Foundations refers to the 1st and 2nd years of the Honors Program in Comparative Islamic Studies. The program aims to equip students with the necessary foundational knowledge in Arabic, linguistic disciplines (e.g. Ṣarf, Naḥw, Waḍʿ and Mantiq), Sīrah, ʿAqīdah, Ādāb al-Baḥth wa al-Munāẓarah, and basic Fiqh. It also provides students with a holistic understanding of Islamic history, culture and civilization along with a critical introduction to modern thought, and comparative theories and methods in the social sciences. In addition, students explore key texts in Islamic ethics and spirituality.

The Foundations program also includes two face-to-face summer retreats in Istanbul. The Summer Suhbah is a three-week intensive program that consists of the study of select texts, immersive travel in and around Istanbul and Turkey, and spiritual retreats (ṣuḥbahs) with scholars.

Students who complete the two years of Foundations are automatically admitted into Core Studies to complete the four year Comparative Islamic Studies BA Honors Program.

Core Studies

Core Studies refers to the 3rd and 4th year of the Honors Program, culminating into a BA degree.

Core Studies at Usul Academy aims at equipping students with the knowledge of central disciplines of the Islamic scholarly heritage. It is accepted by Muslim scholars that Islamic Civilization is built on usulayn (two principles): uṣūl al-fiqh (jurisprudence) and uṣūl al-dīn (rational theology). In accordance with such an insight, these two principles, and disciplines in their own right, are taught based on classical texts. Therefore, the Core Studies curriculum includes a number of ḥadīth (Prophetic traditions) and tafsīr (Quranic exegesis) classes.

In addition to Islamic disciplines, a number of comparative social science classes are offered during these two years. Some of the classes include Comparative Psychology, Comparative Law and Ethics, Comparative Economics, Comparative Art and Aesthetics, and Comparative Bio-Ethics. Through these classes, students will be exposed to the study of contemporary subjects and pressing questions of our age from an Islamic perspective.

Courses on Islamic Ethics and Spirituality complement the learning experience in a unique way, to nourish not only the mind but the soul. Students will be exposed to several tazkiyah works, reflecting upon classics such as Ibn ʿAṭāillāh’s al-Ḥikam, al-Māwardī’s Adab al-Dunyā wa al-Dīn, and Imam Rabbānī’s Maktūbāt

The Core Studies program also includes two face-to-face summers in Istanbul. The Summer Suhbah terms are three intensive weeks that consist of the study of select texts, immersive travel in and around Istanbul and Turkey, and spiritual retreats (ṣuḥbahs) with scholars.

Students who successfully complete the Core Studies program are awarded a BA in Comparative Islamic Studies and will have completed the Honors Program.