San Diego State University will offer a new Bachelor of Arts degree in Islamic and Arabic studies beginning in fall 2019.
The interdisciplinary program is designed for students planning to pursue careers in which knowledge of Muslim-majority countries is essential; and for students intending to pursue advanced degrees in disciplines related to Islamic and Arabic studies. No other university in the region offers this type of degree.
"The major is very timely," said Ahmet Kuru, political science professor and director of SDSU's Center for Islamic and Arabic Studies (CIAS). "The number of our students with Middle Eastern backgrounds has expanded given increased migration from the region and interest from international students."
The new degree program offers a broad range of subjects, including economics, linguistics, women's studies, history, religion, political science and culture. Students will discover a cohesive common core that represents both Islamic and Arabic emphases, Kuru said.
"The improvements we made to the major were definitely informed by interactions with students in terms of the courses they desired," said Hisham Foad, economics professor and undergraduate adviser for the new major. He and Kuru designed the degree program with input from the California State University (CSU) Chancellor's Office.
"The Arabic-speaking and Muslim-majority countries have played an increasingly important role in the geopolitics of the United States, especially over the last few decades. However, these countries and their populations are misunderstood by a large number of people," Foad said. "Our efforts to present a broad and factually based curriculum in Arabic and Islamic studies serves a social good in creating more informed global citizens."
More about the Center for Islamic and Arabic Studies (CIAS)
CIAS offers a broad range of courses related to Islamic and Arabic studies in cooperation with various departments in the College of Arts and Letters. The courses include Arabic language; history of the Middle East, in particular, and the Muslim world, in general; the relationship between Islam and politics; theological and legal aspects of Islam; and women in Muslim-majority societies.
Founded in 2000, the Center for Islamic and Arabic Studies at SDSU supports teaching, community education, and research. The scope of its activities is broad and inclusive, spanning the study of Muslim-majority societies, their Christian and other religious minorities, and the diasporas of these populations worldwide.
The center, in conjunction with the Charles Hostler Institute on World Affairs, is presenting a panel discussion, "Contextualizing Modern Iran," at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, March 19, in the Charles Hostler Auditorium (Storm Hall West 012).