Zaytuna College Becomes 1st Accredited Muslim College In US

Zaytuna College officially becomes the first Muslim college to be granted accreditation in the United States. The official letter of accreditation came from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC), a U.S. Department of Education recognized organization, on March 4, 2015.

Zaytuna College received a glowing letter from the WASC acknowledging what they call “a rigorous and high-quality learning experience, one that…can be viewed as an exemplar in the liberal arts tradition.”

“The devotion and availability of the faculty, together with their high expectations for student achievement, are setting a worthy norm for the institution as it develops its academic culture. The Commission notes that, while Zaytuna has developed an exceptionally demanding undergraduate curriculum, its students enthusiastically embrace the distinctive character of this educational opportunity,” the WASC letter continued.

The college was originally founded by Hamza Yusuf, Imam Zaid and Hatem Bazian in 2009 in Berkeley, California as a liberal arts school. Classes began in the Fall of 2010 and the WASC was informed of Zaytuna’s intent to become a fully accredited institution.

The road to accreditation was traveled rather swiftly, but that doesn’t hinder the excitement felt by those at Zaytuna, both faculty and student.

“Five years ago, we introduced an undergraduate liberal arts program inspired by the idea of restoring the holistic education that had been offered in the great teaching centers of Islamic civilization. Today, Zaytuna’s accreditation roots this vision in reality recognized within American higher education. It gives our community its first accredited academic address in the United States. And we hope, God willing, that there will be more such Muslim colleges and universities to come,” said President Hamza Yusuf.

Currently, Zaytuna College offers only a Bachelor’s of Arts in Islamic Law and Theology degree, which saw it’s first group of graduates don a cap and gown last year. The degree program is no cake walk by any means as students are immersed in a hardcore curriculum covering the Arabic language, Islamic sciences and a solid understanding of law, history, philosophy and much more.

The accreditation means there will be more degree options available for students in the near future. Perhaps most importantly, the accreditation means students present and future are now able to receive federal financial aid by way of grants and/or government loans.

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