Master of Science in Islamic Art, Architecture and Urbanism
Master of Science in Islamic Art, Architecture and Urbanism

Master of Science in Islamic Art, Architecture and Urbanism

The Master of Science (MS) in Islamic Art, Architecture and Urbanism is a multidisciplinary program conducted in collaboration with the University of Oxford. It aims to equip future designers, curators, and historians with a critical and informed understanding of Islamic art and architecture across centuries, spanning from Andalusia to Central Asia into the present era.


In light of contemporary developments in the integration of Islamic art and its reformulation in modern architecture, there is a growing need for experts who are able to combine heritage with contemporary techniques and trends by providing innovative architectural and urban design solutions.

This program encourages research towards safeguarding Islamic heritage by examining the diversity and the contextual history of Islamic material culture. In addition, graduates will investigate notions of rapid urbanization, designing civic spaces, spatial humanities, migration and urbanism, cross- cultural art influences, heritage preservation, and more, qualifying them to pursue careers in Islamic art history, contemporary mosque architecture, sustainable urbanism fields, and related career pathways.

Program Focus

The MS in Islamic Art, Architecture and Urbanism program is unique in focus, structure, and content with no similar program offered in the Islamic world.

The program focuses on the critical construction, acquisition, dissemination, and application of art history, architecture, and urbanism to international institutions in general, and more specifically to diverse Islamic societies.

The program is comprehensive in nature, as it delves into the art, architecture, and urbanism of a wide range of Islam- influenced civilizations. It offers specializations that aim to develop critical tools for the analysis of buildings and public spaces at different scales, and advanced skills for their application in architectural design projects. Another track endeavors to develop expertise in the study and display of historical objects and the deep understanding and appreciation required to exhibit such objects.

The program utilizes creative platforms outside the traditional classroom, such as collaborative workshops by international figures in the field; provides opportunities to explore a different country in the Islamic world every year; and helps expand the student’s network through encounters with specialists and specialist institutions based locally and abroad.


A 36-credit degree program taught over two years in English that includes:

  • One foundation course (3 credits)

    • Qur’anic Civilizations, Geography, and Archaeology
  • Six core courses (18 credits)

    • History of Islamic Art and Architecture I (650-1250)
    • History of Islamic Art and Architecture II (1250 -1900)
    • Independent Project Modelling
    • Research and Design Methods
    • Survey of Architectural Typologies of the Islamic World
    • Sustainable Islamic Urbanism: Past and Present
  • A choice of three specializations (9 credits)

    • Specialization I: Islamic Arts: History and Cultural Display
      • Islamic Objects and Manuscripts
      • Museum and Exhibition Studies
      • Elective*
    • Specialization II: Contemporary Mosque Architecture
      • Islamic Architecture and Urbanism in the 20th and 21st Centuries
      • Mosque Architecture Design
      • Elective*
    • Specialization III: Sustainable Cities of Muslim Societies
      • Contemporary Cities for Muslim Societies
      • Globalization, Cities, and Urban Policies
      • Elective*

    *Students can select an elective course from the program, or from the catalogs of HBKU’s College of Humanities and Social Sciences (CHSS) or HBKU’s College of Science and Engineering (CSE).

  • Thesis (6 credits)

View Admission & Application Requirements