Based in central London, the Aga Khan University Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilisations (ISMC) two-year MA Programme offers:

  • A distinctive way of understanding Muslim civilisations as they have evolved over time.
  • Stresses the plurality and complexity of past and present Muslim cultures, studying them as part of world cultures.
  • Employs the tools of the social sciences and humanities as a framework for learning.

Within the disciplines of social sciences and humanities, our students study a number of subjects including, development studies, economics, political science, art, architecture, history, literature, comparative religion and law.

The MA programme consists of a number of core and elective courses which includes a field-based Language Immersion Programme (Arabic, Persian or Turkish), a Communications and Leadership Programme as well as fieldwork which contributes to a dissertation.

Financial assistance is available in the form of loans and partial grants.

Teaching and Learning

Learning at ISMC is both classroom and field-based. During the summer of their first year, students participate in a Language Immersion Programme - travelling to a relevant country to immerse themselves in a language and culture different from their own. During their second year, students must prepare a dissertation following an optional field project on a theme of their choice.

Students also participate in a wide range of academic excursions during the course of the MA Programme and benefit from the facilities and activities offered by neighbouring institutions such as the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), the London School of Economics (LSE) and the British Library, among others.

Studying in London offers a great opportunity for listening to and meeting prominent international speakers.

Furthermore, the Institute's cultural events, academic workshops and seminars offer students another framework through which the cultures of Muslims can be considered. These events also serve as a chance to be exposed to ideas and meet eminent academics from a variety of disciplines.

Programme Structure

The MA in Muslim Cultures is a two-year programme which consists of a number of different elements: core and elective courses, a field-based Language Immersion Programme, a Communications and Leadership Programme and fieldwork which contributes to a dissertation.

Courses are grouped into five components.

  • Introduction to the Humanities and Social Sciences
  • Muslim Heritages as Part of World Cultures
  • Contemporary Muslim Contexts
  • Methodologies
  • Languages

During the two-year MA Programme, students must complete a total of 24 courses, consisting of:

  • 15 core courses
  • 6 language courses
  • 3 electives

Students are also required to complete a language immersion programme and a leadership skills programme.

During their second year, students prepare a dissertation of up to 20,000 words following an optional field project on a theme of their choice.

In general, assessment is based on presentations, written assignments and examinations. Passing the dissertation is a prerequisite for graduation from the MA Programme.


To be considered for admission to the MA Programme, applicants are required to hold the following:

  • An undergraduate degree (equivalent to a UK bachelor’s degree), from an accredited/recognised university, preferably in the humanities or social sciences.

English Proficiency Requirement

  • A valid IELTS (Academic) result – Overall band score: 6.5 (with a minimum of 5.5 in all four components). Both overall and individual component requirement must be met. Please note that we only accept IELTS results from test centres approved by UK Visas and Immigration. For more information, please visit their website (UKVI ). Please note that without a valid and approved IELTS test result, we will not be able to consider your application.
  • An applicant is deemed to have met the language requirement if they are a national of one of the following countries: Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, the Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Canada, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, New Zealand, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, the United Kingdom and the United States of America.
  • AKU-ISMC uses the UK NARIC database to determine the equivalency of international qualifications. If you are not sure about the equivalency of your qualifications, you are encouraged to contact Assistant Registrar, ISMC before making an application.

Tuition Fees

The annual tuition fee for the academic year beginning September 2016 is £11,710. In cases where a student withdraws from the MA Programme, tuition for the entire term will be charged. Alternatively, students may pay their fees in four instalments of £2,927.50.

Program taught in:
This course is Campus based
Start Date
Aug 2019
2 years
11,710 GBP
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Start Date
Aug 2019
End Date
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Aug 2019

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