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University of Oxford: Islamic Art and Architecture

Institution University of Oxford
Department Oriental Studies
Telephone 01865 270059
Study type Taught


The information provided on this page was correct at the time of publication (November 2020). For complete and up-to-date information about this course, please visit the relevant University of Oxford course page via

The MPhil in Islamic Art and Architecture is a two-year course combining comprehensive training in the history of Islamic art, architecture and archaeology, research, and language instruction. The course is designed for students with little or no background in Islamic art and archaeology who wish also to learn Arabic or Persian or Ottoman Turkish.

The MPhil in Islamic Art and Architecture is suitable either as a stand-alone course or as a stepping stone to doctoral research.

You will have a supervisor at the Khalili Research Centre, who will guide your progress through the course and who will agree with you a programme of work and a timetable for each term of the course, including: general skills and research specific training, formal teaching and instruction, attendance at lectures and seminars, and regular meetings (normally at least twice per term) with the supervisor for detailed discussion on your progress. You will be expected to attend tutorials, classes, lectures and seminars regularly, and your tutors and language instructors will give you regular assignments of written work.

In the first year, you will take a broad survey course over three terms entitled History of Islamic Art and Architecture, and a brief seminar series on Approaches to Islamic Art and Architecture. During the second year, you will attend eight practical classes (known as the ‘Portfolio’). Using the collections of the Ashmolean Museum, Bodleian Library, and other Oxford resources, this course introduces techniques to describe and analyse buildings and objects in a range of media (such as manuscripts, ceramics, metalwork, and coinage) and which provide training with basic academic skills (such as presentation of work in a lecture or seminar, and writing museum display and book reviews). During both years, you will also build up your independent research and critical skills by writing an Extended Essay then a longer Dissertation while continuing to receive intensive language training.


Master of Philosophy - MPhil

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