The Catholic University of America

Minor in Islamic World Studies

The Islamic World Studies Minor allows students to focus their elective and distribution requirements around the cultures, religions, history, and politics of the Islamic world. It provides an excellent foundation for students interested in pursuing careers or graduate studies in fields from foreign service to Islamic studies and beyond.

Requirements. The IWS Minor requires the completion of six qualified coursesTwo of these are required “gateway” courses: HIST 309-Rise of Islam and ANTH 310-Islam in the Modern World. (Beginning Fall 2016 students may substitute HIST 308A-Modern Middle East for ANTH 310). "Rise of Islam" focuses on the emergence of Islam and Islamic societies in late antiquity and the medieval period. "Islam in the Modern World" takes up Islamic versions of issues of how to be religious in the modern and post-modern world. Students complete the minor with four additional qualified courses on language and culture, society, politics, and religion.

The minor is a suitable complement for majors in any humanities or social science discipline. For detailed program policies, see below.

How does the IWS Minor differ from the Certificate? The big difference between the IWS Certificate and Minor is that the Minor does not require Arabic language courses.

How do I choose courses? The same courses that count toward the IWS Certificate count toward the Minor as well. All IWS-qualified courses also satisfy distribution requirements. So the Minor is a way to focus your distribution requirements and electives around a specific theme: the study of the Islamic world. 

Additionally, students interested in studying modern Arabic but not to the extent required for the Certificate may count ARAB 103-104 as two of the six required Minor courses (which would also take care of the SAS Foreign Language requirement). Students interested in early and medieval Islamic studies may do the same with SEM 241-242 on reading Classical Arabic.

How about some examples? A Politics major could complete the IWS Minor by taking the following courses: HIST 309 and ANTH 310 (IWS requirements and general education distributions), POLI 326 and 327 (major electives), PHIL 334 (Philosophy distribution requirement), and TRS 398 (Theology & Religious Studies distribution requirement).

As another example, a student in any major who wants to study Arabic could complete the IWS Minor by taking HIST 309 and ANTH 310, PHIL 334, TRS 398, and ARAB 103-104 (Foreign Language requirement).


Program policies. Students must receive a grade no lower than C+ in a course to count it toward the IWS Minor. The six courses must total 18 credit hours and must be drawn from no fewer than three CUA departments and/or schools. Students interested in counting Arabic courses toward the Minor must complete both ARAB 103 and 104 or both SEM 241 and 242; no credit toward the IWS minor is given for completing only the first semester of either sequence. Students who do not complete ARAB 103 and 104/SEM 241 and 242 may count ARAB 130 toward the Minor; students who count ARAB 103 and 104 or SEM 241 and 242 as two of their minor courses may not count ARAB 130 as a third.