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Academic Program

Academic Program

Islamic Studies Minor

Students interested in Islamic Studies are invited to consult with members of the Islamic Studies Committee before developing a proposal for a minor. The proposal should outline and establish how a minor in Islamic Studies relates to the student's overall program of undergraduate study, and should provide a list of the courses to be taken. The minor is open to students of all divisions.

Students will be admitted to the minor after having completed at least two Islamic Studies courses in different departments with grades of B or better.


All students must complete the following requirements:


Students must take a minimum of 5 credits in Islamic Studies in at least 3 different academic departments. Only 1 of the total 5 credits required by the Islamic Studies minor may overlap with the student's major. To supplement classes offered at Swarthmore, students are encouraged to explore and take classes at other nearby colleges, especially Bryn Mawr, Haverford, and University of Pennsylvania.


Islamic Studies requires the successful completion of Arabic 004 (and its prerequisites) or the equivalent. This requirement is waived for native speakers of Arabic and for students who demonstrate sufficient competence by passing an equivalency exam. Alternate fulfillment of the language requirement may also be approved by the Islamic Studies Committee if a student demonstrates competence in another language that is relevant to the study of a Muslim society and is directly related to the student's academic program. Only Arabic courses beginning at the level of Arabic 004 or its equivalent will count toward the total 5 credits in Islamic Studies required for the minor.

Study abroad

All students are strongly encouraged to spend a minimum of one semester abroad in a program approved by both Islamic Studies and Swarthmore's Office of Foreign Study.

Honors Minor

To complete an honors minor in Islamic studies, a student must have completed all the course requirements for the interdisciplinary minor listed above. Students are encouraged to take a 2-credit honors seminar in an Islamic studies topic in either their junior or senior year. Honors students are required to complete a 2-credit thesis under program supervision that will count toward the minimum of 5 credits required for the interdisciplinary minor or take a 2-credit Islamic Studies honors seminar. Students normally enroll for the thesis (ISLM 180) in the fall semester (1-credit), and in the spring semester (1-credit) of the senior year. The honors examination will address the themes explored in the 2-credit thesis or the 2-credit Islamic Studies honors seminar.

Special Major

Students are invited to consider a special major in Islamic studies in consultation with members of the Islamic Studies Committee. The proposal should include the above requirements and should provide a list of the courses.

Courses Eligible for the Islamic Studies Program

For the list of Islamic courses being offered, please see our web page at:

This list will be affected by sabbatical leaves and changes in faculty appointments. 
See individual departments to determine specific offerings.


ISLM 096. Thesis
Offered Fall and Spring (2 credits)
ISLM 180. Honors Thesis
Offered Fall and Spring (2 credits)

ANTH 009C. Cultures of the Middle East
ANTH 123. Culture, Power, Islam

DANC 046. Dance Technique I: Kathak
DANC 049F. Performance Dance: Repertory Kathak

HIST 006B. The Modern Middle East

Modern Languages and Literatures, Arabic
ARAB 004. Intermediate Modern Standard Arabic II
ARAB 011. Advanced Arabic I
ARAB 0011A. Arabic Conversation
ARAB 012. Advanced Arabic II
ARAB 012A. Advanced Arabic Conversation
ARAB 013. Levantine Arabic
ARAB 015. Media Arabic
ARAB 021. Introduction to Modern Arab Literature
ARAB 022. Discourses of Oppression in Contemporary Arabic Fiction
ARAB 023. Identity and Culture in Arab Cinema
ARAB 025. War in Arab Literature & Cinema (Cross-listed as LITR 025A)
ARAB 029. Arabs Write the West (Cross-listed as LITR 029A)
ARAB 030. Literature of Resistance (Cross-listed as LITR 030A)
ARAB 041. Self and Nation in Mahmoud Darwish's Poetry and Prose
ARAB 045. Contemporary Thought in the Arab World (Cross-listed as LITR 045A)

Modern Languages and Literatures, French
FREN 045B. Le monde francophone: France and the Maghreb: Postcolonial Writing in a Transnational Context
FREN 109. Queering North African Subjectivities
FREN 111. Désir (post) Colonial 

Modern Languages and Literatures, Russian
RUSS 023. Muslim in Russia (Cross-listed as LITR 023R)

Peace and Conflict Studies
PEAC 003. Crisis Resolution in the Middle East
PEAC 053. Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

Political Science
POLS 079. Islam, Race, and Empire (CP)

RELG 008B. The Qur’an and Its Interpreters
RELG 011B. The Religion of Islam: The Islamic Humanities (W)
RELG 013. The History, Religion, and Culture of India II: Muslim, Hindu, Sikh, and Dalit in North India
RELG 029. Islam, Race, and Anti-Blackness
RELG 053. Gender, Sexuality, and the Body in Islamic Discourses
RELG 098. Islamic Law and Society
RELG 100. Holy War, Martyrdom, and Suicide in Christianity, Judaism, and Islam
RELG 127. Secrecy and Heresy