Department of Middle Eastern Studies
Department of Middle Eastern Studies

Degree Plan for Islamic Studies

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The Islamic Studies degree plan is only available to students in the 2018-2020 and earlier valid catalogs. If you have questions about your catalog eligibility, please email the Undergraduate Advisor.

The degree plan for Islamic Studies, like all degree plans in the College of Liberal Arts (COLA), is based on a set of core COLA requirements, to which are added specific requirements for the ISL major or minor. Both the COLA degree requirements and the ISL degree requirements are subject to modification every two years, so it is important for students to be aware of the plans under which they began - and which therefore govern - their curriculum. Students should speak with their undergraduate adviser to confirm catalog eligibility.

COLA’s office of Student Affairs provides a list of all its degree plans, based on the present and previous Undergraduate Catalogs. 

Majoring in Islamic Studies

Foreign Language Requirement

Islamic Studies majors must complete the College of Liberal Arts foreign language requirement in one of the approved Muslim world languages, which are Arabic, Persian, Turkish, Urdu, and Yoruba.  This requirement is described as “fourth semester proficiency,” but in the case of intensive language programs such as Arabic and Persian, such proficiency might be acquired in fewer than four semesters. For further information on the COLA foreign language requirement, please see the description provided in the section “Foreign Language” provided on the Academic Policies and Procedures page for the School of Undergraduate Studies.

ISL coursework

In addition to the COLA requirements and the above-mentioned foreign language study, majors are required to complete 8 courses (24 semester hours) as follows:

  • Introduction to Islam (ISL 310)
  • One of the following:
    • Judaism, Christianity, and Islam: An Introduction (ISL 311, RS 304), or
    • Introduction to the Philosophy of Religion (RS 305)
    • Introduction to the Study of Religion (RS 310)
  • Three courses from the “Topics in Islam” series (ISL 340). Main courses currently in rotation include the following:
    • The Qur’an (MES 342 and/or MES 320)
    • Classical Islamic Studies (MES 342 and/or MES 321K)
    • Sufism and Islamic Mysticism
    • Islamic Theology (MES 321)
    • Islamic Law (MES 328)
    • Religions of the Middle East (MES 322K)
    • South Asian Islam: Ethnographies (ANS 361)
  • Two courses from the “Topics in Islamic Cultures” series (ISL 372). Main courses currently in rotation include the following:
    • Muslim Women in Politics (WGS 340, RS 358 and ANT 324L)
    • Veiling in the Muslim World (MES 322K)
    • Muslim Women: Past and Present I (MES 321K)
    • Muslim Women: Past and Present II (MES 321K)
    • Partition of India in History and Literature (ANS 361)
    • Turks in Europe (MEL 321)
    • Contemporary Pakistani Fiction (ANS 361)
    • Literature of Islamophobia (ANS 361)
    • Muslim India Before 1750 (ANS 346M)
    • History of Islam in the U.S. (HIS 350R)
  • One additional upper-division course in ISL. It is recommended to take a course from the ISL 373 series, “Topics in Middle Eastern Islamic Cultures,” some of which courses include the following:
    • Arts of Islam: Caliphs to Sultans (ARH 363)
    • Graffiti/Poster Art: the Islamic World (MES 342)
    • Gender Politics in the Islamic World (SOC 336G)
    • Envisioning Muslims: Middle Ages to Today (MES 342)
    • The Arabian Nights (ARA 360K)

Descriptions for many of these courses can be easily searched and perused on the current Undergraduate Course Catalog, by clicking on the department in which the course originates.  Please recall that ISL is not its own department, but rather, that ISL courses always originate in a department.  In the list above, the ISL number is given first, and the departmental number is given second. If no ISL number is given, then it means that that course carries no ISL number. MEL and ARA courses originate in the Department of Middle Eastern Studies. Not all scheduled courses are described in the Catalog. Students may contact the instructor directly to find information about such scheduled courses.

Islamic Studies Honors Program

The Islamic Studies program offers majors an opportunity to graduate with special honors.  In addition to fulfilling the normal honors requirements set forth by the College of Liberal Arts -- a grade points average of 3.0 -- applicants for special honors in Islamic studies must:

  1. maintain a grade point average of at least 3.5 in the coursework required for the major,
  2. write a thesis through enrolling in the two-semester Honors Tutorial course, Islamic Studies 679H, and
  3. earn a grade of A in each semester of the above-mentioned Honors Tutorial.

Majors who plan to seek special honors in Islamic studies should apply to the honors adviser for admission to the honors program at the beginning of their third year, and no later than the beginning of the their last year before graduation.  (See the COLA description of the Islamic Studies Honors Program here.)

Islamic Studies Minor Requirements

Under catalogs prior to 16-18, students can fulfill a minor in Islamic Studies by completing 12 hours in one field of study, including 6 upper-division hours and 6 in-residence hours.

Students under the 16-18 and 18-20 catalog can complete a transcript-recognized minor in Islamic Studies by completing 15 hours of ISL, consisting of ISL 310, ISL 340, and nine hours of upper-division ISL chosen from ISL 340, ISL 372 or ISL 373.

The ISL minor is not available to students in the 2020-2022 or later catalogs as it has been discontinued moving forward. If you have questions about your catalog eligibility please email the Undergraduate Coorindator.

Program Contacts:

Kelly Houck
Undergraduate Coordinator

Further Resources:

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  • Middle Eastern Studies

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