Arabic Studies Major

Program Director: Peter Glanville, Ph.D. 

The 36-credit major in Arabic Studies (ARAB) prepares students to engage with the rich diversity of the Arabic-speaking world through comprehensive studies in language and culture. The major provides students with extensive linguistic training in both formal Arabic and at least one regional variety. An interdisciplinary curriculum acquaints students with global perspectives on social issues, cultural trends, and forms of difference across Arab societies and the diaspora. The program prepares students for a range of careers in fields like government, education, business, international development, communication, and the arts. Many undergraduates combine Arabic Studies with a double major in another discipline, including arts and humanities majors, international relations, business, computer science, and journalism.

Placement in Courses

For information about the World Language Placement, go to:

Program Learning Outcomes

  1. Students will be able to interact at the Advanced level of proficiency in a way that mirrors speech-community norms in a variety of non-specialist contexts.
  2. Students will demonstrate comprehension of authentic written and oral texts intended for a native-speaker audience, including news articles, editorials, and literary texts.
  3. Students will produce written texts in Modern Standard Arabic at the advanced level of proficiency.
  4. Students will demonstrate an understanding of key issues in the Arabic-speaking world and the ability to research a topic in depth through critical, cross-cultural analysis at a level appropriate to an area specialist. Students will explain how different perspectives and experiences influence practices and beliefs in other cultures as well as their own at individual, organizational, and societal levels.
  5. Students will demonstrate familiarity with the rich ethnic, religious, and linguistic diversity of the Arabic-speaking world.
  6. Students will describe various forms of marginalization in the Arabic-speaking world, the power structures that support them, and the lived experiences that arise from them. Students will compare these to similar processes in other cultural contexts, including their own.
Course Title Credits
College Requirements
Core Language Sequence (18 Credits)
ARAB101Elementary Arabic I3
ARAB102Elementary Arabic II3
ARAB201Intermediate Arabic I3
ARAB202Intermediate Arabic II3
ARAB301Arab Culture and Society: Skills and Topics I3
ARAB302Arab Culture & Society: Skills and Topics II3
Elective Credits (see below for details)18
Total Credits36
  • Once credits have been received for a higher-level language focus course, a lower-level course in the same strand may not be taken for credit. ARAB201 may not be taken after ARAB202, for example.

  • All pre-requisites imply "or equivalent knowledge." In cases of equivalent knowledge, required language-focused credits are replaced in consultation with, and with the written approval of, the undergraduate advisor.

  • Students must take a minimum of 12 major credits at the upper level.

Foundation Electives (a minimum of 9 credits)

Course Title Credits
ARAB190Introduction to Arab Cultures & Societies3
ARAB317Key Moments in the History of the Middle East3
ARAB222Arabic for Daily Life I3
ARAB322Arabic for Daily Life II3
ARAB225Roots and Patterns: Verb Meaning in Arabic3
ARAB325Structure and Function of the Arabic Language3
  • Other ARAB courses may be included on written approval of the undergraduate advisor.

  • Students may select all 18 elective credits from the foundational electives category above, but they may take up to 9 credits of optional electives from the list below (if optional electives are taken, at least one 3-credit optional elective must be taught in Arabic).

Optional Electives (a maximum of 9 credits, including at least one 3-credit course taught in Arabic)

Course Title Credits
ARAB206Egyptian Colloquial Arabic I3
ARAB207Egyptian Colloquial Arabic II3
ARAB250Food Cultures in the Global Middle East3
ARAB398Special Topics in Arabic Studies3
ARAB401Readings in Arabic Literature3
ARAB410Ideology of Stereotyping: American and Middle Eastern Film and Television3
ARAB499Special Topics in Arabic Studies3
ARAB386Experiential Learning3-6
  • Certain courses in Middle Eastern Studies taught in English in other departments (depending on the content of the courses) can be substituted with the approval of the Undergraduate Advisor and Program Director.

  • Students must earn a grade of "C-" or higher in each course applied toward a major or minor in the School of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures. Additionally, an overall GPA of 2.0 in a major or minor is required for graduation.

Click here for roadmaps for graduation plans in the College of Arts and Humanities.

Additional information on developing a graduation plan can be found on the following pages: