Graduate Program

Master in Islamic Religious Leadership

MIRL Overview

The Master in Islamic Religious Leadership (MIRL) program at BIS aims to prepare professional American Muslim religious leaders for committed service to society. BIS’s uniquely-designed interdisciplinary curriculum will equip students with a deep understanding of Islam, the contemporary context of the modern world and the skills necessary to serve competently in one of three specialties:

  1. Religious and Spiritual Leadership
  2. Religious Counseling and Arbitration
  3. Outreach and Daʿwah

The MIRL program comprises 24 required Core courses (90 credit hours), 6 optional Distinction courses (18 credit hours), and 2 summer internships (12 credit hours). MIRL students also participate in extracurricular activities designed to support their personal, professional, and spiritual development.


Degree Plan


Preparing Today's Leaders

The graduates of the MIRL program may go onto pursue careers serving as imams in religious institutions, leaders of Islamic centers, chaplains, youth leaders, community outreach and communications specialists, and more. In addition, MIRL graduates will be well-positioned to bring an Islamic framework to other career paths and disciplines.

Teaching Philosophy
Travel Seminars

Teaching Philosophy

The educational philosophy of BIS puts great weight on students’ moral, religious and spiritual development by making the quest for spiritual excellence a central component of all activities, both inside and outside the classroom. The program imparts knowledge and skills in all subjects with an eye to practical applicability and on-the-ground implementation through case studies, internships and other forms of field work.


Full time students take four to five courses per semester and complete the program in three years. Part time students should complete the program within four to six years depending on their course enrollment (minimum of two courses per semester). Course topics are broadly categorized into three broad areas:

  1. Islamic sciences and spirituality, fostering a deep appreciation and connection to the Qur’an, Hadith, and the Seerah (biography) of the Prophet (peace be upon him).
  2. Contemporary context, exploring the philosophical and historical underpinnings of Western civilization as well as the history and role of religious communities in America.
  3. Practical skills, developing the competencies required to serve in community settings with a focus on leadership, counseling and communication.

Summer Internships

Students will complete two summer internships as part of the program. Each internship counts towards six credits and may, subject to BIS approval, be completed at an institution that aligns with the academic and professional interests of the student.

Travel Seminars

The program includes at least two travel seminars meant for students to learn about work in a variety of Islamic organizations, both in the US and abroad. In addition, travel seminars will help students establish relationships and networks with others that will support their work as leaders in the future.

The Massachusetts Department of Higher Education (MDHE) has granted Boston Islamic Seminary the authority to award the Master in Islamic Religious Leadership graduate degree.