Columbia University Master of Arts in Islamic Studies
BA/MA Option

Early Admission:

Undergraduate students enrolled at Columbia College, SEAS, Barnard, and the School of General Studies may apply for early admission to the MA program in Islamic Studies and begin their MA coursework in their senior year while completing their undergraduate degree. We encourage applications from students in a variety of majors who have excellent academic records.
For information on the BA/MA Option, see the GSAS website.


A minimum GPA of 3.5

Early Admissions Process: 

Students seeking early admission into the MA program should contact the MA Coordinator at the Middle East Institute ( during the second semester of the junior year or at the beginning of the first semester of the senior year before submitting an application. 

Application Deadlines: 

Applications for early admission should be submitted no later than March 15th of the student's junior year for admission in the following fall semester or November 1st of the student's senior year for admission in the following spring semester. Decisions will be announced no later than one month after the application deadline.

The application for Columbia and Barnard undergraduates seeking early admission is otherwise the same as the regular admissions requirements for non-Columbia applicants to the MA program, with the exception that a GRE test is not required. Students applying to the program will follow the standard online application procedure and follow the instructions for internal admission. Applications will include all of the materials specified for the standard MA application, including personal statement, undergraduate transcript, letters of recommendation, and a writing sample.

Admission in the MA program may be revoked if after admission the student fails to make adequate progress toward either the undergraduate or graduate degree. Examples of failure to make adequate academic progress would include a severe decline in GPA, or evidence of academic dishonesty.

Transition from the BA program to the MA program: 

The curriculum and requirements for students who are admitted early are the same as those for all other students in the MA program.

Coursework taken to satisfy any requirement of the undergraduate degree-i.e., courses taken to complete a major, a concentration, the science requirement, or the 124-point requirement-cannot be applied towards the requirements of the MA program.

After the senior year, an undergraduate dean will certify what specific courses did not count for the BA degree and therefore can be applied to the MA and the Islamic Studies MA director will decide on the suitability of the courses for acceptance to fulfill the 36 credit MA requirement in observance of the following:

  • no more than 15 credits taken as an undergraduate may count toward the MA
  • these courses must be in relevant fields and at the 4000 level or higher
  • in addition, the student must have earned in each of them a grade of at least B+

Students should consult with respective undergraduate and graduate deans and advisors before the senior year when designing a course of study for completion of the B.A. and then the MA degree.

When students have finished their fourth year, they officially become students of GSAS. As such, they will lose their rights to undergraduate housing and undergraduate financial aid. Some very limited housing and financial aid is available for MA students.  See information below.

Financial Aid:

Students in the early admission program are eligible to apply for both Academic Year and Summer Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellowships, which provide partial tuition and stipend support. Applicants must plan to study a regional language during both terms of their fellowship, and must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. See the Financial Aid section for more details.