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Islamic Studies PhD Program-PhD

This post is also available in: العربية (Arabic)

Program Description

The Islamic Studies PhD program at the The American Open University is designed to provide students with a deep and exceptionally profound understanding in the critical thinking and analysis in Islamic Studies. Students will be introduced to both traditional and contemporary sources throughout their course of study and will further elevate and develop their skills in methods of research.

In addition to the primary program of study, students will also be given the opportunity to narrow their focus of interest. After completing the core requirements of this program, students will then be required to choose one of the following tracks of study to specialize in: Jurisprudence, Theology, Qur’an or Hadith.

Program Guidance

Students should follow the program courses in the order they are presented. Students should contact the Director of Graduate Studies as soon as you have determined your area of interest for your dissertation so that an Adviser can be appointed to you. The student then, with the expertise and guidance of the Adviser can develop a solid plan of study that will keep the student on track and so that the student can be evaluated on their academic progress on a regular basis.

Program Steps: (This is just a quick summary)

  •  Get approved for admissions & send necessary documents to the Graduate Department
  •  When you know your area of interest, immediately inform the Graduate Department so you can be appointed an Adviser
  •  Work out a plan and devise a strategy for your studies with your Adviser
  •  In the 3rd year, complete field work experience requirements
  • Complete all courses successfully with at least a B+ grade
  •  Take & pass Qur’anic memorization Exam (5 Juz’ 16-20)
  •  Take & pass 6 written Comprehensive Exams
  •  Take & pass Oral Comprehensive Exam
  •  Send Dissertation proposal for approval
  •  Once you get the approval, start writing your dissertation
  •  Do your Defense
  •  Make any necessary corrections
  •  Send the University the final approved dissertation in both bound form and PDF form

Language Requirements

Students must be proficient in English along with an intermediate understanding of the Arabic language.

AOU Masters Graduate Students continuing on to the PhD Program


If you are an AOU Masters Graduate and are continuing on to the PhD Program you are exempt from reapplying and the admissions fee is waived.

Transferring Students Requirements

If you are a Masters Graduate transferring from another University, then you must do the following:

  • Apply to AOU (pay admissions fee)
  • Send copy of photo ID
  • Send copy of Masters Degree and transcripts
  • Send all course descriptions for courses you wish, if any, to be transferred (pay equalization fee)

If you do not have your Masters Degree in Islamic Studies, then you need to take and pass 5 Master Program comprehensive exams in ‘Aqeedah (theology), Qu’ranic Sciences, Hadith Sciences, Arabic and Foundations of Fiqh & Fiqh ($1,040.00) to see if you qualify to enter in the PhD Program directly or if you need to take some courses in our Masters Program before being admitted into the PhD Program.

Time to the Degree

Students admitted to the PhD Program must not exceed seven years to be awarded PhD.

PhD student vs. PhD candidate

A PhD student is any student enrolled in a PhD program.

 Upon successful completion of the comprehensive exams, the student then becomes known as a “PhD candidate” (“PhD Candidate” is a student who has completed all of the academic requirements for their degree, except the dissertation).


Course Structure

Each professor will specially design a course outline for his students.

Most courses will be independent research that will require the students to write multiple intense and meticulous research papers.

In the third year, Students must perform either as a teacher’s assistant or do an internship based on his/her study of interest for at least 12 weeks. The student must send their intended field experience and have this approved by the Graduate Department and once it is approved an official letter will be sent to the person overseeing their internship or the Professor whom they will be acting as their assistant. Upon completion of the internship or teacher’s assistant term, a progress report and evaluation must be made by the Supervisor and sent to the Graduate Department.


PhD Program in Islamic Studies: 85 Total Credit Hours (50 Credit Hours Course Work plus Dissertation Research 35 Credit Hours).


Passing Grade:  Minimum 85 (B+)


Total Cost of our PhD Program is approximately $26,000.00



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