Programme Specification MA Education (Muslim Societies and Civilisations)

Programme Specification
MA Education (Muslim Societies and Civilisations)
Awarding body: University College London
Teaching institution: UCL Institute of Education
Name of the final award:
Master of Arts in Education
Postgraduate Diploma in Education
Postgraduate Certificate in Education
Programme title:
MA Education (Muslim Societies and Civilisations)
Language of study
The UCL Institute of Education teaches and assesses students in English.
Competence in English language is required of all applicants. Programme
regulations may indicate the level of competence required of each applicant and may
make its achievement a condition of admission.
Criteria for admission to the programme
Applicants from the UK are expected to have a good honours degree (2.2 or above)
or equivalent. European and international applicants are expected to have
qualifications at an equivalent level.
Applicants will normally have some relevant professional experience.
Applicants whose first language is a language other than English may be required to
provide evidence of their English language proficiency.
The UCL Institute of Education is committed to admitting and supporting participants
with disabilities and welcomes such applications. Participants do not need to be
“registered disabled” to draw on these services. Disabilities Support can also support
people who have a temporary mobility / dexterity impairment / other difficulty as a
result of an accident, injury, illness or surgery. We aim to treat every person as an
individual, with needs which may differ from those of other people with a superficially
similar disability. We do not therefore have standard procedures for participants with
dyslexia, nor standard procedures for visually impaired participants: each person's
needs are considered individually
Aims of the programme
This MA programme includes a sequence of coursework and field experiences
anchored to the knowledge and practice of teacher education. The MA aims to equip
participants with scholarly skills, critical analysis, pedagogical understanding,
methodological and research skills, and clear communications skills.
The MA coursework (supported by the concurrent MTeach and school experience)
aims to prepare participants to become effective and informed practitioners by
developing their skills so that they:
1) can integrate the many areas of contextually relevant subject matter knowledge
with knowledge about adolescent learners and pedagogy;
2) gain an understanding of curriculum and teaching, built upon a subject matter
knowledge base that allows them to organize content to scaffold effective student
3) are engaged in research on teaching, learning, curriculum and assessment;
4) bring to bear modes of enquiry, reflection and pedagogical reasoning in teacher
education and curriculum as they relate to their own particular social and cultural
Specifically the course aims to provide the IIS‘s Secondary Teacher Education
Programme (STEP) teacher-educators with:
A grasp of issues, and reflective and critical insights in the teacher-educators‘
understanding of the philosophical and pedagogical framework of the IIS
secondary curriculum (SC), and its civilisational and humanities content;
An insightful and critical review of relevant literature in the subject area, and
creativity and independence of thought in the application of knowledge;
An understanding and evaluation of research methodologies in the teaching of
Islamic humanities at the secondary level, and the SC framework and content;
Skills that contribute to (i) the critical evaluation of scholarship and research in
religious education and the humanities at the secondary level; (ii) an
understanding of how established techniques of research and enquiry are
used to create and interpret knowledge and how these apply to the teachereducators‘ own research and/or practice; and (iii) the creative and critical
handling, presenting and analysis of data;
A grasp of the structure, communication and presentation of this field of study,
while fulfilling grade-level achievement that shows clarity, focus and cogency
in organization and presentation of arguments and conclusions.
Programme outcomes:
The MA coursework (supported by the coursework of the concurrent MTeach) rests
on the fundamental belief that the goal of the educational enterprise is the success of
all students, and that this goal should organize the connected work of education
researchers, subject-content providers and practitioners.
The overarching learning outcomes that the MA seeks to develop in participants are:
A professional and pedagogical practice based on their commitment to use
content and research knowledge, and shared standards of practice to enable
diverse Ismaili Muslim students at the secondary level to attain challenging
learning goals and to actualize their individual potentials;
Acquisition of knowledge, skills and pedagogical attributes through study,
practice, and reflection within the professional communities of educators. The
Secondary Teacher Education Programme is committed to the idea that
education is an ethical, moral, political, and democratic act underpinned by a
robust sense of pedagogical praxis.
Through the MA coursework, participants are expected to:
Possess key subject-specific knowledge and understanding on Islam and the
Ismaili Muslim tradition approached from broad humanistic, civilisational, and
normative perspectives. This requires immersion in literature review, field-based
research and clinical experiences to enhance and secure their understanding of
the secondary curriculum content in classroom settings; acquire the practical
skills to deliberate, debate, and interrogate a range of issues which the subjectmatter of the secondary curriculum elicits; be equipped to identify problems and
questions in areas of subject-matter interest and to design lesson and study
plans or research strategies to deal with them.
Question, extend, adapt or challenge existing assumptions and intellectual
frameworks in relation to the subject-matter, curriculum interventions, specific
literature and/or teaching practice. By the end of this programme, participants
should be able to reflect on practice, teaching and learning interventions, and the
contribution of course work to continuing professional development.
Plan, manage, and structure curriculum and pedagogical activities through the
efficient use of research libraries, their archives and their contents; use of
specialist online databases and other online facilities for postgraduate level
research; form arguments at postgraduate level (Level 7) and express those
arguments in substantial pieces of writing using proper academic conventions;
and work independently on an extended research project.
Programme structures and requirements, levels, modules, credits and awards
The UCL Institute of Education uses the European Credit Transfer and Accumulation
System (ECTS), as a guide to support periods of study undertaken abroad and to
assist student mobility. Currently it is assumed that two UK credits equate to one
ECTS. Therefore a module of 30 credits would typically equate to 15 ECTS credits.
For a Master's degree to be awarded, successful completion of a minimum of 180
credits is required. Participants who for academic or personal reasons are unable to
successfully complete the 180 credits required for the masters award may exit with
the completion of 60 or 120 credits respectively and be awarded a Postgraduate
Certificate or Postgraduate Diploma in the subject area.
The 180 masters credit programme comprises of the following core modules:
Muslim History in Secondary Education (30 credits)
This module examines Muslim history from the dawn of Islam to the fall of the
Ottoman Empire through the exploration of crucial episodes, conceptual
underpinnings and narratives of the Islamic past. It includes a chronological outline
of the main dynasties that ruled the Muslim lands through the institution of the
Caliphate, such as the Umayyads, Abbasids, Fatimids, Seljuqs, Mughuls and
Ottomans. This module will introduce Students to Muslim civilisations through a
broad, interdisciplinary range of topics, including the myriad political, social, religious,
cultural and intellectual transformations. Students will have the opportunity to
develop critical thinking skills, as well as explore how the content covered in the
module connects with the Muslim Societies and Civilisations curriculum to make
history meaningful to Ismaili Muslim adolescents.
Revelation, Hermeneutics, Pluralism and Practice (30 credits)
The core module Revelation, Hermeneutics, Pluralism and Practice engages
participants with core aspects of religious traditions: revelation, its hermeneutics, the
inherent pluralism that results, and its expression in community practice. The module
aims to introduce participants to some of the fundamental features of religion through
humanistic and normative perspectives on ritual, belief and doctrine. It also seeks to
examine the question ‘What constitutes the Muslim understanding of Islam?’ through
engagement with selected facets of Qur'anic studies and expressions of faith and
practice in Muslim communities. Finally, it aims to provide students with an
understanding of pluralism in the different conceptual underpinnings and
hermeneutical practices of Muslim communities. This will prepare them as STEP
teachers to inculcate into their students an awareness of the strength that the
diversity and plurality of historical interpretations has provided for the development of
Islam in different cultural, geographical and temporal contexts.
Literature of Muslim Societies (30 credits)
The core module of Literature of Muslim Societies aims to provide students with an
understanding of the subject matter expertise of shared genres, themes and topoi of
the literary expressions of Muslim societies and civilisations. Since the regional or
language-based literary histories of the Muslim societies and civilisations that are to
be studied in this module have their own dynamic and historical trajectories, this
module will approach the examination of its subject matter thematically rather than
chronologically. It will allow students to appreciate the inventiveness of authors of
literary texts. The module aims to enable students to relate these texts to specific
contexts within Muslim societies and civilisations, and examine how they have been,
and continue to be, appropriated and (re)interpreted in new contexts. It also aims to
enable students to engage critically with academic literature and research evidence
related to the topics and themes of this module.
Traditions of Enquiry (30 credits)
All major world civilisations have engaged in the pursuit of knowledge whether for
practical purposes, improving the world, or for attaining personal self-fulfilment. Such
a pursuit underlies the fundamental mission of education and the establishment of its
institutions. This module will examine the knowledge enterprise in Muslim societies
and civilisations by investigating the historical factors that facilitated the appropriation
of knowledge from other civilisations. Furthermore, it will analyse the intellectual
influence of Muslim societies and civilisations in world history and examine key
questions in historical Muslim civilisations on various topics, including epistemology,
theology, ethics, science and mysticism.
Report (30 credits)
The MA Research Report is a mandatory component of STEP. As part of the
programme, students are required to undertake a research study and submit a
10,000 word research report (amounting to 30 credits).The engagement of students
in the design, application and evaluation of the research study is aimed at equipping
them with core proficiencies that can be used as the basis for further professional
development. They mainly adopt an empirical field research approach within a
qualitative research paradigm. Undertaking an empirical study provides students
with a valuable opportunity to develop research skills, underpinned by a discovery
approach to learning, and through the generation and analysis of primary data in the
field. The research study for the MA is largely based on investigating aspects of the
IIS Secondary Curriculum including its implementation and effectiveness in different
contexts across the globe.
To complete the remaining 30 credits, students choose one of the following modules:
Modernity and Muslim Societies (30 credits optional module)
Through discussions of various episodes, personalities, and movements from the
late-eighteenth century to the present, this module will survey a period of rapid
political, economic, social and intellectual change in Muslim societies that continues
to this day. With the use of case studies of Muslim societies in various global
contexts, including, South Asia, East Africa, Iran, Central Asia, Turkey, and Europe,
the module aims to provide students with contemporary subject matter content that
will be relevant to their classroom teaching. Students will be provided with key
aspects of modernisation movements, focusing on the issues faced by Muslim
communities and the diverse responses they have formulated, which are expressed
through various mediums, such as narrative fiction, television, print media, music
and the internet.
Cultural Encounters, Material Culture and Narratives (30 credits optional module)
Like all major world religions, Islam is neither monolithic nor monocultural, but rather
is dynamic, shaping and being shaped by the local contexts in which it is found. This
module undertakes the study of Muslim civilisations from the vantage point of the
local contexts of past and present Muslim societies, seeking to understand Islam as
embedded in the threads of historical and cultural encounters. The module will briefly
examine some theoretical perspectives before using case studies to examine
transformations resulting from the encounters. Students will be able to view the
plurality within Islam in a new light, learn about development of diversity within
Muslim cultures and understand the historical roots of the contemporary
phenomenon of globalization.
Teaching, learning and assessment strategies to enable outcomes to be achieved
and demonstrated
Teaching and learning strategies include lectures, small group seminars, readings,
and individual tasks associated with the readings. Assessment has been designed to
evaluate progression of understanding as follows: formative assessment through
class presentation and seminars, for example, and a final summative written
Information about assessment regulations
We offer a range of types of coursework to support programme and module aims.
They include research proposal writing, critical evaluation of empirical and theoretical
research, discursive essay, empirical research and extended writing via the report on
a topic negotiated and planned with the tutor. This is an opportunity to produce a
piece of sustained writing, constituting critical theoretical/conceptual analysis as well
as (in most cases) related empirical work, on a topic of direct interest.
Once an assignment has been handed in, two programme tutors will assess an
assignment and standards are cross-checked across the programme. Internal
moderation of written work is undertaken by programme tutors. The External
Examiner plays an important role in monitoring the quality of the programme and
evaluating the effectiveness of the teaching and support provided for the students
and the reliability of judgments in assessments.
Support for learning
Support for learners on the programme includes:
• An induction day held at the commencement of the programme to inform
participants of the programme content, methods and expectations.
• Programme and module handbooks offer full guidance and advice on studying,
writing and submitting both assignments and dissertations or reports.
• The MA and STEP programme leaders are available to advise all participants
on academic matters, and to refer them to the range of support services
available at UCL IOE.
• Formative feedback is provided on draft assignments to take forward to the
final submission.
• Peer support and networking is facilitated within the programme by the use of
virtual learning environment (VLE) and collaborative projects.
• Access to the full range of welfare and union facilities is afforded to all UCL IOE
• Participants are all inducted on the use of the library and information services
and the VLE operating system.
Methods for evaluating and improving the programme
Mechanisms for review and evaluation of teaching, learning, assessment include:
• Module evaluation by participants
• Termly meetings of the Programme Committee including student
• Annual programme review prepared by programme team and considered by
Faculty learning and teaching committee
• Periodic programme review and revalidation involving external panel member
• Staff review and development
• External examiner reports
Committees with responsibility for monitoring and evaluating quality and standards:
• Programme Committee
• Board of Examiners
• Teaching and Quality Committee
• Validation and Partnership Panel
Mechanisms for gaining participant feedback on the quality of teaching and their
learning experience:
• Student module evaluation (sessional and programme)
• Student representation on programme committees
Mode of study
Participants attend on a part-time (over two years) basis. Attendance is face-to-face.
Indicators of quality and standards
The following are key indicators of quality and standards in this programme:
• Progression to higher level award programmes
• Promotion to management or higher level roles in their place of work
• Programme participants teaching other practitioners in their own institutions or
on a regional or national basis
• Participation in continuing professional development programmes
• External examiner’s appraisal of how standards compare with other universities
Date at which the programme specification was written or revised
August 2015