College of Liberal Arts & Social Sciences > Academics > Islamic World Studies > About


​​​Islamic World Studies (IWS) offers a unique and interdisciplinary study of Muslim majority and minority societies. The program explores the politics, geographies, histories, and cultures of these societies, and provides students with an education that matches the complexity of its subject. This education is drawn from a variety of disciplines, including Finance, Geography, History, History of Art and Architecture, International Studies, Modern Languages, Philosophy, Political Science, Religious Studies, and Women's and Gender Studies. The regional focus of these courses includes Africa, the Middle East, South Asia, Southeast Asia, Central Asia, Europe, and the Americas.

Mosque of Umm Haram
Mosque of Umm Haram, Larnaca, Cyprus 
(Photo: L. Mahoney, 2015)
With nearly 2 billion adherents—approximately 3.5 million of whom are in the United States and 300,000 in Chicago—Islam is the world's second largest and fastest growing religion. Despite these impressive facts Islam, Islamic societies, and Islamic history remain poorly understood in the United States. The IWS curriculum aims to remedy this. Its students will be able to ask questions that are historically situated, regionally specific, analytically rich, and grounded in urgent contemporary realities. In short, IWS is structured to produce engaged and informed citizens of a world that is affected by Islam in ways big and small and graduates who are better prepared for careers in politics, public policy, diplomacy, social services, medicine, education, finance, development, law, cultural heritage, academia, museums, or the arts.