December 15, 2020


Boston Islamic Seminary Receives Approval from the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education for the First Graduate Program in Islamic Religious Leadership

BIS is the first Islamic Seminary in the United States to receive the authority to award this degree. 

Boston, MA–December 15–The Boston Islamic Seminary (BIS) is pleased to announce that alhamdulillah, it has received unanimous approval from the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education (the Board) to award the Master of Islamic Religious Leadership (MIRL) degree. BIS is the first Islamic Seminary in the United States to receive the authority to award this degree. 

This approval comes as a result of a comprehensive and systematic process carried out by the legal and academic affairs staff of the Board at the Department of Higher Education of Massachusetts (DHE).

“It is a great blessing from Allah and a great historic milestone for the Muslim community in Massachusetts and all over the United States. Training Muslim American Religious leaders will be imperative for the Muslim community to properly understand how to navigate their beliefs and values in this contemporary society,” said BIS President Dr. Basyouny Nehela. “We are extremely grateful to the DHE commissioners and the Board for their efforts in getting our application this far.”

Having received the Board’s approval, BIS is now preparing to begin its admissions process for the first cohort of MIRL students, who will commence their studies in the Fall 2021 semester, inshaAllah.

“Since its inception, BIS has been dedicated to achieving the goal of bringing a revolution to Islamic education by providing education matching the quality expectations of the Boston educational environment,” said Dr. Mawdudur Rahman, Professor Emeritus at Suffolk University and BIS consultant. “I have observed this in the vision, mission and the quality of leadership of BIS.” 

“The BIS will add to the diversity of the greater Boston theological education environment.

We look forward to more collaboration with the BIS in the years to come,” said the Board of Trustees of the Boston Theological Interreligious Consortium (BTIC) in a written statement. BTIC is a consortium of ten theological institutions of higher education in the Boston area, and is the largest theological consortium in the world. 

Martin Bentz, Outreach Coordinator of the Islamic Council of New England (ICNE), added, “This program will be invaluable in increasing scholarship and the proper understanding of Islam

in Massachusetts and the nation. Post-graduate studies in Islamic Religious Leadership will provide a cadre of religious leaders who will be highly qualified to communicate authoritatively about the true nature of Islam and how Islam is relevant in modern society.” ICNE is a non-profit umbrella organization for Islamic centers and societies in New England.

The BIS president and board of directors said in a joint statement that they reaffirm their “commitment to becoming a world-class accredited Islamic institution of higher education that prepares men and women to serve in a variety of religious leadership roles in the United States. We will continue serving the Muslim community and the society at large by offering more relevant academic graduate programs to enhance the Muslim contributions to the academic accomplishments of Massachusetts.”

About Boston Islamic Seminary (BIS)

Founded in 2015, BIS is a graduate institution that aims to train religious leaders who will serve the American Muslim community and enhance the understanding of Islam in the contemporary context among people of all backgrounds.

The American Muslim community is at a defining moment in determining its future outlook and place in American culture. Though there is growth in population and institutional development, BIS recognized that there remain difficult and perplexing moral, intellectual, socioeconomic and civic challenges that impede a more fruitful and God-conscious lived reality for Muslims in America. BIS helps address these challenges by engaging students of all backgrounds in an exploration of Islam in the contemporary context and by equipping future religious leaders with the intellectual, spiritual and practical training to serve the American Muslim community.

Since its first year of operation in 2016, BIS has attracted hundreds of students from the Boston area, the U.S. and around the globe with its unique programs that integrate knowledge of Islamic texts and sciences, knowledge of the contemporary context and practical application. In December 2020, BIS was approved by the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education to award the Master of Islamic Religious Leadership (MIRL).  

Today, the Seminary’s course offerings include Graduate and Professional Certificate programs, as well as a fellowship program for students and young professionals. Starting in the Fall 2021 semester, inshaAllah, the Seminary will accept the first cohort of the new full-time MIRL degree at our Chelsea, MA campus. For additional information, please visit


Academic Affairs & Outreach Manager
Boston Islamic Seminary