PhD Program Information

 The Institute of Islamic Studies offers two PhD programs: a general PhD in Islamic Studies, and a PhD in Islamic Studies – Gender and Women’s Studies Concentration.

As per Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies, Ph.D. students must have a supervisory committee consisting of at least one faculty member in addition to the supervisor(s).

The PhD supervisory committee of students in the Institute of Islamic Studies (IIS) will consist of a supervisor (or two co-supervisors) and one additional faculty member, who is a member or associate member of the IIS. This additional committee member meets with the student on a regular basis to provide guidance and constructive feedback on the student’s research. The selection of this additional committee member is done with the mutual agreement of the student, the supervisor(s), and the GPD.

PhD Degree in Islamic Studies

To be granted a PhD degree in Islamic Studies all students must meet the following degree requirements:

  1. Enrolment requirement of three full-time years (four, if accepted to PhD 1). This is a minimum requirement and does not guarantee that the work of the degree can be completed in this period.
  2. 30 credits of courses (beyond the MA level), including two 600- or 700-level seminars offered by the Institute.
    ISLA 603 Intro:Res Materials-Islamic St 3 Credits
      Offered in the:
    • Fall
    • Winter
    • Summer

    is required and part of the 30 credits.
  3. Completion of 3 years of Arabic or Persian language study at the Institute, unless proficiency is proven via a test administered by the academic staff. * Note: If an introductory-level course is taken, it will not count toward the 30 credits.
  4. In addition to Arabic or Persian, 2 years of language study at the IIS of another Islamic language, unless exempt.
  5. Reading knowledge of one non-Islamic research language (usually European) at a level of scholarly competence.
  6. Comprehensive examinations in three specified fields (ISLA 701 Comprehensive Examination, no credits).
  7. A dissertation judged to contain original research.
  8. Upon approval of the dissertation, a "Pass" must be received at the final oral defense examination.

With the permission of the Institute, up to 6 credits could be taken in other departments at McGill or other institutions.

With the approval of the student's supervisory committee, courses taken with an IIS faculty member in other departments (i.e., History, Anthropology, Political Science) can count toward the coursework requirements in the same way as ISLA courses.

To avoid over-specialization, a maximum of 9 credits of content courses (i.e., courses that are not primarily devoted to language instruction) can be taken with a single Institute professor.

PhD Degree in Islamic Studies – Gender and Women’s Studies Concentration

The Graduate Option in Gender and Women’s Studies is an interdisciplinary program for students who meet degree requirements in Islamic Studies (and other participating departments and faculties) who wish to earn 9 credits of approved coursework focusing on gender and women’s studies, and issues in feminist research and methods. The student’s PhD thesis must be on a topic centrally relating to issues of gender and/or women’s studies. 

To be granted a PhD degree in Islamic Studies – Gender and Women’s Studies Concentration all students must meet the following degree requirements:

  1. Enrolment requirement of three full-time years (four, if accepted to PhD 1). This is a minimum requirement and does not guarantee that the work of the degree can be completed in this period.
  2. 30 credits of courses (beyond the MA level), including:
  • Two 600- or 700-level seminars offered by the Institute
  • WMST 601 Feminist Theories and Methods 3 Credits
      Offered in the:
    • Fall
    • Winter
    • Summer

  • WMST 602 Feminist Research Symposium 3 Credits
      Offered in the:
    • Fall
    • Winter
    • Summer

  • One 3-credit course with a substantive focus on women and/or gender
  • ISLA 603 Intro:Res Materials-Islamic St 3 Credits
      Offered in the:
    • Fall
    • Winter
    • Summer

    3.  Completion of 3 years of Arabic or Persian language study at the Institute, unless proficiency is proven  via a test administered by the academic staff. * Note: If an introductory-level course is taken, it will not count toward the 30 credits.  
   4.  In addition to Arabic or Persian, 2 years of language study at the IIS of another Islamic language, unless exempt.
    5.  Reading knowledge of one non-Islamic research language (usually European) at a level of
         scholarly competence.
    6.  Comprehensive examinations in three specified fields (ISLA 701 Comprehensive Examination, no credits).
    7.  A dissertation judged to contain original research, on a topic centrally relating to issues of gender
         or women’s studies.
    8.  Upon approval of the dissertation, a "Pass" must be received at the final oral defense examination.

With the permission of the Institute, up to 6 credits could be taken in other departments at McGill or other institutions.

With the approval of the student's supervisory committee, courses taken with an IIS faculty member in other departments (i.e., History, Anthropology, Political Science) can count toward the coursework requirements in the same way as ISLA courses.

To avoid over-specialization, a maximum of 9 credits of content courses (i.e., courses that are not primarily devoted to language instruction) can be taken with a single Institute professor.