Curriculum and Course Description

The total number of credits required for graduation is 30 credits, of which 21 credits are required courses, and 9 credits of elective courses.
The Institute of Islamic Art and Architecture will work on establishing a program exchange with other universities with reputed Islamic Art & Architecture programs, in the region, Europe and USA. students may spend the summer term in any of these places to conduct research and/or take pre-approved electives. These places include: the American University in Cairo, the University of London-School of Oriental and African Studies and New York University. Being in these places, students will also be exposed to monuments of Islamic architecture (Cairo), and to outstanding collections of Islamic art in the museums (London, New York).

IAA 711 Graduate Survey of Islamic Architecture [3 cr.]
This reading intensive lecture course surveys the development of Islamic architecture from the middle of the 7th century to the 18th century. Emphasis will be on contextualizing the architectural development within the development of various politics and cultures in Islamic societies.

IAA 712 Graduate Survey of the Islamic Arts [3 cr.]
This lecture reading intensive course explores the arts in Islamic history including all media. It strives at providing various methods of studying the art object, as well as relating the visual analysis to various contexts including textual, social, scientific, and technological parameters. It offers selected in depth reading into the formation of visual culture in Islamic societies.

IAA 721 Field Research & Studies [3 cr.]
This course will consist of independent study and on-site research in a historical site of relevance to Islamic Art & Architecture. The field study is concluded by writing a paper that would effectively serve as a thesis proposal.

IAA 722 Special Topics [3 cr.]
This course will be given on a topic of contemporary relevance, that would explore new areas of research, accommodate students’ areas of focus, location of the research, or pertinent to the expertise of a visiting professor. The selected topic would focus on specific themes, periods, or a particular medium.

IAA 731 Graduate Seminar [3 cr.]
The graduate seminar will serve as a forum for initiating students to the process of research on and critical analysis on a specific topic, and develop their independent formulation of a valid academic work.

IAA799 Master’s Thesis [6 cr.]
the Master’s Thesis is the final requirement for graduation, and consists of independent research under the guidance of an advisor. The course will be completed with the submission  of a thesis document, according to specific guidelines.

IAA 741 Byzantine and Early Islamic Art and Architecture [3 cr.]
This course studies the formation and developments of several periods in Western Asia since the founding of Constantinople in the middle of the 4th century to the middle of the 9th century. It explores the influences of Hellenistic culture in the development of the Late Antique, Byzantine and Early Islamic periods. Emphasis will be on culture interruption, continuity, appropriation, and influences.

IAA 742 The Art and Architecture of the Ayyubids and the Mamluks [3 cr.]
This course explores the formation of Ayyubid and Mamluk art and architecture in light of the continuing development of new scholarship in the field. It surveys the development of art and architecture between 1171 and 1516, with a special emphasis on field studies in Lebanon, Syria, and Egypt. The lectures would also address the various methods to approach the arts and architecture of this period. Essential to the course is reading primary sources; historical texts and documents, and exploring the complexity of relationships between the various social aspects and art and architecture of the period.

IAA 743 Identity and Modernity in the Middle East [3 cr.]
This course will trace architectural developments in the Middle East from the end of the Nineteenth century to the present. It addresses issues of architectural design in the twentieth century in the Middle East. Emphasis will be on the flux between modernist architecture and regional identity, with special consideration of the revival of Islamic architecture in 20th century. The impact of Modernism on urban development and the expansion of major cities such as Beirut, Damascus, Cairo, Baghdad, Tehran, and Istanbul will also be discussed.

IAA 744 Ornament in Islamic Art and Architecture [3 cr.]
This course addresses the important role of the ornament in Islamic art and architecture. It explores the various theories of ornament from the Nineteenth century to the present, and studies its applications in Islamic art and architecture. The course would require from students personal research, detailed archival and fieldwork to study various types of ornament.

IAA 745 Calligraphy in Islamic Art and Architecture [3 cr.]
This is an intensive survey of the development of the Arabic script and its application on various media. Special emphasis will be on the role of calligraphy in Islamic cultures. The course will address the function and meaning of the usa of calligraphy, its communicative, decorative, and symbolic functions, covering its use in religious and secular contexts, and in various media.

IAA 746 Geometry in Islamic Art and Architecture [3 cr.]
This course addresses an iconic aspect of Islamic art in the context of the general development of sciences in the Islamic world. It explores the extensive literature about the use of geometry in Islamic art and architecture, and the various theories related to its interpretation. The course will also present a series of case studies of patterns, investigating their function in the visual arts and architecture.

IAA 747 Figural representation in Islamic Art [3 cr.]
This course surveys the development of figural representation in various media in Islamic art. It explores the use of images in manuscripts and on art objects, in addition to the textual context in manuscripts, and the functional aspects of artworks. Emphasis will be on cases studies of different modes of representation and narratives.