Aga Khan University and Columbia University announce the launch of a dual master’s degree
par Hassan Bouali ·
Aga Khan University’s Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilisations, AKU-ISMC, in London and Columbia University in New York are partnering to launch a dual master’s degree from September 2020 that will enable students to study and conduct original research in the rapidly evolving fields of Muslim Cultures and Islamic Studies.
The unique two-and-a-half-year degree brings together two of the world’s leading universities and gives students the opportunity to study a topic of global significance while based in London and New York: two of the world’s most diverse and multicultural cities.
Columbia University and the ISMC have jointly developed an advanced curriculum for the programme that includes a two-and-a-half-year sequence of reading and research seminars, interdisciplinary electives, and intensive foreign language training. Students will benefit from new cross-disciplinary frameworks and tools to understand Muslim cultures in a comparative and world-historical context, equipping them to engage creatively and critically with the opportunities and challenges faced by Muslim societies today.
“This is an excellent opportunity for students to experience two world-class programmes which complement and add value to each other in many ways,” said AKU-ISMC Dean, Professor Leif Stenberg. “Now more than ever we need to educate people to become leaders who have a deep and nuanced understanding of Islamic issues, enabling them to offer clear and thoughtful insight and guidance. The depth and breadth that this new programme offers is unique and will prepare a group of young people to tackle some of the most important and pressing issues of their generation.”
Both universities seek to create an Islamic Studies degree for the 21st Century that prepares graduates for a wide range of careers in government, journalism, public policy, international development, and academia. Upon completion, students will be awarded two degrees: the MA in Islamic Studies at Columbia University’s Middle East Institute and the MA in Muslim Cultures at AKU’s ISMC.
Kathryn Spellman Poots, Associate Professor, AKU-ISMC; Visiting Associate Professor, Columbia University; and Dual Degree Coordinator added: “We are delighted to launch this exciting dual degree program. Born from the values of pluralism, it brings together the world’s leading faculty, students and researchers who are advancing knowledge about Muslim cultures and civilisations, and bridging gaps of understanding in our divided world.”
Faculty from AKU-ISMC and Columbia University are already collaborating on projects related to early Islamic history and historiography, and gender and governance studies in Muslim contexts, and have plans to undertake research into digital methods to study the development of textual traditions; comparative work on Muslim arts and architecture; and music and popular culture.