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MIRS: Islamic Studies Specialization

The Masters in International and Regional Studies (MIRS) Islamic Studies specialization is designed for students focusing on Islam as a world religion and global Muslim peoples, societies, and history. The program provides a thorough grounding in the inter-regional study of Islamic communities, history, and civilization.

Anchored in the Global Islamic Studies Center (GISC), the MIRS Islamic Studies specialization draws upon GISC’s extraordinary depth in scholarship and research. As part of the MIRS - Islamic Studies specialization, you will have access to more than 50 active research scholars and faculty members from a wide array of departments and professional schools.

The annual application deadline is December 15. See the MIRS Admissions page for more information.

Curriculum (36 credits)

In the MIRS - Islamic Studies specialization, you will complete a total of 36 credits, distributed over at least two academic disciplines, at the 400-level or above. 

  • 27 of these credits are in your field of specialization: Islamic Studies. 

  • The remaining 9 credits are required for all MIRS students, including two core courses, a graduate colloquium, and a graduate professional development workshop.

MIRS Requirements (9 credits)

Core Courses

  • Research Design Seminar (3 credits): In this seminar, you will sharpen critical thinking, analytical skills, research design, and writing strategies.

  • Capstone (4 credits): To complete the program, you will complete a capstone, with a focus on either research, coursework, or work experience related to your specialization. Select one of the options below:

    • Master’s Thesis: research project supervised by a faculty member

    • Additional Research Seminars: six additional credits of graduate seminars with a substantial independent research component

    • Practicum: internship or work experience related to your specialization combined with a 3-credit course, with a significant research component, on a related topic
       
  • Graduate Colloquium (2 credits): You will participate in two semesters of engaged discussions covering topics of global significance, including programs (guest lectures and relevant events) and participation in moderated online and in-person discussions.

Islamic Studies Specialization Requirements (27 credits)

The Islamic Studies specialization offers you a unique opportunity to enjoy a wide range of core subjects, while also enabling you to dig into a specific area within the field of modern Islamic scholarship.

  • At least 18 credits: Islam is global, which is why you’re required to study Muslim society and history in more than one region, or supplement in-depth focus on a single region with coursework relevant to Muslim communities and culture worldwide.

  • Up to 9 credits: Language requirements are a part of the MIRS Islamic Studies specialization. Before you complete the program, you will attain intermediate oral and written proficiency in a relevant language as approved by the Islamic Studies advisor. 

    • You will choose a language in consultation with an Islamic Studies academic advisor. 

    • The language requirement may be fulfilled by coursework or by demonstrating proficiency via a placement exam. 

    • Up to 9 credits earned in advanced language courses (400-level or above) may be counted toward the minimum credit requirement.

    • For more on the Islamic Studies language requirement, please contact MIRS-info@umich.edu.  

Sample Plan of Study:

Masters in International and Regional Studies
Specialization: Islamic Studies
Capstone Project: Thesis

Year 1

FALL (10 credits)

Colloquium (required core class)

1

Research Design /  Methods in Islamic Studies (II)

3

Islamic Law / Shariah (Middle Eastern Studies)

3

Fifth Year Arabic I

3

WINTER (10 credits)

Islamic Intellectual History (Islam)

3

Colloquium (II, required core class)

1

Islam in/and Russia (REEES)

3

Fifth Year Arabic II

3

Year 2

FALL (11 credits)

The History of Shi’ism (History)

3

Thesis Writing Capstone (II)

2

Everyday Lives in the Middle East: Anthropological Perspectives (Anthropology)

3

Islamic Movements in Comparative Perspective (Middle Eastern Studies)

3

WINTER (5 credits)

Peace and Non-Violence in Islamic Cultures (Middle Eastern Studies)

3

Thesis Writing Capstone (II)

2

Total Credits

36

For more information, contact MIRS-info@umich.edu.

The annual application deadline is December 15.