BA Course Descriptions


ARTS 160 – Arabic Calligraphy I     3 Credits     (Elective)
This course will introduce students to the different styles of Arabic Calligraphy while focusing on Thuluth, a style that emerged in the 11th century CE. By the end of the course, students should be able to produce a composition of their own and utilize the rules of measurement to check their work for mistakes. They will also be able to distinguish between various styles and judge the authenticity of each style relying on the rules they have learned in class.
No prerequisite.

ARTS 161  Arabic Calligraphy II     3 Credits     (Elective)
The course will continue to develop skills acquired in Calligraphy 101. Students will learn the use of the traditional reed pen (Qalam) for writing letters in the Thuluth style. They will also be introduced to connecting the letters to construct words in this style. By the end of the class students will be able to produce a piece of their own calligraphic art.
Prerequisite: Calligraphy 101, or equivalent.

ARTS 170  Ebru I     3 Credits     (Elective)
Ebru, often referred to as the “dance of color on water”, is an authentic Turkish art that has been considered a spiritual art for centuries. This unique art form is produced by sprinkling color pigments into a trough of oily water and utilizes special brushes to create various designs that are then transferred onto a sheet of paper or other surface. This class will cover a variety of techniques that participants will use to create their own masterpieces.
No prerequisite.

ARTS 171  Ebru II     3 Credits     (Elective)
Continues to build on the techniques introduced in Ebru I.
Prerequisite: Ebru I, or equivalent.

ARTS 180  Stained Glass I     3 Credits     (Elective)
This course will demonstrate how colored glass is crafted into stained glass windows in which small pieces of glass are arranged to form patterns or pictures, held together (traditionally) by strips of lead and supported by a rigid frame. Students will learn how to paint details and stain their designs.
No prerequisite.

ARTS 181   Stained Glass II     3 Credits     (Elective)
Continues to build on the techniques introduced in Stained Glass I.
Prerequisite: Stained Glass I, or equivalent.

ANTH 101   Introduction to Cultural Anthropology     3 Credits     (Required)
This course is designed to introduce students to the methods, theories, and concepts of cultural anthropology.  Cultural anthropology is a social science that provides a comprehensive understanding of human diversity. In this course we will focus on the basic concepts used by anthropologists in order to compare and contrast how living people with different cultural traditions conduct their everyday life through language, economy, family life and kinship, religion, and other institutions.
No prerequisite.

BIO 101 – Introduction to the Biological Sciences     4 Credits     (Required)
This course will cover the fundamental concepts in biology including the scientific method, cell structure and function, cell physiology, cell reproduction and development, Mendelian and population genetics, natural selection, evolution and ecology. Includes a laboratory hour each week.
No prerequisite.

ECON 101 – Introduction to Economics     3 Credits     (Required)
This course is an introduction to micro- and macroeconomics. Students will learn how to utilize these economic concepts to understand the impact of finance on the world, particularly on public policy issues. This course will focus on the principles of supply and demand, fiscal and monetary policy, and governmental roles.
No prerequisite.

ENG 180 – Expository Writing     3 Credits     (Required)
This course is designed to develop the student’s ability to produce clear expository prose. The course will focus on audience analysis, topic selection, thesis support and development, editing and revision.
No prerequisite.

ENG 181 – Critical Writing Methods     3 Credits     (Required)
This course is designed to develop the student’s ability to read academic texts critically by differentiating between claims, assumptions and evidence-based arguments. Students will examine the nature of deduction, induction and informal fallacies, thus critiquing the author’s reasoning in clear and concise language. Students will study several texts and write critical analysis papers in response to them.
Prerequisite: ENG180, or equivalent.

ENG 201 – Communications     3 Credits     (Required)
This course is designed to develop the student’s ability to apply the various principles of oral communication. Students will learn how to communicate effectively in small group, public speaking and interpersonal communication contexts.
No prerequisite.

ENG 250  American Literature 3 credit (Elective)
This is an introductory survey of major works and authors representative of the development and current state of American literature.
Prerequisite: ENG 180, or equivalent or consent of instructor.

ENG 251 – Muslim American Literature 3 credits (Elective)
This class will introduce writings by American Muslim novelists and poets from diverse backgrounds.  These writings will be discussed in the context of American literary forms and themes as well as explored for their content and relationship to the Islamic heritage and Muslim concerns.
Prerequisite: ENG 180, or equivalent or consent of instructor.

MUS 160 – Oud I     3 Credits     (Elective)
This class will introduce the students to the art of playing the Oud. The students will be coached on the proper way to hold the instrument and the Plectrum. We will study the Arabic style tuning and western style notation system. The students will learn simple melodies from various parts of the Middle East and by the end of the course they will be able to perform these pieces in a group setting.
No prerequisite.

MUS 161 – Oud II     3 Credits     (Elective)
Continues to build on the techniques introduced in Oud I.
Prerequisite: MUS160, or equivalent.

PHIL 101  Introduction to Philosophy     3 Credits     (Required)
Through class discussion and student papers this course focuses on the nature of careful inquiry and some of the enduring philosophical questions of the ages. It examines the reasoning process and classical and contemporary problems in philosophy.
No prerequisite.

PHY 101   Introduction to the Physical Sciences     4 Credits     (Required)
This course serves as an introduction to physical science for non-science majors. Selected topics in astronomy, chemistry, geology and physics are included. Emphasis is placed on understanding the fundamental principles of the physical sciences. It will also include a discussion of the limitations and potential applications of the physical sciences. This course requires laboratory work.
No prerequisite.

POLS 101 – Introduction to American Government     3 Credits     (Required)
This course is concerned with government and politics in the United States, primarily at the national level, but some attention will be given to state and local government, particularly the nature of Illinois’ Constitution. Students will examine the institutional rules and human behaviors that shape government, the operation of elections, the development of parties and interest groups, public opinion, and the functioning of Congress, the presidency, and the courts. An historic overview of the topics will shed light on how the current system has evolved.
No prerequisite.

POLS 201  Comparative Political Systems     3 Credits     (Elective)
This course will introduce students to the major theoretical approaches in the comparative study of politics. The student will learn to apply these approaches to better understand the development and operation of government institutions, the policy-making process, political participation, economic structures and social change for both state and non-state actors. A comparative analysis of approaches to government in Muslim and non-Muslim societies will be explored.
Prerequisite: POLS101 or equivalent.

PSYC 101 – Introduction to Psychology     3 Credits     (Required)
This course will discuss the scientific method, fundamental principles of sensory processes, learning and language, development, human development, adjustment, emotions and motivations and individual and group behavior.
No prerequisite.

RM 200  Social Research Methods     3 Credits     (Required)
This course is designed to offer a comprehensive and systematic treatment of the scientific method as it especially applies to the social sciences. Students will learn the relationship between theory, research and practice, and integrate research activity in an orderly framework.  The varied stages of research will be explored, including the definition of the research problem, statement of the hypothesis, research design, measurement, data collection, data analysis and generalization. Students will be required to design, administer and analyze the results of a modest social questionnaire/survey or research project.
Prerequisite: STAT 160, or equivalent

SOC 101 – Introduction to Sociology     3 credits      (Elective)
This course focuses on the basic concepts, disciplines and methodology for investigating the various levels of human interaction, and on developing an objective method of analyzing various sociological issues.
No prerequisite.

SOC 201 – Understanding Social Service     4 credits     (Elective)
This course will discuss issues such as volunteerism, social service and civic engagement, as well as the tradition of social service in Islam. Students will select a social service issue of interest and work in groups to design, advertise, and implement their respective project. Projects will be selected per student interests, feasibility and available resources. The instructor will help students strategize ways to successfully implement their project by the end of the semester. Students will learn key skills such as how to conduct a needs assessment, project planning, program implementation and program evaluation. Several guest speakers will present to the class throughout the semester.
Prerequisite: SOC 101, or equivalent.

STAT 160 – Introduction to Statistics     3 Credits     (Required)
This course will focus on the study of probability theory for understanding statistical analysis, finite probability studied through set theory; examples from business, natural and social science, and educational fields are used to explain the theory of probability.
No prerequisite.




Core Courses

ARAB 101 – Elementary Arabic I     4 Credits     (Required)
This course is an introduction to the phonology and writing system of Arabic, its basic vocabulary and structure. Students will acquire the foundations of Arabic grammar and build their vocabulary directed to reading and simple conversation, such as greetings and simple expressions of needs.
No prerequisite.

ARAB 102 – Elementary Arabic II    4 Credits     (Required)
This course is a continuation of the mastery of Arabic phonology, basic vocabulary and structure. Students will build their vocabulary and grammatical structures; emphasis will be placed on basic reading comprehension and sentence construction.
Prerequisite: Arabic 101, or equivalent.

ARAB 201 – Intermediate Arabic I     4 Credits     (Required)
This course serves as an expansion and solidification of the student’s understanding of the classical Arabic language, including its verbal system.  Building upon the students’ active vocabulary and structural understanding, this course equips students with the basic tools to read, grammatically analyze, and translate selected classical and contemporary texts, which will be taken from various genres of Arabic prose literature.
Prerequisite: Arabic 102, or equivalent course.

ARAB 202 – Intermediate Arabic II    3 Credits    (Required)
This course aims to develop a more fluent command of classical Arabic structure by guiding students in the careful reading, analysis, and translation of a wide selection of classical and contemporary texts.   By the end of this course, students are expected to be able to read and translate selections of classical as well as contemporary texts in literary Arabic.
Prerequisite: Arabic 201, or equivalent.

REL 100 – Religions of the World     3 Credits     (Required)
This course introduces students to the academic study of religion and the major religions of the world—including Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, Islam, and others–by examining their history and exploring their beliefs, moral teachings, rituals, and practices. Combines lecture and discussion.
No prerequisite.

IS 130 – Islamic Origins, History & Civilization to 1258 CE     3 Credits     (Required)
This course traces the rise and development of the Islamic religious tradition from its formal beginnings in the 7th century to the middle of the thirteenth century, CE.  Special attention is given to the pre-Islamic culture and economy of Arabia, the life of the Prophet Muhammad, the gradual revelation (nuzūl) of the Qur’ān, major themes of the Qur’ān, the early Muslim community (umma), the basic “pillars” of the Islamic religion (al-islām), the basic beliefs shared by all Muslims (al-īmān), Islamic piety, ethics, and spirituality (al-ihsān), the social and theological developments following the death of the Prophet in 632 CE, the emergence of the Sunnī-Shī‘ī divide and other sectarian developments, the development and codification of the Islamic religious sciences, incl. Jurisprudence (al-fiqh), theology (al-kalām), and mystical spirituality (al-taawwuf), the educational and social institutions of classical Islam, the scientific and philosophical achievements of classical Islamic civilization, and the major Muslim dynasties up to end of the Abbasids.
No prerequisite.

IS 131 – Islamic Origins, History & Civilization 1258 – Present     3 Credits     (Required)
This course continues our undergraduate survey of the historical, political, religious, and intellectual developments in Islamic Civilization up to the present.  The first part of the course explores the geographical, ethnic, religious, and political diversity of the pre-modern Muslim world, and the second part of the course probes the challenges presented by Modernity and an international order based upon secularism (variously defined) and the nation state.  Specific attention will be given to European colonialism in regions where Muslims predominate, independence movements, religious reform movements, Muslims in the west, the challenges of secularism, and Muslim approaches to democracy.
Prerequisite: IS130, or equivalent.

IS 201 – Introduction to Qur’anic Studies     3 Credits     (Required)       
In this course, we read and analyze the Qur’an (in English translation), with attention to the following topics: the revelation and its original contexts, the collection of the canonical text; Qur’an recitation; structural, linguistic and literary features of the text; occasions of revelation and abrogation; major themes; law in the Qur’an; and introduction to modes of interpretation. Knowledge of Arabic is not required.
No prerequisite.

IS 202 – Introduction to Prophetic Biography (sīrah) & Hadith Studies     3 Credits     (Required)
This course explores the life of the Prophet and introduces students to the history and methodology of the collection of the canonical collections of oral reports concerning his words and deeds (Hadith).  Select biographies will be read and discussed, with attention paid to the political and cultural contexts of the biographers, and specific Hadith traditions will be examined.
No prerequisite.

IS 305 – Islamic Legal Reasoning ( al-fiqh)     3 Credits     (Required)
This course studies the historical development of the various methodologies for deriving juridical rulings from the revealed sources.  Attention will be given to the principles of jurisprudence (uṣūl al-fiqh), the fiqh of religious observance, and the major theorists who shaped the Muslim legal tradition.
Prerequisite: IS 130, or equivalent.

IS 311 – Muslims & Modernity    3 Credits     (Required)
This course will examine the phenomenon of modernity and explore the varied contexts and ideas of Muslim thinkers who have responded to the ideals and realities of Modernity over the past two centuries.
Prerequisite: sophomore status or consent of instructor.

ARAB 301 – Advanced Arabic I     3 Credits     (Elective) 
Standing on the shoulders of our Introductory and Intermediate Arabic programs (ARAB 101, 102, 201, 202), this course moves graduate and advanced undergraduate students to the level of reading, grammatically analyzing, and translating classical Arabic texts.  ARAB 301 marks the student’s graduation to a level of independent text study, analysis, and translation.
Prerequisite: Arabic 202, or equivalent course.



ARAB 302 – Advanced Arabic II: Reading Religious Texts     3 Credits     (Elective)
Students with advanced standing in Arabic or the equivalent will read (in Arabic) selected texts based on themes determined by instructor interest or student need.  Religious texts would typically be the focus of such a directed readings course, but students may be directed toward literary or political works depending upon their chosen concentration and individual program needs.
Prerequisite: Arabic 301 or equivalent.

IS 320 – Muslim Spirituality     3 Credits     (Elective)
Following an overall historical approach, this course traces the origins and development of the mystical or experiential dimensions of Islamic spirituality, often collectively referred to as “Sufism,” from the prophetic period (7th century, CE) to the medieval Arabic and Persian traditions.  Students will experience a first-hand encounter with the writings of many of the most noteworthy and seminal sages of the “Sufi” tradition and, through this experience, will grapple with many of the core ideas, practices, institutions, and social manifestations of the Muslim spiritual tradition.
Prerequisites:  IS 130 or an equivalent.

IS 333 – Islam in America       3 credits      (Required)
This course traces the history of Islam in America, beginning with the historical records of African Muslims who were forcibly taken to the Americas as slaves and their enduring efforts to retain their culture, faith, language, and identity as Muslims.  This course then explores the complex unfolding of African American Islam in its unique and varied manifestations, including the Moorish Science Temple and the Nation of Islam.  We also study the waves of Muslim immigrants from the Middle East, Africa, and Asia, and the impacts they have had upon the shaping of American Muslim communities since the 1960s.  Expanding our scope even further, we will explore American Muslim convert narratives, the rise of Islam within America’s Hispanic, indigenous, and other ethnic populations, and the evolving adventure of what it means to be an American Muslim within the mosaic of the American Muslim community and the greater mosaic of the United States.  Questions of religious pluralism, Islamophobia, portrayals of Islam in the mainstream American media, and future trajectories for American Muslims will also be considered.
Prerequisite: IS 130, 131, junior or senior standing.

IS  328  History of Islamic Art &  Architecture     3 Credits     (Elective)
This course introduces students to the rich heritage of Islamic art and architecture. Students will examine a number of examples of works of art and buildings from different periods and regions and discuss their artistic and architectural characteristics in conjunction with their historical and political background.
Prerequisite: sophomore status or consent of instructor.

IS 329 – Islam & World Cinema     3 Credits     (Elective)
This course will examine the various portrayals of Islam and Muslims in World Cinema (both in Muslim and non-Muslim societies) over recent decades. Students will have the opportunity to watch segments from several feature films, study the socio-political environment surrounding the period of each film, and draw conclusions on how the environment might have impacted the messaging of the film, and vice versa. Students will also discuss the impact World Cinema has had on Islam, Muslims and the world.
No prerequisite.

IS 410 – Medieval Islamic & Jewish Philosophy     3 Credits      (Elective)
This course introduces the thought and context of the most influential philosophers known to medieval Islam and Judaism, including al-Kindī, al-Rāzī (Razes) al-Fārābī, Ibn Sīnā (Avicenna), Ibn Tufayl, Ibn Rushd (Averroes), Saadia Gaon (al-Fayyumi), Solomon Ibn Gabirol, Bahyā bn Paqudah, Abraham ibn Daud, Moses Maimonides,  and Levi ben Gershom (Gersonides).  Special attention will be given to philosophical understandings of religion & prophecy, the soul (psychology), the state (political philosophy), metaphysics, and religious critiques of Aristotelean rationalism within these sister traditions (esp. by Abū Hāmid al-Ghazālī & Judah Halevi).
Prerequisites:  IS 130, PHIL 101, junior or senior standing

IS 425 – The Islamic City    3 Credits       (Elective)
Moving between historical, theological, archeological, thematic, and regional approaches, this seminar allows advanced undergraduate students to explore ideals and realities of Islamic urbanism within pre-modern Muslim societies.  Students will explore the Islamic City as a localized coming together of geographical, cultural, and religious elements, as urban phenomenon, as a theoretical ideal, and as a modern analytical concept.
Prerequisite:  IS 130, 131, junior or senior standing

IS 428 Muslim Great Books and Thinkers Seminar        3 Credits      (Required)
This seminar explores some of the most important books and thinkers throughout Islamic History.   Specific titles and figures are determined by the supervising faculty member convening the seminar.  Through the careful reading, analysis, and discussion of the text (or texts) at hand, students are given a first-hand encounter with the greatest minds and insights of Muslim heritage, be it in the specific field of philosophy, science, politics, literature, theology, law, art, music, mathematics, or history.
Prerequisite: senior standing

IS 495 – Special Topics      (Advanced)
Undergraduate students with advanced (junior) status or above may petition their academic advisor to enroll in no more than 3 graduate level courses compatible with their program.

IS 497 – Independent Study     3 Credits     (Elective)
Qualified students may arrange with specific instructions to undertake significant independent study on a topic not offered in the regular curriculum.
Sophomore status or consent of instructor.

IS 498 – Civic Engagement Internship     3 Credits     (Required)
Students will be placed in a social service organization where they can receive hands on training in a service field of their interest. All students must complete 180 hours of service at their field placement. Students will attend a 2-hour seminar each week to discuss their experience and draw upon the experiences of their classmates.
Prerequisite: SOC201, or equivalent.

IS 499 – Study Abroad     3 – 9 credit hours     (Elective)
In consultation with an academic advisor, qualified advanced students may be allowed the option to register for study abroad credit during the semester, semester breaks, and/or summer sessions

PERS 101  Elementary Persian I     3 Credits     (Elective)
This elementary course will introduce students to the Persian language. The course will enrich students’ understanding and knowledge of Iranian culture and history.  Students will learn the Persian script, achieve a foundational understanding of Persian grammar, build vocabulary, and gain the skills to communicate common expressions and greetings.
No prerequisite.

PERS 102  Elementary Persian II     3 Credits     (Elective)
Continues to build on the language skills and vocabulary introduced in Persian 101.
Prerequisite: PERS101 or equivalent.

TURK 101 – Elementary Turkish I     3 Credits     (Elective)
This elementary course will introduce students to the Turkish language. The course will enrich students’ understanding and knowledge of the Turkish culture and history. Students will achieve foundational understanding of Turkish grammar, build vocabulary, and gain the skills to communicate common expressions and greetings.
No prerequisite.

TURK 102   Elementary Turkish II     3 Credits     (Elective)
Continues to build on the language skills and vocabulary introduced in Turkish 101.
Prerequisite: TURK101, or equivalent.

URDU 101   Elementary Urdu I     3 Credits     (Elective)
This elementary course will introduce students to the Urdu language. The course will enrich students’ understanding and knowledge of South Asian Muslim culture and history. Students will achieve foundational understanding of the Urdu alphabet and script, Urdu grammar, build vocabulary, and gain the skills to communicate common expressions and greetings.
No prerequisite.

URDU 102 –  Elementary Urdu II     3 Credits     (Elective)                     
Continues to build on the language skills and vocabulary introduced in Urdu 101.
Prerequisite: URDU101, or equivalent.

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