AIC is currently an independent and urban-based institution in Chicago that serves a multi-cultural, multi-ethnic and socio-economically diverse student population. The College was established in 1981 as a private, not-for-profit, four-year institution offering programs leading to the Bachelor of Arts degree in Arabic and Islamic Studies.
In March 1982, the college purchased its present landmark building on Lake Shore Drive, previously the Immaculata Sisters High School, designed in 1922 by Barry Byrne, who had been trained in the studio of Frank Lloyd Wright. It is the first of Byrne’s designs in Chicago. Anticipating the construction of Lake Shore Drive, the building was built facing south. The building features slate roofing, classical windows, fine molding, marble flooring, and stunning stained glass. It was inducted into the National Register of Historic Places in 1983.
AIC began its first academic semester in September 1983 as the first Islamic institution of higher education in the United States; this may have been an idea ahead of its time, as ultimately efforts to offer degree programs were suspended in the 1990s. In 2010 American Islamic College reopened with a new administration, a new Board, and new operating authority, and it has been rapidly moving forward ever since. With a new curriculum and a new faculty, AIC now has Degree Granting Authority for all three of its degree programs — the BA and MA in Islamic Studies and the Master of Divinity in Islamic Studies (MDIS). Multiple cohorts of undergraduate and graduate students now fill the renovated classrooms and dormitory, and the College is more alive now than ever before. AIC does not have regional accreditation, and so students may not currently gain some benefits of accreditation, such as transferring credits and FAFSA. AIC’s history is thus still in the making, and we welcome you to be part of it.