Course Overview

The Secondary Teacher Education Programme (STEP) aims to produce professional secondary level teachers. It combines strong academic preparation with practice-based teacher training, in an intimate and welcoming learning environment. STEP is a fully funded scholarship programme, which covers the cost of tuition fees, accommodation and includes a living allowance.

STEP caters directly for students wishing to embark upon a career in teaching within the wider Aga Khan network of institutions, with a particular focus on teaching at the Ismaili Religious Education Centres (RECs) at the secondary level world-wide.

Students are trained to teach humanities and religious studies with a particular emphasis on the IIS’ Secondary Curriculum which explores the humanistic, civilisational and normative dimensions of religious education.

STEP extends over two academic years and culminates in two postgraduate awards (Level 7):

  • A Master of Arts (MA) in Muslim Societies and Civilisations, awarded by SOAS
  • A Post Graduate Diploma (PGDip) in Teaching and Reflective Practice , awarded by UCL

Tailor-made for STEP, the MA and the PGDip form a bespoke programme specifically designed with the needs of STEP students, the ITREBs who employ them, and the communities they serve. The programme equips students with the tools and knowledge to take responsibility for their personal learning and continuous professional development beyond STEP.

The MA degree is designed and delivered by the IIS, and validated by SOAS University of London. It is designed to provide in-depth study of Islam and Ismaili heritage within the broader dimensions of Muslim societies and civilisations. It prepares students to understand and respond analytically to relevant scholarship and research so they can in turn facilitate an understanding and engagement with the philosophical and pedagogical framework of the Institute’s Secondary Curriculum with competence and confidence, and in a manner which uses pedagogical approaches appropriate to the contexts.

The PGDip is designed, delivered and awarded by the UCL Institute of Education (IOE), and offers a coherent teacher education programme and sustained teaching practice. It supports participants to become excellent classroom practitioners, and provides skills and tools for participants to be able to take responsibility for their personal learning and continuous professional development beyond the PGDip and well into their teaching career.

Through the Programme, students will develop:

  • reflective and critical stances, and creativity and independence of thought in the application of knowledge;
  • sound knowledge of subject matter relevant to the IIS' Secondary Curriculum framework;
  • a holistic understanding of educational practice and effective classroom skills informed through field-based work and practice;
  • a critical understanding of curriculum implementation, evaluation, and assessment, particularly in relation to the IIS’ Secondary Curriculum.

As students develop an increasingly sophisticated understanding of subject knowledge and classroom-based practice, they will be evaluated using a variety of assessment tools, including written and oral examinations, presentations and coursework.


Programme Structure


MA in Muslim Societies and Civilisations (Academic Focus) – designed and delivered by the IIS, and awarded by SOAS University of London


PGDip in Teaching and Reflective Practice (Practice-Based Focus with vastly enhanced initial teacher training and classroom hours) – designed, delivered and awarded by the UCL Institute of Education (IOE)