MRes Islamic Studies

The MRes degree is a research programme that includes taught modules.

It is intended for anyone wishing to move beyond undergraduate work into research, while it offers the help of taught modules to develop research and related skills.

The programme enables you to explore most aspects of Islamic Studies, including Islamic history and philosophy, and contemporary religious and political thought.

Professor David Thomas

“The MRes is an excellent way to become more deeply involved in particular aspects of the Islamic heritage. The taught modules you choose offer a wide view of the major issues under current debate. They provide a grounding in your topic. The dissertation allows you to investigate one or more matters in considerable detail. It provides a means to satisfy your curiosity, and at the same time to prepare yourself for further studies by learning new methods of enquiry.”

The MRes is a research degree that also includes taught components. It may be followed as an end in itself, while it also provides an excellent foundation for doctoral research.

The programme comprises four components: a compulsory Research Methods module, two optional taught modules, and a 20,000-word thesis on a topc of your choice.

Why study this course

  • The University of Birmingham is an excellent centre for the study of religion and culture. It not only has a long tradition of specialised research in Islam and its relations with the cultural settings in which Muslims live, but it has also built up good relationships and partnerships with Birmingham's many different communities. This long tradition of scholarship and rich cultural mix makes Birmingham an ideal setting to study Islam in both its historical and contemporary forms.
  • As a postgraduate in this field, you will have access to one of the largest collections of books on Islam in the country, and also the unique Mingana Collection of Syriac and Arabic manuscripts.
  • Theology and Religion celebrated excellent Research Assessment Exercise 2014 results, being ranked second in the UK - 51% of research at the University of Birmingham for Theology and Religious Studies was top 4*  rated ‘world-leading’, A further 28% was rated 3* ‘internationally excellent’.


Core module:

  • Research Methods 

Optional modules:

For your two optional modules you may choose from the modules offered within the School of Philosophy, Theology and Religion or, where appropriate, from other Schools in the College of Arts and Law. You should make your choice with the topic of your thesis in mind, and in consultation with your thesis supervisor. The following modules are recommended:

  • Christian-Muslim Relations – Origins and Issues
  • Feminism in the Muslim World
  • Islamic Philosophy
  • Political Islam
  • Religion in Contemporary Global Politics
  • Special Study

This is followed by the completion of a 20,000 word thesis.

Please note that the optional modules listed on the website for this programme are intended to be indicative, and the availability of optional modules may vary from year to year. Where a module is no longer available we will let you know as soon as we can and help you to make other choices.

Fees and funding

We charge an annual tuition fee. Fees for 2017/18:

  • Home / EU £4,180 full-time; £2,090 part-time*
  • Overseas: £15,210 full-time

* For UK/EU postgraduate research students the University fee level is set at Research Council rates and as such is subject to change. The final fee will be announced by Research Councils UK in spring 2017.

The above fee quoted is for one year only; for those studying over two or more years, tuition fees will also be payable in subsequent years of your programme.

Eligibility for Home/EU or Overseas fees can be verified with Admissions. Learn more about fees for international students.

Tuition fees can either be paid in full or by instalments. Learn more about postgraduate tuition fees and funding.

Scholarships and studentships

Scholarships to cover fees and/or maintenance costs may be available. To discover whether you are eligible for any award across the University, and to start your funding application, please visit the University's Postgraduate Funding Database.

International students can often gain funding through overseas research scholarships, Commonwealth scholarships or their home government.

Entry requirements

Our requirements for postgraduate research are dependent on the type of programme you are applying for:

  • For MRes and MA by Research programmes, entry to our programmes usually requires a good (normally a 2:1 or above) Honours degree, or an equivalent qualification if you were educated outside the UK.
  • If you are applying for a PhD then you will usually also need to hold a good Masters qualification.

Any academic and professional qualifications or relevant professional experience you may have are normally taken into account, and in some cases, form an integral part of the entrance requirements.

If you are applying for distance learning research programmes, you will also be required to demonstrate that you have the time, commitment, facilities and experience to study by distance learning.

If your qualifications are non-standard or different from the entry requirements stated here, please contact the admissions tutor.

International students

Academic requirements

We accept a range of qualifications; our country pages show you what qualifications we accept from your country.

English language requirements

You can satisfy our English language requirements in two ways:

How to apply

Before you make your application

Please refer to our six step process on applying for PhD, MA by Research and MRes opportunities for Arts subject areas.

You may wish to register your interest with us to receive regular news and updates on postgraduate life within this Department and the wider University.

Additional Guidance for applicants to the PhD Distance Learning study mode.

Making your application


When clicking on the Apply Now button you will be directed to an application specifically designed for the programme you wish to apply for where you will create an account with the University application system and submit your application and supporting documents online. Further information regarding how to apply online can be found on the How to apply pages

Apply now

As well as the taught modules you take on this programme, the Department of Theology and Religion has a busy programme of research seminars, conferences and workshops which you can attend, so you will be able to gain insight from a range of academics and peers from across the department.

You will also become part of, and contribute to, the lively international community of the College of Arts and Law Graduate School, which offers dedicated research resources and a supportive working environment. Our team of academic and operational staff are on hand to offer support and advice to all postgraduate students within the College.

The University has been recognised for its impressive graduate employment, being named ‘University of the Year for Graduate Employment’ in The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2016.

Your degree will provide excellent preparation for employment and this will be further enhanced by the employability skills training offered through the College of Arts and Law Graduate School. The University also offers a wide range of activities and services to give our students the edge in the job market, including: career planning designed to meet the needs of postgraduates; opportunities to meet employers face-to-face at on-campus recruitment fairs, employer presentations and skills workshops; individual guidance on your job applications, writing your CV and improving your interview technique; and access to comprehensive listings of hundreds of graduate jobs and work experience opportunities.

University of the Year for employability

Birmingham’s Theology graduates develop a broad range of transferable skills including: familiarity with research methods; the ability to manage large quantities of information from diverse sources; the ability to organise information in a logical and coherent manner; the expertise to write clearly and concisely and to tight deadlines; critical and analytical ability; the capacity for argument, debate and speculation; and the ability to base conclusions on statistical research.

Over the past five years, over 95% of our postgraduates were in work and/or further study six months after graduation. Many of our graduates go into careers in churches of various denominations. Other students use their transferable skills in a range of employment sectors, including publishing, education and social work. Employers that our graduates have gone on to work for include: Church of England; Methodist Church; NHS; and University of Birmingham.

Birmingham has been transformed into one of Europe's most exciting cities. It is more than somewhere to study; it is somewhere to build a successful future.

Get involved

In addition to the student groups hosted by the Guild of Students, each school runs its own social activities, research fora, seminars and groups for postgraduates.


Coming to Birmingham to study might be your first time living away from home. Our student accommodation will allow you to enjoy your new-found independence in safe, welcoming and sociable surroundings.

Support in your studies

We offer an Academic Writing Advisory Service, which aims to help your transition to postgraduate research. The service offers guidance on organising your ideas and structuring an argument, referencing and avoiding plagiarism, being clear and coherent and editing your work for academic style and linguistic accuracy. Individual support is provided by a professional academic writing advisor via tutorials or email, as well as through the provision of online materials.

The City of Birmingham

One of Europe's most exciting destinations, Birmingham is brimming with life and cultures, making it a wonderful place to live, study and work. Our students fall in love with the city - around 40% of our graduates choose to make Birmingham their home.