Department of Islamic Studies

Welcome to Islamic Studies!

Islamic Studies at the University of Zurich, with its two complementary chairs, conducts research into, and offers teaching about the cultures and societies of the Muslim world from its beginnings to the present day. With a foundation in philological and historical research, a broad repertoire of relevant disciplinary approaches is covered, depending on topic and fields of study—from normative and literary traditions to current conflicts and transformation processes. One chair (Islamic Studies, Prof. U. Rudolph), working above all with source-texts in Arabic and Persian, focuses on pre-modern periods, especially in the fields of philosophy, theology and history of science. Research and teaching at the other Chair (Gender Studies and Islamic Studies, Prof. B. Dennerlein) primarily covers modern and contemporary topics in the fields of intellectual history and reform movements, focusing on material in Arabic and Turkish.

Zurich Islamic Studies offers a broad range of topics at the BA level, comprising:

  • An in-depth introduction to various aspects of the history, culture, religion, and society of Muslim-majority regions, with a focus on the Middle East and North Africa.
  • An intensive philological training in Arabic (classical and modern) and Modern Persian, as well as foundational teaching of Turkish.
  • The reading of selected reference texts in the original language—Arabic, Persian and Turkish—and the examination of fundamental problems and questions concerning the region.

The advanced, research-based courses of study (MA, PhD) offer the possibility to pursue an in-depth examination of more focused topics from past and present, covering the fields of knowledge traditions, philosophy, cultural transformations, and Islam and society.


Chair for Islamic Studies Prof. Dr. Ulrich Rudolph

Chair for Gender Studies and Islamic Studies Prof. Dr. Bettina Dennerlein