Frequently Asked Questions

Application Program

When is the first day of classes?

The first day of the upcoming cohort four is September 03, 2024. The Seminary academic calendar, which includes course registration dates, holidays, and other administrative dates, can be found here.

What accreditation/approval does BIS have for this program?

The master’s program has been approved by the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education, and BIS has been granted the authority to grant the Master in Islamic Religious Leadership (MIRL) degree.

Would there be any changes to the degree plan?

There may be minor changes to the order of the courses and some class options may be added to the program, but the core courses will remain the same.

Are there pre-requisites for the program?

Yes, there are some prerequisites, details of which can be found here: Eligibility Requirement page (click here).

  • Applicants must have earned a Bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university, with a minimum GPA of 3.0. They are expected to be able to read and write in Arabic at an intermediate level.
  • Shortlisted MIRL candidates may be asked to take an online placement test to assess their abilities in the following areas: Qur’anic recitation and memorization, Sciences of the Qur’an and Hadith, the fundamentals of Fiqh, `Aqida and Tazkiya, and familiarity with basic Islamic concepts, vocabulary, and technical terms.

Students admitted to the program but do not perform satisfactorily on the placement test will be required to complete the Islamic Foundations Certificate program at BIS. You can learn more about admissions criteria on our website.

All students are also expected to be fluent or native English speakers, as the program is taught in English. Non-native speakers who did not complete their bachelor’s degree at an English-language college or university must submit TOEFL scores as part of their application.

Does BIS accept non-US bachelors degrees or the Alimiyyah qualification

For degrees awarded outside of the United States, BIS requires official college transcript evaluations from one of the following agencies (click here) or from World Education Services (click here).

Evaluations done by the agency must be course-by-course evaluations and provide verification that the degree the applicant holds is equivalent to a bachelor’s degree from the United States.

Alimyyah graduates might be eligible (pending the transcript evaluation) for transfer credit per the BIS Transfer Credit Policy (which is outlined within the Admissions Policy.

Academic Program

Who are the instructors?

BIS is proud to have a diverse list of acclaimed world-class educators from throughout the US. Our faculty profiles can be found here.

What subjects will I learn?

The subjects taught fall into three broad categories:

1- Islamic Sacred Sciences and Spirituality

  1. Qur’an (2 courses)
  2. Hadith & Sira (2 courses)
  3. Social & Intellectual History (2 courses)
  4. Theology (ʿaqīda) (2 courses)
  5. Islamic Law (fiqh) (5 courses)
  6. Tazkiya & Ethics (3 courses)

2- Contemporary Context

  1. Intellectual Foundations of the Modern World
  2. Islam in America
  3. Religion in Contemporary America
  4. Religious & Social Movements in American History
  5. Contemporary Muslim Challenges

3- Practical Skills

  1. Leadership (2 courses)
  2. Communication (4 courses)
  3. Counseling (3 courses)
  4. Internships (2 Summers)

What books and resources are you using?

All books and materials are identified and chosen by the faculty according to the main objectives and nature of each topic.

How much Arabic do I need?

Applicants are expected to be able to read and write in Arabic at a beginner’s level at minimum, to be assessed by a written evaluation and oral interview as part of the application process. By the time of graduation from the MIRL program, students are expected to have at least intermediate proficiency in Classical Arabic. This will be tested as part of the exit examination.

How is the program different from men vs women?

The program is open for everyone who meets the requirements and has the passion to be an exemplary religious leader to serve the Muslim American community.

Do I get a certificate if I only do one year?

The Master’s program does not currently award any certificates for partial completion of the requirements. BIS offers a separate part-time Certificate Programs, which can be found here.

Can the MIRL program be completed on a part-time basis?

Yes, students have the option to complete the program part-time. They can elect to take courses in the mornings or evenings. The program will take longer than three years to complete part-time.

   Full-Time  Part-Time
 Day Classes X (can choose)
 Evening Classes X (can choose)
 Scholarships/Financial Aid X X
 Internship Program X X
 Extracurriculars X X
 Total time to graduation 3 years Up to 6 years

What is minimum number of classes can I take?

The students can take as little as one course per semester. However, in order to be eligible for BIS scholarship funds, you must take at least 2 courses in each of the Fall and Spring semesters.

Where will classes by taught?

The program will be fully virtual/remote for the next MIRL cohort (whose classes start in Fall 2024).

Can the program be completed remotely online?

Yes, the program is currently offered completely online, with some mandatory in-person retreats and other programs for participants to attend.

Can I work full-time and be a full-time student?

Working full-time outside of the program is not allowed when pursuing the full-time track. BIS’s MIRL program is very rigorous, with 200 minutes of class time per week for each four (4) credit course and 150 minutes for each three (3) credit course. This means a full-time student would have more than 11 hours of class time per week, in addition to an estimated 22 hours of out-of-class time for reading, completing assignments, etc.


What is the tuition per credit hour?

The tuition is $500 per credit hour. The MIRL program comprises courses that are either 3 credit hours or 4 credit hours, with a total of 102 required credit hours (with up to an additional 18 credit hours for students pursuing graduation with distinction).

How much does the MIRL program cost?

For the 2024-2025 Academic year, the cost to attend the Master’s program (MIRL) as a full-time student is $22,000 per year. The part-time student’s tuition depends on the classes enrolled; the cost per credit is $500. (read more here)

The breakdown of the costs as a full-time student is as follows:

  • Tuition: $17,500 ($500 per credit hour)
  • Student services and activities fee $500
  • Health insurance $3,000 (remote students can be exempt)
  • Books and materials $1,500

TOTAL: $22,000

Do you offer scholarships?

Merit Scholarships are available and will be awarded to students who demonstrate a high level of proficiency in Islamic Studies and show a high potential to succeed in the program. The application will be made available after the submission of the admissions application.

Do you offer financial aid?

The Boston Islamic Seminary does not currently offer need-based scholarships but will accept any external scholarships students provide. Here is a list of some great options.

Will I be eligible for Federal or other student loans to complete this program?

Boston Islamic Seminary does not participate in federal or state-sponsored grant or loan programs; students who need tuition, room, and board assistance for the MIRL program should apply for external scholarships.

Contact Admissions Office

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Program Contact Info

Masters in Islamic
Religious Leadership (MIRL)

60 Willow Street
Chelsea, MA 02150

(781) 584-0883

Mon – Fri 9:00A.M. – 5:00P.M.