indicate your plans for graduate study at Columbia; and explain clearly the relation of your studies to your plans after completing the M.A.
The writing sample should be 15-20 pages long, preferably a paper that you have written for a course pertaining to the general field of Islamic Studies. Alternatively, you may provide a focused essay written in an academic style that examines an article, book, exhibit or event relevant to your field of interest.
If you have recently received an academic degree or have recent academic experience, letters of recommendation from faculty are preferred. If you have not been enrolled in an academic program in recent years, professional recommendations are acceptable.
All international students whose native language is not English or whose undergraduate degree is from an institution in a country whose official language is not English must submit scores of the TOEFL or IELTS exams. For more information, refer to the Information for International Students page.
Students entering in the fall may apply for Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) Fellowships. If you are applying for the FLAS Fellowship, you must submit your admission application, including the FLAS essay, by the fellowship application deadline.