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The Master's in Islam in the Modern World is a one-year programme that offers you an in-depth interdisciplinary framework to engage topics and debates concerning Islam and modernity.

Programme overview

The Islam in the Modern World programme consists of two core courses, one covering debates concerning the traditional religious sources of Islam and the other key issues in Islamic studies, a broad range of electives and a Master's thesis. Knowledge of Arabic, Turkish or Persian is not required, but it is possible to study Arabic texts and sources under supervision. Students may also opt for an internship in the second semester.

Programme structure

The Master's programme Islam in the Modern World comprises 60 ECTS credits:

  • 18 credits for core courses
  • 24 credits for electives and/or an internship
  • 18 credits for a Master's thesis.

Core courses

The first semester of the programme entails two core courses and a term paper.

Source texts in Islam

In this course, you will focus on modern debates within Islam concerning the significance of the textual tradition for contemporary Muslims. It will provide both a survey of the main types of texts and an in-depth analysis of the place of texts within contemporary Islamic thought. Primary sources will be read in translation.

Key texts in Islamic studies

The second course focuses on the main discussions in the sub-disciplines of Islamic studies, and more specifically on historical aspects of Islam, Islamic law, uniformity and diversity, orientalism, globalisation and migration. The course concludes with a term paper.


You can tailor your programme to your own interests through a broad range of electives in Islamic studies, as well as courses offered by other Master's programmes. Elective topics include, but are not limited to, social and political movements in Islam, Islam in Europe, Islam and modernity, Islam and modern media, and Sufism, Islamic mysticism and western esotericism. For a complete overview of possible electives, see the UvA Course Catalogue.


Tutorials can be arranged with individual teachers on various specialised topics or research fields. These may include, among others, the Hajj, the history of orientalism, modern Islamic thought, political Islam, and Islam and modern media.


A central component of the programme, the Master’s thesis enables you to write an original work of research under the supervision of one of the staff members. The subject of the thesis must be mutually agreed upon by the student and their academic supervisor.


Students can propose an internship within the Netherlands or abroad. They may range from Muslim organisations, schools, policy and research organisations, museums, media, state institutions on various levels, embassies and international NGOs. 

Detailed course information

For detailed course information, visit the UvA Course Catalogue.

UvA Course Catalogue: Islam in the Modern World

Credit transfer

Students who show exceptional promise during a regular or professional programme are encouraged to continue their studies in the two-year Research Master's programme Religious Studies. Once students are admitted to the research programme, they can transfer credits earned during their previous course of study towards their Research Master's degree. The Examinations Board determines which courses qualify for transfer.

Research Master's Religious Studies