MA Requirements


Student advising begins with admission to the program, at which time students are matched with one or more faculty members whose specialties relate to the student’s areas of interest.

During the first year, students meet quarterly with the program chair, who also serves as the graduate adviser. By the end of the first year, students must secure the agreement of a faculty member to serve as their supervisor and notify the student affairs officer of this arrangement. For the following terms of graduate study, students meet quarterly with their faculty supervisors and, as needed, with the student affairs officer.

Student progress is reviewed annually. At the beginning of Spring Quarter, all students meet with their faculty supervisors and provide them with a written summary of their progress toward the degree and their goals for the coming year. Students will be advised by the end of Spring Quarter as to whether their progress is sufficient to warrant continuation in the program.

Areas of Study

These areas of study are the same as listed under Major Fields or Sub-disciplines for the doctoral degree.

Foreign Language Requirement

Other than the language proficiency required for admission to the program, there is no foreign language requirement to attain the Master’s degree. Students who plan to go on for the PhD in Islamic Studies are strongly advised to continue their foreign language study to achieve required levels of proficiency in their research languages early in their graduate study so that language skills will be of maximum benefit. Students should see the doctoral language requirement under Doctoral Degree.

Course Requirements

A minimum of 12 courses (48 units) is required, five (20 units) of which must be at the graduate level. Two courses in the 500 series may be applied toward the degree, one of which may be applied toward the five-graduate course requirement. All courses applied toward the degree must be taken for a letter grade.

The 12 courses must be divided among three categories of courses as follows:

  • Category one.Three required courses: Middle East Studies 201, Islamic Studies 201, and ARA 220 (Themes in Islamic History 600-1250); or HIS 200J (offered either as Islamic Historiography or Historiography of the Modern Middle East).
  • Category two.Three courses that present specific methodological approaches to the study of Islam, such as Anthropology of Islam, Sociology of Islam, or Islamic Art. The student’s primary advisor must approve the courses selected, and certify that the courses meet the methodological specialization requirement.
  • Category three.Six additional courses from at least two different disciplines (not including language courses), and at least two geographic regions, chosen in consultation with the student’s primary advisor.

Teaching Experience

Not Required.

Field Experience

Not Required.

Comprehensive Examination Plan

The comprehensive examination requirement is fulfilled either by submitting a single paper (50-100 pages) that combines work in two or more fields of study, or by submitting one paper (maximum of 30 pages) in each of three fields. The paper or papers are evaluated by the student’s three faculty supervisors. Regardless of format, the comprehensive examination is graded, by a minimum vote of two, as (1) pass to continue for the Ph.D., (2) terminal M.A. pass, or (3) fail. Reexamination in exceptional cases will be determined by the interdepartmental degree committee.

Thesis Plan


Seven academic quarters is the expected time-to-degree for full-time students with no deficiencies upon admission.


MA 7 7 10


Termination of Graduate Study and Appeal of Termination

University Policy

A student who fails to meet the above requirements may be recommended for termination of graduate study. A graduate student may be disqualified from continuing in the graduate program for a variety of reasons. The most common is failure to maintain the minimum cumulative grade point average (3.00) required by the Academic Senate to remain in good standing (some programs require a higher grade point average). Other examples include failure of examinations, lack of timely progress toward the degree and poor performance in core courses. Probationary students (those with cumulative grade point averages below 3.00) are subject to immediate dismissal upon the recommendation of their department. University guidelines governing termination of graduate students, including the appeal procedure, are outlined in Standards and Procedures for Graduate Study at UCLA.

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