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Study at CIS

MA in Islamic Studies

This masters concentration has a primary focus on the study of contemporary Islam within its theological, historical, and cultural contexts. 

The MA program is a two-year program of advanced graduate study and research. Students complete four semesters of courses as well as supervised thesis research, working closely with the CIS faculty. Students are required to take foundational courses in Islamic Studies, and may take a variety of electives at the member schools of the Graduate Theological Union and at UC Berkeley. Students are also required to take two courses of Arabic study.


PhD Concentrations in Islamic Studies

The GTU offers several PhD concentrations within the field of Islamic Studies, including concentrations in Islamic Sacred Texts, Islamic Studies (History and Culture), and Islamic Philosophy and Theology. For more information about the GTU’s doctoral program, click here.  


Certificate in Islamic Studies

The Certificate in Islamic Studies is designed for two types of students: 1) GTU MDiv, MA, or PhD students in other areas who wish to demonstrate a basic command of Islamic studies. 2) Students from outside the GTU, particularly educators in the Islamic community, who want to have some systematic graduate training in Islamic Studies, but are not prepared to undertake an MA or PhD. Interested students should register their intention with the Office Manager of the Center for Islamic Studies as early as possible in their course of study.


Six courses in Islamic Studies, one of which may be devoted to a thesis. No more than two courses (in addition to the thesis if elected) may be directed reading. Two of the courses should be the MA survey courses: Introduction to Islam and Foundations and Sources of the Islamic Tradition (or their equivalents).

Application Procedure and Tuition

Applicants who are not already enrolled at GTU must submit transcripts, a statement of purpose, and a Special Student Application. Letters of recommendation may be requested. Tuition will be the same as that of our special students.

To apply contact: Office of Admissions, Graduate Theological Union, 2400 Ridge Road, Berkeley, CA 94709
Phone: 1-800-826-4488; E-mail:

Procedures for Filing for a Certificate in Islamic Studies

In September or February of your last semester, schedule an appointment with the CIS Director to verify completion of the required course work. Bring your completed Verification of Course Work form, a copy of your most recent grade report, and your current semester’s registration statement to verify that the courses were/are being taken.

Two weeks before the filing deadline submit your signed Verification of Course Work form together with the signed Administrative Check Sheet to the CIS Office Manager who will submit them to the GTU’s Academic Secretary. Filing deadlines are usually October 1st in fall and the first Friday in April in spring. Be sure to check the Extended Calendar to be certain.