Advanced Standing Program

Students entering with advanced standing, that is, with a Master’s Degree in Islamic Studies or a related field of study, are expected to complete a total of 36 credits/12 courses from the Arabic and Islamic Studies lists. Based on their previous graduate work, candidates work out their specific program of study in consultation with their graduate advisers, and are expected to fulfill the requirements below.

Course Requirements:

1. Two Core Courses:

  • ARAB-555                 Introduction to Arabic and Islamic Studies,

According to their major and minor concentrations, students will also take one of the following seminars that consider the latest scholarship in each field, along with foundational disciplinary scholarship. These seminars will be taught in yearly rotation.

Students whose major concentration is Arabic Literature will take:

  • ARAB-557                 Introduction to Literary Methodology

Students whose major concentration is Arabic Linguistics will take:

  • ARAB-556                 Introduction to Linguistics Methodology 

Students who have taken these or equivalent courses may replace them with history or religion courses from the relevant core list, pending approval of the DGS.

2. At least 5 additional courses in one of the 3 major concentrations catalogued on the Arabic and Islamic Studies lists. (See appendix for a list of courses classified by field, and consult website for current courses.)

  • Arabic Linguistics
  • Arabic Literature
  • Islamic Studies

3. At least 5 additional courses in a minor concentration. This may also be satisfied by 3-4 courses in the minor concentration, combined with 1-2 other courses in a related supplementary field, for a total of 5.

  • Minor concentrations are based on the major concentrations catalogued on the Arabic and Islamic Studies lists.
  • Supplementary fields are based on particular disciplinary fields, such as sociology of religion, literary criticism, philosophy, linguistics, etc.


* At least three of the above courses must be in the classical period and three in the modern. 
* Courses must include at least 4 advanced Arabic seminars; these seminars must include readings and research using primary Arabic sources.


In addition to English, Ph.D. students must also have reading proficiency in at least one other European language that is relevant to their research. 

Students majoring in Islamic Studies must also achieve reading proficiency in at least one other Islamicate language at the intermediate level, demonstrated by taking two years of language instruction in Georgetown University’s intensive language program or taking an exam at the equivalent level. The primary recommended languages are Turkish and Persian. Depending on research interests of the student, and after departmental approval, Greek, Hebrew, Syriac or Urdu may qualify as relevant Islamic languages.

For these purposes, reading proficiency is defined as equivalent to two years of Georgetown University’s intensive undergraduate language program. Students who have not achieved reading proficiency before entering the department must enroll in the appropriate language program from their first semester. Language proficiency and competence will be determined by examination. The European language exam is administered by the appropriate department.

All language requirements must be completed before students take their comprehensive exams.


Students must be in residence for a minimum of three years (for advanced standing students) or four years (for the accelerated Ph.D. program), and should take courses for a minimum of two years. In accordance with the Graduate School regulations, advanced-standing doctoral students with a previously granted Master’s degree will be permitted five years to complete the degree requirements and to graduate. Students admitted to the accelerated Master’s/Ph.D. program are allowed seven years to complete all degree requirements. Students who do not satisfy all degree requirements within these time limits may be terminated by the department. Under special circumstances, students may petition the department for an extension, but the maximum number of years may not exceed seven years for advanced standing students and ten for accelerated students.