Mission Statement

The Center for Arab and Islamic Studies was established in 1983 in accordance with the academic mission of Villanova University. Its membership is comprised of faculty from many disciplines, specializing in Arab and Islamic studies, whose goal is to promote the understanding and appreciation of Arab and Islamic societies in their religious, political, economic, social and cultural dimensions. The Center maintains rigorous academic standards in promoting the research and teaching of its faculty members. It supports a curriculum of undergraduate courses leading to a Minor in Arab and Islamic Studies or to a Certificate in Arab and Islamic Studies.

The Center's faculty focus on past and present societies, cultures and peoples of the Arab and Islamic worlds with particular attention to the region of the Middle East. The Center promotes research and teaching on the contemporary dynamics of the Middle East both in terms of its internal circumstances and global implications. The Center recognizes the need for greater understanding of the Arab and Islamic peoples and supports programs addressing this need.

How the CAIS Promotes Its Mission

  • Enhancing and strengthening faculty professional development in their respective specialties through research and teaching.
  • Inviting undergraduates from all Villanova colleges to participate in the Center's Certificate or Minor in Arab and Islamic Studies.
  • Developing courses of study in Arab and Islamic Studies at the graduate level.
  • Encouraging and providing avenues of support for Villanova students to live and study in a Middle Eastern, Arab or Islamic country for a summer, semester or year.
  • Presenting evening lectures, film series and seminars open to students, faculty and the public.
  • Planning and supporting seminars, workshops and conferences in the fields of Arab and Islamic Studies.
  • Inviting international scholars with expertise in the Center's fields to visit and work at Villanova, encouraging faculty and student exchanges, and promoting affiliation agreements with universities in the fields of Arab and Islamic Studies.

Academic Program

The Major and Minor offered by the Center for Arab and Islamic Studies enable students to acquire a basic grounding in Arabic in addition to a wide range of interdisciplinary courses on the Arab and Islamic world that is of critical importance to our understanding of the contemporary world.

The study entails an interdisciplinary approach that reflect the complexity of the Arab and Islamic world and provides a background for advanced professional studies, as well as careers in government or business related to the Middle East. The program is open to students in all the colleges. Students are also welcome to enroll in individual courses.