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Muslim Studies Specialization

The Specialization in Muslim Studies, administered by James Madison College, is available as an elective to students who are enrolled in bachelor’s degree programs at Michigan State University. The specialization provides students with the opportunity for sustained study of Muslim societies and Islam in a range of disciplines and topics.

With the approval of the department that administers the student’s degree program, courses that are used to satisfy the requirements of the specialization may also be used to satisfy the requirements for the bachelor’s degree.

The student’s program of study must be approved by the Muslim Studies coordinator prior to enrollment in any course.

The specialization coordinator is Waseem El-Rayes (
James Madison College, 306 S. Case Hall.
Phone: 517-884-1268

Requirements for the Specialization in Muslim Studies

(You can access the Muslim Studies Specialization Checklist (PDF)*, which you can print off and use to keep track of your progress towards completing specialization requirements).

Students must complete the requirements specified below (16 to 32 credits):

  • Language requirement: Completion of second-year college-level competency in Arabic or another language appropriate for Muslim Studies such as Persian, Turkish, Urdu, Bahasa Indonesia, Malay, or Swahili. Students may petition the Muslim Studies Coordinator for approval of an additional foreign language when it relates to a student's program of study. Students may also petition for a substitution for part or all of the language requirement, replacing the language credits with non-language courses from the course list. An exception to the language requirement may be granted to students completing a relevant study abroad experience from an approved list of programs available from the Muslim Studies Specialization coordinator. Students with majors in the College of Social Science should consult their academic adviser to discuss alternatives to fulfillment of the language requirement in this specialization.
  • Five courses with Muslim studies or Islamic content selected from two different categories, with at least one form each category. Not more than one IAH or ISS course may count toward the five required courses. Students must contact the Muslim Studies Specialization coordinator for an updated list of approved courses prior to enrollment.

    Note: The following courses do not always contain content relevant to the Specialization in Muslim Studies. Before enrolling in any of these, please consult the Muslim Studies Specialization coordinator to see if, in the semester in which a student wishes to enroll, the course counts towards the Specialization:
    • Anthropology 422, 429, and 491
    • French 415, 416, and 447
    • History 201, 450, and 451
    • Integrative Studies in Arts and Humanities 211B
    • Integrative Studies in Social, Behavorial, and Economic Sciences 315 and 330B
    • James Madison College 320, 324D, 325,390, 391, 492, and 497
    • Political Science 344, 351, 354, 358, and 460
    • Religious Studies 330 and 331
    • Sociology 499


Upon completion of the Specialization in Muslim Studies, the student should contact the coordinator for the specialization and request certification for the specialization. After the certification is approved by the Dean of the College, the Office of the Registrar will enter on the student's academic record the name of the specialization and the date that it was completed. This certification will appear on the student's transcript.

*Adobe Acrobat Reader is required to read PDF documents.