AIS Graduate Handbook

Updated June 2017

Arabic & Islamic Studies Graduate Handbook

Note: a pdf file of the handbook is available for viewing or downloading here. However, please note that this webpage reflects the most up-to-date version of the handbook.

Introduction

I. Degree Requirements for M.A. in Arabic and Islamic Studies

II. Degree Requirements for Ph.D. in Arabic and Islamic Studies 

General academic regulations and procedures

1. Academic course credits 
2. Tutorial courses 
3. Audit and Pass/Fail options 
4. Consortium courses 
5. Requests for extension of time limits 
6. Leaves of absence 
7. International students 
8. Academic integrity 
9. Communication

Introduction

This handbook provides practical information on the policies, procedures, and resources of the graduate programs in the Department of Arabic and Islamic Studies. The Department offers graduate degrees in Arabic and Islamic Studies. Other useful information is contained in the relevant sections of the Graduate School website, and on the website of the Arabic department.

Degrees offered:  

M.A. in Arabic and Islamic Studies
Ph.D. in Arabic and Islamic Studies      

Department and Program Personnel
Chair: Felicitas Opwis
Director of Graduate Studies: Emma Gannagé
Director of Undergraduate Studies: Elliott Colla
Administrative Assistant for Academic Affairs: Caitlin Bentley
Business Manager: Meriem Tikue

Graduate Student Representation in Governance:

Every year, the graduate students elect a graduate student representative who serves asthe formal representative of the graduate students vis-à-vis the department, and is therepresentative in the Graduate Student Organization. All graduate students are membersof the GSO. For additional information, please visit the GSO homepage.

Credits required:
M.A.: 36
Part-time option: Yes
Ph.D. (with a relevant M.A.): 36
Ph.D. (without a relevant M.A.): 54
Part-time option: No

 

The Department and the Program

The Arabic and Islamic Studies department offers two graduate programs, one at the M.A. level, one at the Ph.D. level. Three concentration are offered in each program: Arabic literature, Arabic Linguistics and Islamic Studies.

The Arabic Literature Concentration

Arabic literature is a dynamic 1400-year-old tradition, comprised of multiple genres and registers, and with diverse geographical and historical textures. Students of the concentration are expected to acquire advanced knowledge of prose and poetic genres in both the classical and modern periods, as well as training in modern critical methodology and Arab literary critical traditions. Moreover, given the privileged status of literary texts as linguistic exemplars of Arabic, and given the centrality of rhetoric and poetics to the Muslim exegesis, the field of Arabic literature is also key to the fields of Arabic linguistics and Islamic Studies. Subjects covered in the concentration of Arabic literature include: classical and modern poetry, performance theory, comparative methods, narrative theory and the novel, belletristic prose, popular literature, and more.

The Arabic Linguistics Concentration

Over the years, the Georgetown Arabic program has played a pioneering role in the development of Arabic linguistic research, curricula, and pedagogy. It was one of the first departments to offer courses in Arabic language acquisition and theoretical linguistics, and has graduated prominent scholars in the field. Today the department continues to offer a strong Arabic linguistic program, with specialized graduate level courses in Arabic linguistics. The linguistics concentration aims to prepare graduate students for work in linguistic research and data analysis. There is special emphasis on linguistic theories and application with reference to Arabic. Current research by its faculty focuses on Arabic sociolinguistics, language policy, and discourse analysis. However, courses on fundamentals of Arabic linguistics and Arabic language pedagogy/acquisition are also offered. Some of our courses include: Language policy and politics in the Arab world; Arabic language and identity in Modern Egypt; Language variation and change in the Arab world, and Teaching Arabic as a foreign language.

The Islamic Studies Concentration

The Arabic and Islamic Studies Ph.D. program at Georgetown is the only program in the country exclusively focused on the Arabic and Islamic civilization. Focused on textual traditions, the Islamic Studies concentration seeks to advance knowledge and understanding of classical and modern Islamic culture and thought and to provide an understanding of Arabic and Islamic intellectual history in the pre-modern and modern periods. The program offers undergraduate and graduate training in the study of the history, religion, culture, society, and thought of the Islamic world, and introduces students to the traditional and modern scholarly approaches to thestudy of Islam.

In addition to philological training in Arabic, the teaching and research of the department and other Georgetown faculty cover classical and modern Islamic history; the Qur’an, hadith and other Islamic scriptural traditions; Islamic religion, theology, mysticism, jurisprudence, and sectarianism; the history of Arabic and Islamic science and philosophy; classical and modern Islamic thought and movements; as well as gender studies. Moreover, Georgetown offers a rich variety of courses on the politics, anthropology, sociology and economies of the Arab and Muslim world. The regional specialization of the Georgetown faculty is equally broad and it covers the Arab Middle East and North Africa, Ottoman and modern Turkey, Sub-Saharan Africa, South and Southeast Asia, Iran, and Islam in the United States and Europe. Adopting interdisciplinary and comparative approaches to the study of the Arabic and Islamic civilization, the Islamic Studies concentration at Georgetown encourages collaborative workwith affiliated faculty in various university departments and centers.

In addition to the core courses in the Arabic Department, Islamic Studies courses are offered in the Center for Contemporary Arab Studies and the Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding, as well as in the departments of History, Theology, and Government. The core faculty in the Department of Arabic and Islamic Studies provides basic disciplinary and philological training but the required courses are distributed across disciplines. Hence, the concentration complements the world-renowned strength of Georgetown faculty in modern Islamic Studies by providing solidgrounding in the study of Islam in the classical period.

Department of Arabic and Islamic Studies Faculty

Professor
Suzanne Stetkevych, Sultan Qaboos bin Said Professor of Arabic & Islamic Studies, Ph.D., University of Chicago

Associate Professors
Jonathan Brown, Ph.D. University of Chicago
Elliott Colla, Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley
Emma Gannagé, Ph.D., Université Paris 1 – Panthéon Sorbonne
Felicitas Opwis, Ph.D., Yale University

Teaching Professors 
Sylvia Önder, Ph.D., The Ohio State University (Turkish)
Terrence Potter, Ph.D., Georgetown University

Associate Teaching Professors
Ghayda al-Ali, Ph.D., Sabah University of Malaysia
Hanaa Kilany, Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania
Farima Mostowfi, D.E.A., University of Lille (Persian)

Assistant Teaching Professors
Belkacem Baccouche, Kent State University
Huda al-Mufti, Georgetown University

Emeriti Faculty

Karin C. Ryding, Ph.D., Georgetown University (Sultan Qaboos bin Said Professor)

Affiliated Faculty

Professors
John Esposito, Ph.D. Temple University (Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding, SFS)
Yvonne Haddad, Ph.D. Hartford Seminary (Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding, SFS)
Judith Tucker, Ph.D. Harvard University (Department of History)
John Voll, Ph.D. Harvard University (Department of History)

Associate Professors
Osama Abi-Mershed, Ph.D. Georgetown University (Department of History)
Rochelle Davis, Ph.D. University of Michigan (Center for Contemporary Arab Studies, SFS)
Paul Heck, Ph.D. University of Chicago (Department of Theology)
Daniel Madigan, Ph.D. Columbia University (Department of Theology)

Admissions and application requirements for M.A. and Ph.D Degrees in Arabic and Islamic Studies

General Program of Study

The graduate programs in Arabic and Islamic Studies aim to combine a thorough understanding of the Arabic language with scholarly research in the literary, linguistic and intellectual traditions of the Arab and Islamic world. The Arabic and Islamic Studies Department offers graduate level courses in Arabic linguistics, Islamic studies, and literature of the classical and modern eras. M.A. students will complete one major concentration and one minor concentration towards the degree. Similarly, Ph.D. students who are admitted with advanced standing will complete onemajor concentration and one minor concentration towards the degree. Those who are admitted to the Ph.D. program without an earned master’s degree in a related field will complete one major concentration and two minor concentrations.

Language Requirements

Entering students are required to have Arabic language competence equivalent to at least that attained by the end of the third year of intensive language study in the undergraduate program at Georgetown University. In the first week of their first academic year, students who are non-native Arabic speakers are required to take an Arabic language exam. Students who fail this exam are required to be enrolled in advanced Arabic classes, and to take the exam again at the end of the fall semester. If they still do not score satisfactorily they have until the end of the spring semester to successfully retake the exam. Students must pass the exam by August of their second academic year if they are to continue in the program. Arabic language courses taken to enable students to reach the required proficiency level do not count towards degree credits. Students who desire ACTFL proficiency certification should make arrangements with the department.

Admissions Requirements

Obtain an online application form at:
http://grad.georgetown.edu/pages/app_procedures.cfm

The application requirements checklist is detailed at:
http://grad.georgetown.edu/pages/application_requirements.cfm

For detailed admission requirements, see the Graduate School website: http://grad.georgetown.edu/pages/admission_of_applicants.cfm

The Graduate School telephone number is: 202-687-5974.
E-mail: gradstudentservices@georgetown.edu.

In addition to advanced proficiency in Arabic, admission application requirements include:

1. A completed Graduate School application form.
2. A non-refundable application fee.
3. A statement of purpose in English of approximately 500 words.
4. Official transcripts of the applicant’s academic record.
5. Three letters of recommendation, at least two of which must be from professors who have taught the applicant.
6. A completed departmental Supplemental Data Sheet: must be downloaded andsubmitted separately from the online application. Available at: http://grad.georgetown.edu/pages/suppdatasheet.cfm
7. The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) score.
8. For non-native speakers of English, a TOEFL score of at least 620 (260 for thecomputer-based test or 105 for the internet-based test), or the IELTS test with a score of at least 7.5.
9. Writing Sample: a 10-20 page, scholarly essay, preferably on a topic related to the applicant’s field of study.

GRE scores

Results of the General Test of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) are required for all applicants. There is no minimum required score on the GRE. Test scores must be received by the application deadline date. Applicants should allow six to eight weeks from the test date for the reporting of scores to the institution. Applications will not be considered without GRE scores. Information on registering to take the GRE can be found at: http://www.ets.org/gre/

English Language Writing Test

Non-native speakers of English, if admitted to the program, are required to take an on-campus English Language Screening Test before they register for their first semester ofstudies at Georgetown. This is usually administered on the morning of the first day ofregistration. On the basis of the test, the Division of English as a Foreign Language willrecommend appropriate courses, if required. Graduate students with a TOEFL score of 620 or above are exempt from this requirement.

Financial Aid: Assistantships, Fellowships, and Scholarships

The Department provides several types of merit-based financial aid to graduate students:

Five-year, full scholarship and stipend for Ph.D. students: a yearly stipend of $28,000 (in 2017-2018); full tuition support for 9 credits per semester; and health insurance. Students on stipendare required to work up to 15 hours per week, for 4 of their first 5 years, usually as a Teaching Assistant to a faculty member teaching a first-year or second-year intensive Arabic course. A fifth year stipend without a service obligation is intended to support research towards dissertation and hence cannot be granted prior to fulfilling the comprehensive examinations requirements.

Scholarships: Depending on the availability of funding, the Arabic department may offer a small number of tuition scholarships only. Such financial aid is based on an annual competition.

FLAS Fellowships: Eligible students may apply for summer and/or year-long Graduate Fellowships for Foreign Language and Area or International Studies (FLAS), which provide a stipend of $15,000 and full tuition support for the study of Arabic, Hebrew, Persian,and Turkish. For application material and instructions, see https://nrcme.georgetown.edu/flas

For more detailed information concerning financial aid, including need-based aid, please consult the “Financial Support” section of the web site of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.

Application deadlines

Candidate applications, and all supporting documentation, are due by December 15.

Graduate Degree Requirements for M.A. and Ph.D. Degrees in Arabic and Islamic Studies

I. Degree Requirements for M.A. in Arabic and Islamic Studies

General Program of Study
A. Advising and Evaluation
B. Language Requirements
C. Course Requirements
D. Master's Research Paper
E. Comprehensive Exams
F. Transfer of Credits
G. Time to the Degree

General Program of Study

The Arabic and Islamic Studies M.A. program at Georgetown seeks to advance knowledge andunderstanding of classical and modern Islamic thought and to provide understanding of Arabophone culture and intellectual history in the pre-modern and modern periods. With a special emphasis on Arabic textual traditions, the program offers graduate training in the study of the languages, literatures, and thought of the Islamic world, and introduces students to scholarly approaches to the study of Islam.

Students already enrolled in the master’s program at Georgetown must apply again if they are interested in joining the Ph.D. program; these students are not guaranteed admission, and will be considered by the admissions committee along with other applicants from outside the department.

A. Advising and evaluation

Students should meet regularly with the Director of Graduate Studies to plan their course work, and to choose the primary faculty advisor by the end of the first semester of their enrollment in the program. Pending Graduate Committee approval, advisors may be drawn from various departments and units in the University associated with the Department of Arabic and Islamic Studies. As early as possible, students choose a major concentration and start planning their course of study with their advisors. In consultation with their graduate advisors, students choosea major focus for their studies. The minor concentrations may be chosen from the fields of Islamic Studies, Arabic literature, and Arabic linguistics, modern or classical history and thought, modern Islam, Arab studies, or other related fields.

Students should meet regularly with their advisors to evaluate their academic progress. Additionally, there is an evaluation conducted by the Graduate Committee on a yearly basis, part of which consists of an interview, each Spring semester, between each graduate student and the Director of Graduate Studies. Funding and eligibility to continue in good standing is contingent on the satisfactory yearly review of students’ performance.

The advisors report to the departmental Graduate Committee that reviews the progress reports and advises each student by the end of the Spring semester whether their progress is satisfactory. For a successful completion of the course work for the M.A. degree, students must maintain a strong academic record and must score a minimum average of B+ in the major concentration with no single grade below B. Receiving grades less than A-, especially in research seminars, should be considered as a warning sign. Incompletes are strongly discouraged, and will turn into failing grades if not completed before the end of the following semester. Students who do not perform satisfactorily will risk possible dismissal from the program.

B. Language Requirements

Entering students are required to have Arabic language competence equivalent to at least that attained by the end of the third year of intensive language study in the undergraduate program at Georgetown University. In the first week of their first academic year, students who are non-native Arabic speakers are required to take an Arabic language exam administered by the department. Students who fail this exam are required to be enrolled in advanced Arabic classes, and to take the exam again at the end of the fall semester. If they still do not score satisfactorily they have until the end of the spring semester to successfully retake the exam. Students must pass the Arabic proficiency exam by the end of August of their first academic year if they are to continue in the program. Arabic language courses taken to enable students to reach the required proficiency level do not count towards the degree credits.

Students who desire ACTFL proficiency certification should make arrangements with the department.

C. Course requirements

Candidates for the master’s degree in Arabic and Islamic Studies take a program of 36 credits, including 11 courses (33 credits) plus an M.A. research course (3 credits). The distribution of the courses is 8 in a major concentration and 3 in a minor concentration. Entering students determinetheir specific program of study in consultation with the Director of Graduate Studies, and are expected to fulfill the following 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 also take
ARAB-557: Introduction to Literary Methodology. Students whose major concentration is Arabic Linguistics will also 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 6 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 3 additional courses in a minor concentration. Minor concentrations are based on the other concentrations catalogued on the Arabic and Islamic Studies lists.

4. M.A. research course (3 credits). See below.

5. Distributional requirements

a. At least 3 of the above courses must be in the classical period and 3 in the modern.

b. Courses must include at least 4 advanced Arabic seminars; these seminars must include readings and research using primary Arabic sources.

D. Master’s Research Paper

The master’s research paper is related to the work of a particular graduate course in Arabic and Islamic Studies. It marks the significant development and revision of a term paper the student has written in a seminar, modeled along a publishable research paper in the field. It may be written either in Arabic or in English and normally consists of at least 25-35 typed pages (at least 12 000 words with 1.5 space).

This process will happen during the last semester of course work as an MA research course (independent study). The Master’s Research Paper is not a Master thesis and does not require a specific registration. Students don’t need to file a Thesis Proposal form with the Graduate School. The candidate obtains the approval of the professor as mentor for that topic. The student then gets approval of the Director of Graduate Studies for the topic before registering for an independent study course with the professor. No defense is required for the research paper.

A minimum grade of B+ is required on the master’s research course. 

E. Master’s Comprehensive Examination

This exam is based on the study and reading done for the candidate’s coursework. The comprehensive exams are designed to demonstrate the candidate’s rounded knowledge of scholarship in the field, familiarity with its primary and secondary sources, and understanding ofits main approaches and methodologies.

A candidate for the master’s degree must take this exam at the first opportunity and no later than the end of the first semester after completion of all course requirements. Grading is done on a scale of ‘Distinction’, ‘High Pass’, ‘Pass’, and ‘Fail’. An overall grade of ‘Pass’ or better is required to pass the exam. A grade of ‘High Pass’ requires a majority vote. A grade of ‘Pass’ and ‘Distinction’ requires a unanimous vote. If the overall grade is lower than ‘Pass’, the candidate may retake the exam at the earliest next opportunity but must do so no later than the beginning of the semester following the original exam date. If the candidate fails to achieve a grade of Pass or better on the second attempt, the failure is final and the student will be dismissed from the program.

A candidate who fails one or two concentrations can retake an exam in the concentration(s) failed within 6 weeks after the first exam. If that falls outside the regular academic year, candidates will take their makeup exam within the first week of the following semester. If the candidate fails to achieve a grade of Pass or better on the second attempt, the failure is final and the student will be dismissed from the program.

Procedure

Early in the last semester of their course work, students consult with their graduate advisor on the composition of a three-member exam committee, including the advisor (who also acts as committee chair), and two other examiners. In preparation for their comprehensive exams, students discuss with their examiners their major and minor concentrations and draw up a reading list covering the primary and secondary sources as well as scholarly literature in these fields, about 12 books and a handful of articles for each field. Students then submit the Comprehensive Exams Fields Form which must be signed by the committee members and submitted, with the three reading lists, to the Director of Graduate Studies for final approval. 

In consultation with their exam committee, students schedule three 3-hour written exams to be taken within the span of one week. No exam will be scheduled without the Comprehensive Exams Fields Form duly signed by the DGS. Without use of books, notes or outside resources students write three short essays, each covering one examination list. There is no oral examination. The comprehensive exams are designed to demonstrate their rounded knowledge of scholarship in the field, familiarity with its principal sources, and understanding of its main approaches and methodologies.

F. Transfer of credit

After satisfactory completion of at least one semester of full-time registration in the Graduate School, a master’s or doctoral degree student may make a written request for specific applicable courses taken (a) at another institution or (b) at Georgetown University prior to admission to a Georgetown degree program. Requests for transfer credit must be made in writing through the department chair or Director of Graduate Studies, who will forward a recommendation to the Graduate School concerning applicability of both the specific courses and the total number of credits requested toward the student’s degree program; final approval rests with the Graduate School. Credits are transferred in semester equivalency.  
The total number of credits that may be transferred may not exceed 25% of the total number ofcredits required for the Georgetown graduate degree after any credits of advanced standing havebeen awarded. No courses may count for which the student receives a grade less than B+.

G. Time to the Degree

In accordance with Graduate School rules, students admitted to the master’s degree program are allowed three years from matriculation to complete all requirements for the degree and to graduate. Students who are studying part-time for the master’s degree will also be allowed three years to complete all requirements.

II. Degree Requirements for the PhD. in Arabic and Islamic Studies

General Program of Study
A. Advising and Evaluation
B. Language Requirements
C. Course requirements for candidates with advanced standing
D. Course requirements for candidates without a master’s degree in an unrelated field
E. Comprehensive Exams
F. Transfer of Credits
G. Dissertation
H. Time to the Degree

General Program of Study

The Arabic and Islamic Studies Ph.D. program at Georgetown seeks to advance knowledge and understanding of classical and modern Islamic thought and to provide understanding of Arabophone culture and intellectual history in the pre-modern and modern periods. With a special emphasis on Arabic textual traditions, the program offers graduate training in the study of the languages, literatures, and thought of the Islamic world, and introduces students to traditional and modern scholarly approaches to the study of Islam.

Students already enrolled in the master’s program at Georgetown must apply again if they are interested in joining the Ph.D. program; these students are not guaranteed admission, and will be considered by the admissions committee along with other applicants from outside the department.

A. Advising and Evaluation

Students should meet regularly with the Director of Graduate Studies to plan their course work, and to choose the primary faculty advisor by the end of the first semester of their enrollment in the program. Pending Graduate Committee approval, advisors may be drawn from various departments and units in the University associated with the Department of Arabic and Islamic Studies. As early as possible, students choose a major concentration and start planning their course of study with their advisors. In consultation with their graduate advisors, students choose a major focus for their studies. The minor concentrations may be chosen from the fields of Islamic Studies, Arabic literature and Arabic linguistics, modern or classical history and thought, modern Islam, Arab studies, or other related fields.

Students should meet regularly with their advisors to evaluate their academic progress. Additionally, there is an evaluation conducted by the Graduate Committee on a yearly basis, part of which consists of an interview, each Spring, between each graduate student and the Director of Graduate Studies. Funding and eligibility to continue studies in good standing is contingent onthe satisfactory yearly review of students’ performance.

The advisors report to the departmental Graduate Committee that reviews the progress reports and advises each student by the end of the Spring semester whether their progress is satisfactory. For a successful completion of the course work for the Ph.D. degree, students must maintain astrong academic record and must score a minimum average of A- in the major concentration with no single grade below B+. Receiving grades less than A-, especially in research seminars, should be considered as a warning sign. Incompletes are strongly discouraged, and will turn into failing grades if not completed before the end of the following semester. Students who do not perform satisfactorily will risk loss of their funding and possible dismissal from the program.

B. Language Requirements

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.

Language scholarships

Language audits are not permitted by the Graduate School any longer. However, the Graduate School will provide tuition scholarships to graduate students in Main Campus programs to cover enrollment in an approved language course per semester. The student must complete the course, and must do so with a passing grade. If a student withdraws from a language course, the scholarship will be revoked and the student will be responsible for any charges remaining after the tuition refund policy has been applied. Please refer to the Graduate School Bulletin for requirements and full policy.

C. Course requirements for candidates with advanced standing

Students entering with advanced standing, that is, with a master’s in 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 determine their specific program of study inconsultation with the Director of Graduate Studies, and are expected to fulfill the following 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 also take ARAB-557: Introduction to Literary Methodology. Students whose major concentration is Arabic Linguistics will also 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.

4. Distributional requirements

a. At least 3 of the courses taken must be in the classical period and 3 in the modern.
b. Courses must include at least 4 advanced Arabic seminars; these seminars mustinclude readings and research using primary Arabic sources.

D. Course requirements for candidates without a master’s degree in an unrelated field

Candidates entering with a bachelor’s degree or an advanced degree in an unrelated field of study are expected to complete 54 credits/18 graduate courses including ten in the major concentration and five in each of two minor concentrations. Candidates should consult their graduate advisors to formulate their specific program of study, which should fulfill the following requirements:

1. Two Gateway 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 7 additional courses in one of the 3 major concentrations catalogued on the Arabic and Islamic Studies core 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 9 additional courses in two other concentrations. This may also be satisfied by 4 or more courses in each of two minor concentrations, or 4 or more other courses in a minor concentration, combined with no more than 4 courses in a related supplementary field.

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

4. Distributional requirements

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

E. Comprehensive Exams

Eligibility
After the successful completion of all course and language requirements, including the Field language proficiency exam (3 hours translation with dictionary), and having no outstanding Incompletes, students are eligible to take their written and oral comprehensive exams.

Schedule
These exams must be passed by the end of the semester following the completion of coursework. Failure to do so may jeopardize the standing of the student in the department. They combine three five-hour written exams, administered within the span of one week, with one general oral examination, taken within two weeks after passing the written exams and covering the same fields.

Fields
Early in the last semester of their course work, students consult with their graduate advisor on the selection of three fields, one of them at least closely related to the field in which they will write their dissertation. The other two fields, if not related to the dissertation research, should at least remain within the broad context of the research context of the student.

Comprehensive exams are intended to test a student’s rounded knowledge of the scholarship in each one of the three fields, familiarity with its primary and secondary sources, and understanding of its main approaches and methodologies as well as the student’s ability to synthesize scholarly material and analyze knowledge of the assigned fields. The student must demonstrate mastery in at least two fields that would enable him/her to teach an upper-level undergraduate course, participate effectively in a discussion by specialists, and gain a clear idea of the context for his/her dissertation research.

With departmental approval, one directed readings course may be taken, in the last semester ofcoursework, to prepare for the field comprehensive exams.

Preparation
Early in the last semester of their course work, students consult with their advisor on the composition of a three-member exam committee, including the advisor, who will also serve as the chair of the committee, and two other examiners. No examiner could serve on two fields. In preparation for their comprehensive exams, students discuss with their examiners their major and minor fields and draw up a reading list covering the primary and secondary sources and scholarly literature in these fields, about 25-30 titles (20 books, 10-15 articles). It is usually recommended that students review all major academic journals in their field in order to keep abreast of thelatest scholarship.

Students preparing for Comprehensive Examinations should meet regularly with each of the faculty members on their Comprehensive Examination Committee. Students must have their reading lists approved by the respective committee member and the final versions of all three lists should be distributed to the entire committee before the oral examination. A Comps Fields Form must be signed by the three examiners and approved and signed by the DGS. It is essential that the student and each faculty examiner agree on the breadth and emphasis of the reading lists and the format of each of the written examinations, including how many questions will be offered and answered as well as the length and format of the written answers. Reading lists can vary in length, and these guidelines are only suggestive.

Written Exams

Without use of books, notes or outside resources students write three (5 hours with a 15 minute break) short essays, each covering one examination list. The examinations are not designed to test merely a student’s command of facts, but also their ability to critically engage with sources as well as their capacity to synthesize and reflect upon sizable textual corpora. The faculty member administering the examination will determine, with the student, the number of essay questions and their breadth. No exam will be scheduled without the signed Comps Fields Form.

Grading of the Written Exams
Professors have 48-72 hours (not including weekends or holidays) to assess written examinationsand grade them. Grading is done on a scale of ‘Distinction’, ‘High Pass’, ‘Pass’, and ‘Fail’. While the chair of the comprehensive exams committee will read all three exams, these should be made available to all the committee members for their consideration.

If the student has failed any of the written exams, the Comprehensive Examination Committee will confer to determine if the student will be allowed to continue for the Oral Examination. If the Committee determines that the student has failed a written exam, only the failed exam must be retaken within the next six weeks. The oral exam will be rescheduled accordingly. However,the Committee can allow the student to take the Oral Examination if the written exams, taken asa whole, justify such a course of action.

Oral Examination

The Comprehensive Examination Committee will determine as soon as possible after the last written examination has been successfully completed if, taken as a whole, the student’s performance during the first portion of the process justifies continuing on to the Oral Examination. Within two weeks after passing the written exams, students will take a general oral exam covering the same fields of study (90 min.). Questions will focus on the three Fields, but may also extend into the student’s entire body of knowledge and will address the student’s dissertation research project. All three members of the Comprehensive Examination Committee will participate in the Oral Examination, and vote on the outcome. Upon completion of the Oral Examination, the members of the Comprehensive Examination Committee will ask the student to leave the room so they can discuss privately his/her performance. No guests are permitted to attend Oral Examinations.  

Grading of the Overall Examination is done on a scale of ‘Distinction’, ‘High Pass’, ‘Pass’, and‘Fail’ and must be based on consideration of the student’s total performance in both the written and oral portions of the Comprehensive Examination. A grade of ‘High Pass’ requires a majority vote. A grade of ‘Pass’ and ‘Distinction’ requires a unanimous vote. Students who fail the written or oral exam must discuss with the members of their Comprehensive Examination Committee when it can be rescheduled and how best to prepare. Written examinations do not need to be retaken if the Oral Examination is not passed on the first attempt. Students who fail the final written or oral exams on the second attempt will be dismissed from the program.

F. Transfer of Credits

After satisfactory completion of at least one semester of full-time registration in the Graduate School, a doctoral degree student may make a written request for specific applicable graduate courses taken prior to admission to the Arabic and Islamic Studies Ph.D. program at Georgetown. Requests for transfer credit must be made in writing through the Director of Graduate Studies, who will forward a recommendation to the Graduate School concerning applicability of both the specific courses and the total number of credits requested toward the
student’s degree program; final approval rests with the Graduate School. The total number of credits that may be transferred may not exceed 25% of the total number of credits required for the Georgetown graduate degree after any credits of advanced standing have been awarded.

G. Dissertation

This is the main scholarly work required to complete the Ph.D. Students are expected to choose an academically relevant subject and develop and submit to the Graduate School a detailed proposal normally within six months (and certainly no later than twelve months) after completion of the Oral Comprehensive Examination. It is important that this proposal be filed promptly, as some Graduate School internal fellowships are available only to applicants with proposals already on file.

Dissertation Committee

After passing their comprehensive exams, students shall consult with their advisor to form a dissertation committee consisting of at least one primary advisor and two additional readers. At least two of the minimum three must be members of the Georgetown faculty. One or twomember(s) -- but not the Chair of the Dissertation Committee -- may be a professor from outside the University, who is recognized as an expert in the student’s topic. The composition of each dissertation committee must be approved by the graduate advisor and ultimately by the DGS. It is the responsibility of students to work closely with their advisors and readers throughout all stages of research and writing.

Dissertation Proposal

In the semester following the successful completion of all other degree requirements, and in consultation with the primary advisor and other members of the dissertation committee, the student formulates and submits a dissertation proposal. The proposal should identify a topic of research, provide an explanation of the importance of this topic and an overview of the scholarly literature relevant to this topic, outline of the methodology and sources of research, and its projected contributions. The proposal should also include a working bibliography. The proposal should be endorsed by the dissertation committee members. The student must prepare a proposal for his/her dissertation using the “Thesis or Dissertation Proposal” form, available from the Graduate School website. The student should also obtain comments and approval from the Dissertation Committee and have each member sign the form. The form itself must contain the following information:

1. Title: Give the tentative title of your dissertation/thesis.

2. Problem/issue: State clearly and fully the issue at stake and the problem you intend to investigate.

3. Bibliography: List primary and secondary sources, grouped accordingly.

4. Review of Related Literature: State which items of the bibliography furnish the immediate background for your investigation, which closely related problems have been solved and by whom, other researchers of the topic and the extent of their work, and the starting point of your own research.

5. Procedure: Describe in detail your research plan.

6. Probable Contents: State the probable chapter headings for your Table of Contents. Students may choose, for the more complex questions, to append additional sheets to include more thorough responses.

Students must submit the proposal to the Graduate School within a year of completing comprehensive examination in order to be in good standing in the Ph.D. program. Students who fail to submit a proposal in a timely fashion may jeopardize their standing in the department.

After the proposal has been approved, the candidate proceeds to dissertation research and writing under the guidance of the committee. In research, format and writing, the doctoral dissertation must conform to departmental and Graduate School standards. Students are advised to consult a standard manual of style and the Graduate School guidelines for dissertation writing. The dissertation will usually be written in English. The average length of a completed dissertation is 300 double-spaced, type-written pages, and must be read and approved for defense by all members of the dissertation committee.

Dissertation Defense

When the committee agrees that the dissertation is ready to be submitted for defense, the Thesis Reviewers Report (available on the Graduate School website), must be signed by each member of the Dissertation Committee and submitted to the Graduate School at least one week prior to the defense.

The department then schedules a public oral defense in which the members of the dissertation committee participate. The defense may be attended by scholars and students within and outside the department. The defense itself will focus on discussion of the content and methodology of the dissertation, and will run from 1-2 hours. To be accepted, the dissertation must be approved by all members of the oral defense committee.

A successful dissertation should demonstrate the student’s mastery of the scholarly field of research and should make an original contribution to knowledge in its particular field, either by unearthing new sources, providing new interpretations of older ones, or charting new areas of research and scholarly exploration. The examining committee may pass the dissertation without changes, or may require minor changes. The dissertation advisor provides the final confirmation that the required changes were made. The approved dissertation is then submitted to the Graduate School, and should be prepared following its dissertation guidelines.

H. Time to the Degree

Students must be in residence for a minimum of three years (for students admitted with advanced standing) or four years (for those without a master’s degree in a related field), and should take courses for a minimum of two years. In accordance with the Graduate School regulations, students admitted to a Ph.D. program are allowed no more than five years from achievement of candidacy to award of the Ph.D., and no more than seven years overall from matriculation to award of the Ph.D. 

Students who do not satisfy all degree requirements within these time limits may be terminated by the Graduate School. Under special circumstances, students may petition the Graduate School for an extension, but the maximum number of years may not exceed seven years.

General Academic Regulations and Policies 

All sections below are drawn from the Graduate School Bulletin. For full policies and updates, please refer to the Graduate School Bulletin available online at: http://grad.georgetown.edu/academics/policies/

1. Academic course credits

All Graduate School students are required to register each Fall and Spring semester from matriculation to award of the degree. During fall and spring semesters, students registered for 9 or more credit hours will be certified as enrolled full-time. Please refer to the Graduate School Bulletin for the full policy.

2. Tutorial Courses

Students who wish to register for a reading or research tutorial must complete a Tutorial Registration form, available at http://grad.georgetown.edu/academics/academic-forms/.

The completed form must be submitted to the Graduate School no later than the final day of the Add/Drop period. The form requires the instructor to specify:

  • a title for the tutorial course
  • the number of graduate credits to be awarded
  • a course description
  • a bibliography
  • a schedule of meetings with the student
  • assignments or the nature of the research to be undertaken
  • the manner of assessment (e.g., a final examination, a research paper, etc.)

Signature approvals must be obtained from the instructor, who outlines the scope of work to be accomplished and the resources to be used; the student’s Director of Graduate Studies; and the Graduate School. If this form is not submitted and approved, no credit will be awarded for the tutorial.

3. Audit and Pass/Fail Options

Courses that have been designated by departments and programs to be taken only on a pass/fail basis may be applied toward a graduate degree program. Other courses for which a student chooses to register on a pass/fail basis cannot be applied toward a degree program. Students may register for language courses on a pass/fail basis, but may not audit them without the approval of their department or program and the Graduate School. Students who have received permission from an instructor to audit a course or to take a course on a pass/fail basis should first register for the course on a letter-grade basis, then change to audit or pass/fail basis during the Add/Drop period. Changes of grade status (letter-grade, audit, orpass/fail) are not allowed beyond the Add/Drop period. Students who register for courses on an audit or pass/fail basis will be assessed tuition on the same per-credit basis as for letter-grade registrations.

4. Enrollment through the Consortium

Georgetown partners with thirteen institutions in the Consortium of Universities of the Washington Metropolitan Area: American University, The Catholic University of America, Corcoran College of Art + Design, Gallaudet University, George Mason University, The George Washington University, Howard University, Marymount University, National Defense Intelligence College, National Defense University, Trinity Washington University, University of the District of Columbia, and University of Maryland, College Park. Students enrolled in a Graduate School degree program may enroll for courses through the Consortium, provided such courses are not available at Georgetown University.

5. Requests for Extension of Time Limits

If it becomes apparent that a student will not complete all degree requirements and graduate within the time allowed, the student may petition the Graduate School for an extension of time to complete the degree. Such a request must be submitted in writing to the student's mentor and the Director of Graduate Studies (DGS) of the student’s program. The DGS, in consultation with the student’s mentor, will forward a recommendation to the Graduate School on whether to grant or deny the student’s request. If the DGS recommends granting the request, he or she should specify any intermediate deadlines or other academic criteria that are to be met by the student, as well as a realistic date for completion of the degree; the recommended completion date may or may not be the date requested by the student. The Graduate School will readily grant a first extension of up to one year on the recommendation of both the student’s mentor and the program’s DGS. Please refer to the Graduate School Bulletin available online for further extensions and full policy. 

6. Leaves of Absence

A. Personal Leave of Absence

Students who find it necessary to interrupt their studies may apply in writing to the Graduate School for a personal leave of absence. A “personal leave of absence” is defined as any leave of absence other than one granted for medical reasons or for military service. Such requests should be submitted at least one week prior to Regular Registration for the semester in which the leave is to be taken, and must be submitted no later than the last day of the Add/Drop period. The student’s department or program must approve the request for a leave. When properly approved and officially entered on the transcript, a leave of absence satisfies the Graduate School’s registration requirement. It may not, however, confer the registration or residency status necessary to qualify for financial aid or to meet visa requirements. A total of no more than four semesters of personal leave of absence are allowed in a student’s graduate career at Georgetown University, whether taken at the master’s or the doctoral level. Up to two semesters of leave may be granted at any one time. Please refer to the Graduate School Bulletin available online for full policy and updates. 

B. Medical Leaves of Absence

Medical leaves are administered according to the University Policy on Medical Leaves. A link to the policy statement can be found on the website of the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs at: http://shc.georgetown.edu/. All requests for an MLOA will be reviewed by the medical staff of the appropriate Student Health service so that they can make a recommendation to the Graduate School concerning the request. All students planning to return from a MLOA must contact both the Graduate School and the appropriate Student Health center in advance of their return. Approved periods of medical leave will extend the time permitted to complete degree requirements and to graduate. Please refer to the Graduate School Bulletin available online for full policy and updates.

C. Military Leave of Absence

A student who is called to active military duty will be permitted a military leave of absence. The student should report his/her obligation for military service in writing to the Dean as soon as reasonably possible after the student receives his/her orders. If a new semester has begun, the Dean may authorize a 100% refund of tuition through the 50% refund period. The student’s courses will be marked with a “W” grade and a record will be made on the transcript to explain the withdrawal. Approved periods of military leave of absence will extend the time permitted to complete degree requirements and to graduate.

D. Parental Leave of Absence for Graduate Students

The Graduate School offers support for graduate students who need to take leave in connection with the birth of and/or full time care of a new child during their period of enrollment. The goal in offering this support is to allow graduate students to continue their studies with as little disruption as possible. Parental leave is intended to enable the graduate student to continue to make progress toward his or her degree. Consequently it does not grant additional semesters of funding, although under certain circumstances funding may be deferred. Nor does it change the length of time permitted to complete degree requirements and to graduate.

This policy requires communication and cooperation in good faith between the student seeking the leave, the faculty, and the student’s department. Please refer to the Graduate School Bulletin available online for the terms of the policy.

7. International Students 

Before the start of each semester, all newly-enrolled international students at Georgetown University on non-immigrant visas are required to attend the Immigration Reporting Session given by the Office of International Programs (OIP). OIP will provide all new international students with detailed information concerning the time, date, and location of the session beforethe start of the semester; this information will also be posted on OIP’s website. Those who fail to attend the session will not be allowed to complete registration or to attend classes. For further questions and information, please contact the Office of International Programs by calling (202) 687-5867. Please refer to the Graduate School Bulletin available online for the full policy. For additional information please consult the OIP website.

8. Academic integrity

Students in the Department of Arabic and Islamic Studies are expected to maintain the highest standards of academic integrity in pursuit of their educational goals. Academic misconduct in any form is a serious offense against the academic community in general and against Georgetown University in particular. Students who are found to have violated standards of academic integrity will be subject to academic penalties. These penalties may include,but are not limited to, transcript notations, suspension or dismissal from the University, orrevocation of degrees already conferred. Please refer to the Graduate School Bulletin available online for full policy and a list of all cases of Academic misconducts subject to academic penalties. 

9. Communication

The Department of Arabic and Islamic Studies assigns student mailboxes each semester. Georgetown students automatically receive a free account on the university computers which provides access to email, the Internet, university-supported software, the online library catalogue, and other useful services. For computer questions or problems contact the StudentHelp Desk at (202) 687-4949 or at help@georgetown.edu. Students are expected to read, and, when appropriate or required, respond in a timely fashion to emails sent from University offices. Email is the standard mode of communication for University broadcast messages to the community as well as for messages to individual students about academic standing and other important administrative matters. Messages are sent to the Georgetown student’s official Georgetown e-mail address. Students who wish to use another address are responsible for setting and maintaining appropriate forwarding rules to ensure they receive University email.