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Aga Khan Program in Islamic Architecture

the Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture (AKPIA) at Massachusetts Institute of Technology is a unique international graduate program designed to promote, sustain, and increase the teaching of architecture of the Islamic world.


About Aga Khan Program at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (AIT)

The Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture at MIT (AKPIA@MIT) is a graduate academic program dedicated to the study of architecture, urbanism, architectural history, Landscape, and conservation in the Islamic World.  The program offers a concentration in Islamic architecture and urbanism as part of the two-year Master of Science in Architectural Studies (SMArchS) degree and the Ph.D. Program in the History, Theory and Criticism (HTC) section in the Department of Architecture.  The program also sponsors various outreach activities: a lecture series, a travel grant program, and a post-doctoral program.  AKPIA@MIT regularly organizes conferences and pursues collaborative projects across MIT, with its sisters programs at Harvard University, and with academic and research institutions around the world.  Established in 1979 through a generous endowment of His Highness the Aga Khan, AKPIA@MIT is recognized today as a world leader in in the fields of Islamic architecture and urbanism.

The aim of the program is to concentrate its teaching and research activities in the following directions:

  • To enhance the understanding of Islamic architecture and urbanism in light of critical, theoretical and developmental issues.
  • To support research at the forefront of the field in areas of history, theory and criticism of architecture and urbanism.
  • To explore approaches to architecture that respond critically and thoughtfully to contemporary conditions, aspirations, and beliefs in the Islamic world.
  • To provide an extensive base of information about architecture in the Islamic world and to share it with scholars, teachers, and practitioners from everywhere.

Along with the focus on improving the teaching of Islamic art and architecture and setting excellence as the standard in professional research, AKPIA also continually strives to promote the visibility of pan-Islamic cultural heritage.

Academic Programs in AKPIA

The Aga Khan Program provides financial and logistic assistance for graduate students who are working on Islamic subjects, but it is not a degree program. The courses of study funded at MIT by the Aga Khan Program are listed below.

Program funds are available to graduate students in:

Islamic art;


urban history;

and the history of landscape architecture.

At MIT, only students who have been admitted to, or are already enrolled in, the PhD program in History, Theory, and Criticism in the Department of Architecture or the SMArchS program, with a concentration in Architectural Studies of the Islamic World, are eligible for AKPIA funding. However, since funds are very limited, no student should expect full support.

PhD in History Theory and Criticism, with a concentration on Islamic Architecture and Urbanism

The History Theory and Criticism discipline group admits students to conduct doctoral studies in the history and theory of architecture and urbanism in the Islamic world. Usually, one student a year is admitted and funded through AKPIA’s endowment. Students are expected to fulfill all HTC requirements before embarking on their thesis project.

Master of Science in Architectural Studies (SMArchS)

The program offers a concentration in Architecture and Culture in the Islamic World as an area of study in the two-year degree programs. AKPIA scholarships are made available for concentration in Islamic architecture and urban studies to students formally admitted to the SMArchS Program.

Post-Doctoral Fellowships for Research in Islamic Architecture

AKPIA sponsors a postdoctoral fellowships program at MIT. The program is intended for young scholars who are engaged in research on Islamic architecture and urbanism. One or two fellowships are granted every year.

Contact Aga Khan Program

Address: 77 Massachusetts Avenue, Room 10-390

Cambridge, MA 02139-4307

Telephone: (617) 253-1400

Fax: (617) 258-8172

E-mail: akpiarch@mit.edu

Website: http://akpia.mit.edu/


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