About the MA and PhD Programs in Islamic Studies
The UCLA International Institute is home to one of the nation's premier programs in Islamic Studies, which works closely with the Center for Near Eastern Studies, founded in 1957 in order to coordinate instruction and research in the languages, humanities and social sciences disciplines essential to an understanding of the region. Over the next decade, the Center and affiliated faculty developed the Islamic Studies program, which has awarded some 75 advanced degrees since its establishment.
Published: Tuesday, October 12, 2004
The interdepartmental degree program in Islamic Studies provides opportunities for study of the major languages, literatures, history, culture, and religious traditions of the populations of regions where Islamic-influenced civilizations have had, or continue to have, the greatest impact. Linguistics skills, historical knowledge, and cultural understanding are the foundation on which the disciplinary paradigms and methodologies of both the social sciences and humanities can be applied. Within this broad framework, students are encouraged to construct individualized curricula that will prepare them to carry out cutting-edge dissertation research leading to the Ph.D.
The program for the Master of Arts and Ph.D. degrees in Islamic Studies is designed primarily for students desiring to prepare for an academic career. It may, however, be found useful for students seeking a general education and desiring a special emphasis in this particular area or for those who plan to live and work in predominantly Muslim areas and whose career will be aided by a knowledge of the people, languages, and institutions. Such a career might be centered on teaching, research, business, engineering, journalism, librarianship, or government service.
Other than the required core course, practically all courses are taken in affiliated departments and programs. Applicants should therefore study the course offerings and the research and teaching interests of the faculty in various departments (see below, Affiliated Schools, Departments and Programs).
Prospective students can consult with the Graduate Counselor, Magda Yamamoto. They may also contact individual faculty members in their fields of interest.
Eligible applicants are encouraged to apply for fellowships listed in the online application for admission. Based on student applications, the Islamic Studies program chair may nominate candidates for University-wide Graduate Division awards such as the Chancellor's Fellowship, the Graduate Opportunity Fellowship and the Eugene Cota Robles Fellowship. These prestigious awards may be multiple-year offers, and recipients are notified by the Graduate Division in Spring. The chair may also nominate new and continuing students for a number of Graduate Division awards with special eligibility requirements.
Additional information on financial aid, including merit- and need-based scholarships, loans and Federal Work Study, is available from the Financial Aid Office.
The Center for Near Eastern Studies administers the Title VI Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) Fellowships for the Middle East area. Fellowships for the academic year and for intensive summer language study are open to new and continuing graduate students in all UCLA departments and programs.
CNES also offers faculty research grants which may include provision for graduate student research assistance. Students should contact individual faculty members regarding Research Assistantships which may also be funded from other sources.
The Islamic Studies program does not currently offer Teaching Assistantships or Readerships. However, students in the program have gained experience in TA and Reader positions in the departments of Anthropology, History, Near Eastern Languages and Cultures, and Political Science and in the Communication Studies program. Students are encouraged to contact individual departments and faculty members regarding Teaching Assistant and Reader positions.
Advanced Islamic Studies students have also been successful in competing for Teaching Assistantships in UCLA Extension and at other Southern California institutions of higher learning such as UC Santa Barbara, UC Riverside, Loyola University and the Claremont Graduate University School of Religion.
Doctoral students in the 2nd, 3rd or 4th year may nominate themselves for the Graduate Summer Research Mentorship Program which promotes the opportunity to work closely with a faculty mentor in developing a paper for presentation at an academic conference and/or for publication.
Doctoral candidates may apply for the Dissertation Year Fellowship which is intended for students entering their final year of graduate school and planning to start teaching and research appointments soon after the end of the year. Nominations for the Dissertation Year award are made by the faculty committee.
The Graduate and Postdoctoral Extramural Support Database (GRAPES), maintained by the Graduate Division's Outreach, Diversity and Fellowships Office, catalogs approximately 400 major extramural scholarships, fellowships, internships and awards for graduate students and postdoctoral scholars. Students should apply directly to prospective granting agencies. Application deadlines vary.
Prospective and current graduate students may also subscribe to the Gradfellowships-L listserv which announces extramural funding opportunities for graduate study, travel abroad, dissertation and postdoctoral research.
CNES offers FLAS Fellowships for intensive summer language study at faculty-approved programs in the Middle East and North Africa. CNES also maintains links with members of the Council of American Overseas Research Centers, including centers in Egypt, Tunisia, Turkey and Yemen. Students in the Islamic Studies program have benefitted from the fellowships and overseas research facilities offered by these centers. Another resource available to students is the Center for Arabic Study Abroad (CASA) which offers academic-year and summer fellowships for the study of Arabic at the American University in Cairo.
The UCLA Library houses nearly 8 million volumes. Its holdings on Islam, the Middle East and Central Asia, numbering in excess of 350,000 volumes, constitute one of the most significant research collections in the US. Middle East and Central Asian vernacular language books and periodicals number well over 120,000 titles. Holdings are particularly strong in Arabic, Persian, Ottoman, Modern Turkish and several Central Asian languages. The collection of materials from Yemen and the Persian Gulf countries is considered the most comprehensive in the US.
The Library collects Arabic newspapers, periodicals and monographs from Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Syria, Tunisia, East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza. Materials are acquired on a regular basis directly from Israel, Turkey and Iran as well as from countries in formerly Soviet Central Asia. Exchange relationships have been established with national libraries and universities in Algeria, Azerbaijan, Iran, Kuwait, Lebanon, Morocco, Qatar, Syria, Tunisia, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates for the purpose of obtaining materials that are not commercially available. The Library also acquires materials in the languages of Middle East diaspora communities around the world.
UCLA has significant manuscript holdings in Arabic, Ottoman Turkish and Persian. The Digital Library Program is developing a pilot catalog that will support search and record display in these languages. Graduate students with the requisite language skills and scholarly motivation are involved in examining manuscripts and creating records.
In addition to the Young Research Library, UCLA has libraries specialized in the Arts, Biomedicine, Law, Management, Maps and Government Information, Music, Science and Engineering, and Seventeenth- and Eighteenth-Century Studies, as well as the personal collections of past CNES directors Gustav E. von Grunebaum and Malcolm Kerr. The Art History department has a collection of 14,000 slides on the Middle East and the Islamic world. The UCLA Film and Television Archive and the Media Library house some 1,000 documentary and feature films and many newsreels on the Middle East. The Fowler Museum of Cultural History maintains and exhibits a growing collection of artifacts from throughout the region.
The Center for Near Eastern Studies and its Islamic Studies Program serve as a nexus of academic activities, such as the international Giorgio Levi Della Vida Conference and Award which honors outstanding scholars for their contributions to the field and to the profession. As an Organized Research Unit of the University of California, the Center facilitates collective research projects which have focused on Islam and the Political Regime, the Arab-Islamic Heritage (Turath), and Middle East Diaspora Studies. As a National Resource Center of Excellence, the Center engages precollegiate educators, institutes of higher learning, the media and the business community in an ongoing discourse on Islamic cultures and societies. UCLA's diverse faculty and student body contribute to the international milieu that makes the University a hub for Islamic Studies in Southern California, home of the largest Muslim community in the US.
Career opportunities for specialists in Islamic Studies are increasing, and UCLA provides world-class academic and professional training to meet the growing demand for experts in the social sciences, humanities and professional fields.
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