MA in Arab and Islamic Studies

Aarhus University

Program Description

MA in Arab and Islamic Studies

Aarhus University

MA in Arab and Islamic Studies


The days are gone when it made sense to study the Arab and Islamic worlds as a distant ‘other.’ Arab communities are to be found in Europe as well as in the Arab world, and Islam is a Western religion as well as an Arab one. The MA in Arab and Islamic Studies at Aarhus University therefore focuses on today’s globalised and transnational realities, on Islam and Muslims in Europe as well as in the Arab world.


Seminars and other courses are taught by active researchers, focusing on topics that they themselves have researched or are currently researching. Researchers choose topics – especially for the elective seminars – that reflect their own interests as well as the expected interests of students. Students thus experience cutting-edge research. They may also participate in the activities of the Islamic Cultures and Societies Research Unit.


Researchers attached to the Arab and Islamic Studies programme work not only on the Arab world but also on Europe, Turkey, Iran, and South Asia. Their research interests range from the reception of natural science to Sufism, from families of scholars to terrorism. Over and above these and other topics, students may if they wish also take relevant seminars offered by graduate programmes in the Study of Religion, in Anthropology and in Political Science, or relevant seminars offered at the University of Southern Denmark, Odense, which is 1½ hours by train from Aarhus.


The programme assumes that students have already spent some time studying Arabic, but that they need further help in transforming their linguistic skills into tools that can be used routinely. Two Arabic courses are thus included which differ from those normally taken at undergraduate level. The first, Arabic Text Reading, develops speed and fluency in using Arabic texts – skills like skimming, and locating and extracting information. The second, Arabic for Research Purposes, comes immediately before the thesis, for which students are expected to use Arabic sources in ways that make the best use of their own linguistic skills. Students who are strongest with formal written language use formal written texts, students who are strongest with informal spoken language use their skills in dialect, and so on.


A BA in Arab and Islamic Studies is required for admission to the MA programme. Students with a BA degree that partly matches this requirement may also apply for admission so long as they have a solid background both in Arabic (or, exceptionally, another ‘Islamic’ language) and in the study of the Arab and/or Islamic worlds.


All courses are taught in English. Knowledge of Arabic at an advanced level is required for the two Arabic-language courses and for the thesis (in exceptional circumstances another ‘Islamic’ language may be used).


During their first two semesters, students take a foundational course on Theory and Method in Arab and Islamic Studies, two required courses (Globalised and Transnational Islam, and Islam and Muslims in the West), two elective seminars, and one Arabic course. During their third semester, students take one further elective seminar and begin to prepare for the MA thesis, which is written in the fourth and final semester. Preparation takes the form of a course on Arabic for Research Purposes and an elective project.

During the elective project, students work individually under supervision, normally on the background to the topic on which they intend to write their thesis, but optionally on a separate topic that they wish to explore. Students have the option to change their minds: what was originally a separate topic may become the background to a thesis, or it may become an independent topic if a student decides to write a thesis on something else. It is also possible to substitute a further seminar for the special project.




EU/EEA/Swiss citizens: FREE

Others: EUR 8,000

This school offers programs in:
  • English

Last updated August 18, 2016
Duration & Price
This course is Campus based
Start Date
Start date
Sept. 2016
2 years
Full time
8,000 EUR
Start date Sept. 2016
Denmark Aarhus
Application deadline Request Info
End date Request Info
Duration 2 years
Price 8,000 EUR
; EU/EEA/Swiss citizens: FREE