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Islamic Studies

Vak EC Semester 1 Semester 2

Semester 1 (Fall Semester)

Common Core Courses

Theories and Methods of Middle East and Islamic Studies 10
Bi-weekly staff seminar in Middle East and Islamic Studies (Sem 1) 0
Start of thesis work (MA Islamic Studies) 0

Specialisation Courses: choose one or two of the following courses up to a total of 10 EC

Courses with a course load of 5 EC may be extended to 10 EC by writing an extra paper. Please, contact the convenor at the start of the course if you need or want 10 EC for a 5 EC course.

Anthropology of Islamic Law 10
Islamic Jurisprudence for Muslims in Europe: The Role of Fatwas 5
The Islamic Book: from Manuscript to Modern Media 10

Semester 2 (Spring Semester)

Common Core Courses

Bi-weekly staff seminar in Middle East and Islamic Studies (Sem 2) 0
MA Thesis (Islamic Studies) 20

Specialisation Courses: choose two or more of the following courses up to a total of 20 EC.

Courses with a course load of 5 EC may be extended to 10 EC by writing an extra paper. Please, contact the convenor at the start of the course if you need or want 10 EC for a 5 EC course.

European policies and jurisprudence concerning Muslims and Islam 5
Fatwas and the Dissemination of Religious Authority in Indonesia in the 20th Century 10
Islam and Modernity 10
Piety, Modernity, and Gender in Islam: Anthropological Perspectives 5
Text and Transmission 10

Meer info

Programme Details
Master’s thesis and requirements for graduation
Admission requirements
Contact information

Programme Details

Title: Master of Arts
Duration: 1 year, full-time
Start dates: September and February
Language of instruction: English
Responsibility: Programme director Master Islamic Studies, Prof. dr. L.P.H.M. Buskens. Website


The programme provides an introduction to the various theoretical and methodological approaches to historical, as well as current forms of Islam. The focus of the programme is on ‘Islam and Society’, with special emphasis on the comparative study of Muslim society. The programme’s aim is to provide students with the skills and insights required to conduct research in their chosen field of specialisation. Much of the research on Islamic Studies is based on written sources and archive material from Islamic cultures and societies. The programme particularly focuses on these sources, teaching students to establish their value and importance in a specific context, or as the basis for a hypothesis. Social and historical approaches to the field are given ample attention as well. The programme seeks to answer the growing demand for internationally oriented programmes that provide thorough training in the methodology of Islamic Studies. The objective of the master’s programme in Islamic Studies is threefold. First of all, the programme’s purpose is the acquisition of academic knowledge, insights and skills, along with the use of academic methods in studying the relations between Islam and society. Secondly, the programme aims to develop the students’ academic skills – e.g. thinking and working independently, analysing complex problems, academic reporting (both orally and in writing) of the results of individually conducted research, and acquiring skills specific to the field of study within a philosophical and social context. Finally, the third objective is preparing students for an academic career and further education or, alternatively, preparing them for a career outside the university.


The Master’s programme in Islamic Studies consists of two semesters of 30 EC each (= 60 EC). In the first semester all students take the course ‘Theories and Methods of Middle East and Islamic Studies’ (10 EC). In this course the emphasis lies on the relevance (or lack thereof) of contemporary theories, concepts and models from the social sciences for the study of the Middle East and Islam. Students are familiarised with a variety of methods to obtain and interpret information from different types of sources. In addition to this common course, students take one course out of the courses on offer. In the second semester, students do 20 EC more of course work choosing from several courses on offer. Throughout the entire year, all students are expected to work on their master’s thesis, worth 20 ects and attend the ‘Bi-weekly Staff Seminar Middle East and Islamic Studies’ in which the students and other invited speakers present their ongoing research.

Master’s thesis and requirements for graduation

In order to graduate, students must have successfully completed the 60 EC programme including their final thesis as a component of that programme. The thesis carries 20 EC, and as a rule should not exceed a maximum of 17,000 words including notes, bibliography and appendices. The thesis is supervised by a lecturer of the Department of Islamic Studies who possesses the appropriate expertise in the field addressed in the thesis. The Department ensures that students are put in contact with a lecturer from their own department for thesis supervision, preferably at the commencement of the programme.

Admission requirements

The MA programme in Islamic Studies caters to both Dutch and international students. English is the language of instruction for the entire programme. Therefore, a sound knowledge of English is required, as well as active knowledge of one Islamic language, preferably Arabic. Moreover, a basis of knowledge concerning Islam is obligatory. Students must either have completed a Bachelor’s programme in Islamic Studies, or they must possess an equivalent BA-degree. In case of doubt, the Board of Admissions will decide whether the applicant qualifies for the programme.

Contact Information

Mailing address

MA Islamic Studies
Secretariat Vrieshof 4, rm 112a
P.O.Box 9515
2300 RA Leiden
The Netherlands

Visiting address (also address for courier services)

Matthias de Vrieshof 4, 2311BZ Leiden
Witte Singel 25, 2311BG Leiden


Matthias de Vrieshof 4, room 112a

Opening hours
Monday, 13.30-15.30 hs
Tuesday, 10.00-12.30 hs
Wednesday, 10.00-12.30 hs
Thursday, 10.00-12.30 and 13.30-15.30 hs
Friday, 10.00-12.30 hs

Phone +31 (0)71 527 2253
Fax +31 (0)71 527 3310

Coordinator/Student adviser

N.A.N.M. van Os, MA
Phone: +31 (0)71 527 2937
Office hours: Tuesday, Thursday, 10-12 hs