The intellectual, cultural and linguistic contributions of Muslim peoples have been influential not only in the Middle East but across the globe, since the religion's inception 1400 years ago until today. Muslims currently constitute approximately one-fourth of the world's population, and approximately 2% of the U.S. population (between 5 to 8 million). The program in Islamic Studies is undergirded by the University's belief that Muslim religion, culture and history are important areas of inquiry, and that students should be able to pursue such inquiry as a part of their undergraduate education.
While housed in the Department of Middle Eastern Studies, Islamic Studies is envisioned as a multi-disciplinary and multi-regional field of study. Therefore, the program allows students the flexibility to choose from a broad selection of courses related to Islam and Muslim societies offered in a variety of other departments as well, such as African and African-American Studies, Asian Studies, History, Sociology, Anthropology and Art History, taught in rotation by approximately twenty faculty across the University.
The Islamic Studies program offers three distinct options: a major, a minor, and an honors thesis. All ISL courses are cross-listed with at least one other program, making it easy for students to couple the ISL major or minor with other majors and minors.
The major in Islamic Studies can profitably be combined with other majors to train students for a variety of career paths. In addition to providing a foundation for graduate study and a career in academia, a major in Islam and Muslims can prepare graduates planning to go into a number of areas, such as the following:
- law school/legal practice, with specialization in international, constitutional, immigration, business, or family law
- journalism, with specialization in Muslim issues globally or domestically
- finance/marketing, with specialization in international business, Islamic finance, world markets and industries
- politics/government, with specialiation in domestic legislation or international relations, or foreign service
- law enforcement/security, with specialization in cultural sensitivity and working within Muslim communities
- military service, particularly for those working in Muslim countries
- public education policy, with focus on social studies and history curricula
For details on the degree requirements for the major, minor and honors thesis in Islamic Studies, please see the degree plan.