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Jewish and Islamic civilisations (TSM)

  • Course Type: Undergraduate
  • CAO Course Code: TR001 (TSM)
  • No. of Places: 10
  • Min Entry Points for 2014: 415 – 580 points (Points per TSM combination)
  • Duration: 4 Year(s) Full Time
  • Award: B.A.
  • Course Options:

    Jewish and Islamic civilisations cannot be studied as a single honor course. It must be combined with one other subject within the two-subject moderatorship (TSM) programme. TSM is a joint honors programme. An honors degree is awarded in both subjects.

    For subjects that combine with Jewish and Islamic civilisations see TSM possible combinations

  • How to apply: See how to apply

Admission Requirements

For Admission requirements please click here


Click on the links below to see the available options

+ EU Applicants

Read the information about how to apply, then apply directly to CAO

+ Non-EU Applicants

+ Mature Student - Supplementary Application Form

Read the information about how to apply as a mature student, then select the relevant link below to complete the TCD Supplementary Application Form for mature students.

+ Advanced Entry Applications

What is Jewish and Islamic civilisations?

The degree in Jewish and Islamic civilisations comprises modules in the areas of Biblical, Near Eastern, Jewish and Islamic Studies. Spanning antiquity to the present, the course offers you the opportunity to study the culture and history of diverse societies across the globe. From the ‘cradle of civilisation’ in the Near East to current cultural, political and religious issues in Europe, Asia, North America and the Middle East, you can examine Jewish and Islamic civilisations in a wide range of contexts using different approaches and a variety of sources. Whether you find yourself drawn to the ancient or modern worlds or favour the study of literature, religion, history, languages or politics, you will find in this degree a way to deepen your appreciation of complex and diverse societies and cultures.

Encountering these civilisations is not confined to the classroom and we organise various activities that include study tours (e.g., Poland, Berlin, Andalusia). In addition students may apply for museum internships. Each year international figures working in areas such as Human Rights, Holocaust studies, and Middle Eastern archaeology and history come to the Department to contribute to the courses.

Is this the right course for you?

If you are interested in how modern societies developed their identities and perspectives, you will be able to explore how they do so over the course of some of the most exciting periods of human history and in diverse geographical areas. If you would like to examine how the civilisations of the Ancient Near East shaped the Bible, how ancient societies influence modern cultures and how traditions engage with contemporary challenges, this course would be of great interest to you. The Department shares an approach common to cultural historians across the humanities in exploring the ways in which identities have been formed, translated and transmitted in various cultural and historical contexts. Our teaching is anchored in the close study of sources including ancient inscriptions, sacred texts, medieval treatises, modern novels and political writings with attention given to their original contexts, as well as their influence and interpretation. Students in this course come from a wide variety of cultures and regions and represent many different traditions and lifestyles.

Course content

The Junior Freshman year

In the first year we offer introductory courses in the origins of Ancient Near Eastern, medieval and modern Jewish and Islamic civilisations. The histories, cultures and religions of these civilisations are explored through literature (both ancient and contemporary), inscriptions, and archaeological evidence.

  • The World of the Ancient Near East and the Bible explores the environment of the world of ancient Israel and Judah using both literary and archaeological evidence. Particular attention is paid to the worldviews of the ancient Israelites and their neighbours in the land of Palestine and in Babylonia, Persia, Egypt and the Hellenistic and Roman worlds. The origin of different Jewish groups including the early Christian movement is explored.
  • Introduction to Islamic civilisation introduces history, texts and cultural contexts for the development of Islamic civilisation from its origins in the Arabian peninsula to the present. Sources examined include the Qur’an, Islamic art and architecture, and literature of the Middle East.
  • Introduction to Jewish Civilisation from Antiquity to the Modern Period outlines the major cultural movements in Jewish history from their ancient origins in the Near East through the medieval Muslim and Christian societies up to the modern experience.

The second and third years

From the second year on, you may choose from a range of courses depending on the individual interests you have developed in your first year. You will be able to study diverse cultures in the ancient, medieval and modern worlds through political, religious and literary texts, material culture, blogs and film. Topics include Ancient Empires of the Mediterranean and the Near East; The literature of the Bible; History and the Bible; The Arabs in Antiquity; Relations between Jews, Arabs and Christians in Antiquity; Jews and Muslims in the Medieval world and in Modern Europe; Great Jewish books; Contemporary political and religious movements in Islam, Human rights and the Ottoman Empire in Europe.

In addition you have the option to take Arabic, Greek or Hebrew. In second year you may take a course in Trinity College’s Broad Curriculum programme (see

The Senior Sophister year

In your final year you will be able to choose special subjects from a range on offer. Courses offered in recent years include: The Jews of Egypt; Islam and Human Rights; Islam and gender; Holocaust representation; The Bible in popular culture, Arabic or Hebrew. In addition to these courses, you will be able to write a thesis on a topic of interest to you.


A combination of end of year examination and continuous assessment, e.g. essays, book reviews, seminar presentations, and digital projects.

Study Abroad

You may have the opportunity to avail of a semester abroad programme at Charles University in Prague. You may also apply to spend a year in the United States or Canada.

Career opportunities

The course in Jewish and Islamic civilisations is an arts degree and graduates have skills that are highly valued by potential employers enabling them to pursue the same kinds of careers as other arts graduates. Trinity’s Careers Advisory Service recently surveyed employers about what they looked for in arts graduates and top of the list came: enthusiasm for the position, personal qualities and transferable skills such as good oral communication, written communication, team work and problem solving. Students of Jewish and Islamic civilisations have ample opportunity to develop all of these skills within a department that is relatively small and very student centered. A knowledge of the cultures, values and histories of different societies in the global community is an advantage for many types of careers.

Our graduates have followed careers in areas such as law, journalism, publishing, business, marketing, museums and cultural heritage, NGOs, media, and teaching. They also have been very successful in gaining places in MA and PhD programmes both in Ireland and abroad. Visit our website to hear some views of current students and graduates:

Further information