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Ph.D. in Islamic Studies and Christian-Muslim Relations

About

Curriculum

Admissions

Tuition and Fees

The Macdonald Center for the Study of Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations, the first of its kind in the nation, embodies Harford Seminary’s commitment to the study of Islam and Christianity and the complex relationship between the two religions throughout history and in the modern world. This Ph.D. program will continue the Seminary’s long legacy of educating and training experts in Christian-Muslim relations. It will provide advanced study in the knowledge and practical application of Islamic Studies and Christian-Muslim relations and train scholars who will be experts in this area. We envision graduates of this program will further the mission and purpose of Hartford Seminary as professors at institutions of higher education, independent scholars and experts in Christian-Muslim relations, and as leaders or directors of organizations that are involved in interfaith work.

The learning objectives of this program are for the students to acquire:

  • comprehensive knowledge in Christian-Muslim relations, theologies of interreligious engagement, or interfaith dialogue
  • competence to produce and engage in original research and writing to advance the scholarship on Islamic Studies and Christian-Muslim Relations for the benefit of faith communities, academy, and society
  • competence to teach this area in religious communities and academia
  • skills and knowledge to inspire and encourage students to do autonomous projects that will advance the understanding of Christian-Muslim Relations in religious communities and academia

Contact Tina Demo, Director of Recruitment and Admissions,
if you are interested in applying for this program.
tdemo@hartsem.edu
860-509-9549

The Ph.D. curriculum consists of 36 credit hours of course work, 12 credits for the comprehensive exams, and 36 credits for the dissertation, which add up to 84 total credit hours. There are two Ph.D. Seminars required in the first year which will focus on research methods and skills and student development as scholars. The following four courses will also be required: Islamic History I or II, Christian-Muslim Relations in Early Islam, Major Themes in the Bible and the Qur’an, and Islamic Theology/Thought. These required courses will give a solid foundation in the study of Islam and Christian-Muslim relations. Then the students will choose, in consultation with their advisors, an additional six courses in the traditional theological disciplines in order to acquire sufficient knowledge to begin identifying and formulating their dissertation topics. Students will be required to write papers related to the study of Islam and Christian-Muslim relations in all courses they take. After successful course work, students will spend one year preparing and taking the comprehensive exams. Finally, after successful comprehensive exams, students will write their dissertations.

The sufficient proficiency and knowledge of Qur’anic and classical Arabic is critical to the success of this program. One of the requirements for admission to this program is that applicants need to have at least one year of classical Arabic at the time of admission. There will be a mandatory test for all Ph.D. students after one year in the program to demonstrate at least a rudimentary working knowledge of Qur’anic and classical Arabic, but the goal is to train the students to have the sufficient proficiency and knowledge to work with classical/Qur’anic Arabic in their study and research.

Three Stages of Ph.D. Program

Stage one: Course work (2 years) – the student takes 12 courses through which s/he acquires knowledge in Islamic Studies and Christian-Muslim relations, theologies of interreligious engagement, or interfaith dialogue and becomes competent to teach in these areas. The student’s performance will be reviewed each year by the Ph.D. Committee with the supervisor present. In addition to grades and feedback from course instructors, the supervisor’s assessment will be taken into account to determine in the second year whether the student will be allowed to proceed to the next stage (comprehensive exams). Moreover, prior to advancement to the comprehensive examinations, students will be required to have proficiency in classical Arabic and one or more additional languages as is appropriate to their field of study/area of research and as determined by the supervisor and the student. The Committee will also carry out this annual checkup to improve the program and student learning.

Stage two: Comprehensive exams (normally 1 year) – four exams will be administered. Two standard exams will test the student’s knowledge in Christian-Muslim relations, theologies of interreligious engagement, or interfaith dialogue. The student will be given two sets of bibliographies from which the standard exams will be drawn. Moreover, the student will propose two exams (normally in the form of research papers, which also need to demonstrate sufficient knowledge of classical Arabic) to demonstrate her/his competence in engaging in original research in these areas. Based on the performance on the comprehensive exams, the Ph.D. Committee will determine with the supervisor present whether the student will be allowed to progress to the dissertation stage.

Stage three: Dissertation (normally 2 years) – the student is required to write a dissertation (normally between 200 to 300 pages long) to demonstrate that s/he has the skills and knowledge to do autonomous projects that can advance the scholarship on Islamic studies and Christian-Muslim relations and also the ability to work with classical Arabic. All dissertations must have an explicit focus on Islamic studies and Christian-Muslim relations and neither of these two areas should be optional foci of the dissertation. A dissertation committee (composed of the supervisor, at least one member from the Hartford Seminary faculty, and at least one external examiner) will determine whether the dissertation has met Ph.D.-level work.

The potential outcomes of this exam are:

  1. To recommend that the Ph.D. degree be awarded.
  2. To suspend the recommendation while minor corrections are made.
  3. To outright fail the student and withdraw the student from the program.

Sample curriculum and timeline

  Year   Fall   Spring
1 Ph.D. Seminar 1
Islamic History I or II
Electives (3 or 6 credits)
Ph.D. Seminar 2
Christian-Muslim Relations in Early Islam
Electives (3 or 6 credits)
2 Major Themes in Qur’an and Bible
Electives (3 or 6 credits)
Islamic Theology/Thought
Electives (3 or 6 credits)
3  Comprehensive Exams  Comprehensive Exams
4-5  Dissertation  Dissertation

The Ph.D. program seeks international and domestic students who know about the reputation of Hartford Seminary’s long-standing work on Christian-Muslim relations and are interested specifically in Christian-Muslim relations. All applications will be reviewed by the Admissions Committee that is made up of three faculty members and the Director of Recruitment and Admissions. Applicants are required to have earned a Master of Divinity or equivalent from an accredited institution, or the Master of Arts in Religious Studies with the focused area in Islamic Studies and Christian-Muslim Relations from Hartford Seminary prior to their enrollment into this program. At least one year of classical Arabic is required at the time of admission (there will be a mandatory test for all Ph.D. students after one year in the program to demonstrate at least a rudimentary working knowledge of Qur’anic and classical Arabic). The following materials are also required:

  • Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores;
  • TOEFL or IELTS for students who are not native speakers of the English language with a minimum of 80 Internet based test on the TOEFL and 6.5 on the IELTS;
  • three letters of recommendation;
  • all official transcripts from tertiary institutions applicants attended (for international students, certified, translated and evaluated international transcripts);
  • 20-25 page sample scholarly paper;
  • and approximately 1,000 word personal statement outlining the student’s reasons for applying to this program.

Application deadline for Fall 2017 is January 31, 2017.

Contact Tina Demo, Director of Recruitment and Admissions,
if you are interested in applying for this program.
tdemo@hartsem.edu
860-509-9549

Scholarships
Financial support is available. Please contact our admissions office to learn more at admissions@hartsem.edu.

Payment of Tuition and Fees

Application Fee $100
Yearly Tuition (Full-Time only; no part-time allowed) during the course work and comprehensive exam stage (first three years)
$25,000 payable in two installments of $12,500 at the beginning of each semester (Fall and Spring). This fee is paid for three years and is subject to change.
Yearly Tuition during the dissertation stage $2,000 per semester beyond the initial three years of the program.
Student Comprehensive Fee $100 per semester
Returned Check Fee $20
Transcript Fee $10
Graduation Fee $185

The cost of the Ph.D. program is the total of tuition for the prescribed number of years.

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