The establishment of Master of Islamic Studies, Universitas Islam Indonesia is one effort to face the challenges of science, technology and information development that changes rapidly. It is through preparing human resources who have skill and integrity of science and religion. Since its first establishment in 1997, concerning the vision, mission and aims of the program, two study programs (concentration fields) were proposed namely Islamic economics and Islamic education. The two study programs, recently, have strategic and significant role in the development (particularly Islamic society development) of this nation and country.
In 1997, Indonesia had 349 faculties and higher institutes with 21 faculties registered status, which have more than 700,000 students with 6,125 lecturers. Most of the lecturers of private Islamic higher institutions at that time were undergraduates (S1= 5.895 lecturers) or 96.3%, and the rest (3,7%) were postgraduates (S2 and S3 = 230 lecturers). On the other hand, the awareness and interest of the society, such as teachers and professionals to continue their study increased. The fact was that many candidates tried to enroll to some postgraduate programs of State Institutes of Islamic Studies (S2 and S3) in Yogyakarta, Jakarta, Padang and Aceh. The capacity of those institutions, however, is not adequate to accept all candidates. In the university, interest and trends of undergraduates, especially from Islamic Studies faculty to continue their study also increased significantly. They realize that competition to win limited job market is highly tight. Other trends are also that higher education institutions in their lecturers’ acceptance require postgraduate degree. Those reasons, of course, provide the opportunity to establish the postgraduate program of Master of Islamic Studies.
Concerning the increasing number of candidates who are interested in continuing for S2 degree, Master of Islamic Studies UII is optimistic and challenged to improve its quality continuously. In fact, MSI management periodically revised and developed the curriculum in order that the graduates are able to face the recent challenges in terms of education and economy changes and development. In line with society’s demand, vision, and mission of the program, later in 2005/2006, two study programs – Islamic Research and Shari’ah Business Law- were founded. Islamic Research concentration is to graduate Islamic scientists who are able to contribute their expertise toward the development of, especially, Islamic society and Islamic religion. Whereas Shari’ah Business Law concentration is to accommodate the society’s needs in the beginning of 2006, that is, the issuance of the new Act No 3 of 2006 concerning the changes on the Act No 7 of 1989 concerning Religious Courts, which provide a new authority toward the courts to settle Shari’ah economic disputes.
In order to increase the participation of the program in developing Indonesian human resources through increasing the participant number, MSI UII provides scholarship and partnership systems to enhance the students. The system will accommodate selected human resources, either employed and unemployed, who are interested in attending the program without tuition and fee burden.
At the middle of 2006/2007 academic year, alumni of MSI UII have been 430 persons from the existing concentrations. Society has recognized the alumni of MSI UII. In fact, those who are unemployed have soon obtained jobs in various institutions; even in the middle of their study, they have been accepted to work. Alumni who have worked also get promotion.
National Accreditation Board (BAN) Minister of National Education, Republic of Indonesia has awarded the study programs of MSI UII with ACCREDITATION A respectively in 2000 and 2005. In addition, Journal of Islamic Studies “Millah” published since 2000 also attained Accreditation A in 2003.