Department of Arabic and Islamic Studies

The Department of Arabic and Islamic Studies offers an A.B degree in Arabic and a minor in Arabic.


Georgetown has the oldest undergraduate major program in Arabic in the United States. The Arabic language is the key to understanding an important group of 22 nations and over 200 million native Arabic speakers. Many Arabic majors start with no previous knowledge of Arabic; others have been exposed to Arabic as heritage learners or from experience living abroad. The focus in our undergraduate major is on building both linguistic and intercultural skills to an advanced level of communicative competence. 

The first five semesters of study are intensive in order to accelerate achievement of proficiency. Emphasis is placed on building fluency, advanced reading comprehension, and the ability to write and interact at advanced levels of proficiency. Arabic majors first study Modern Standard Arabic (MSA), the common written language of all countries of the Arab world. Courses in spoken Arabic, such as Egyptian Colloquial and Formal Spoken Arabic, are offered in addition to MSA at the second-year level.

Additionally, the program offers undergraduate courses in various aspects of traditional and contemporary Arabic literature, linguistics and Islamic Studies, allowing students to focus on specific topics within the field. Native speakers are ineligible for enrolling in Basic or Intermediate language classes.


12 courses (unless lower placement requires additional language work) consisting of:

  • ARAB-111 & 112 Intensive Second Level Modern Standard Arabic I & II
  • ARAB-113 Spoken Arabic I or 114 Spoken Arabic II (depending on placement)
  • ARAB-201 Introduction to Islamic Civilization (should be taken no later than Sophomore year)
  • ARAB-215 & 216 Intensive Third Level Modern Standard Arabic I & II
  • ARAB-350 Arabic Capstone Seminar
  • 5 ARAB  content courses (electives) approved by advisor at the appropriate level 
  • Oral Proficiency Interview (OPI) is required of all majors
Integrated Writing REquirement

Courses fulfilling the Integrated Writing Requirement are listed at on the Department’s website (

Minor in Arabic

Requirements for the Minor

6 courses consisting of:

  • ARAB-011 & 012 Intensive First Level Modern Standard Arabic I & II
  • ARAB-111 & 112 Intensive Second Level Modern Standard Arabic I & II
  • ARAB-201 Introduction to Islamic Civilization

Plus 1 course selected from the following:

  • ARAB 113 or 114 Spoken Arabic I & II
  • ARAB-213 or 214 Media Arabic I & II
  • ARAB-215 or 216 Intensive Third Level Modern Standard Arabic I & II
  • Other available content courses (electives) approved by advisor at the appropriate level
  • Oral Proficiency Interview (OPI) is required of all minors

Arab Studies Certificate

See the Arab Studies Certificate section of this Bulletin.

Islam and Muslim-Christian Understanding Certificate

See the Undergraduate Certificate in Islam and Muslim Christian Understanding

Arabic Major with FLL Business Coursework

See the Business Coursework section of this Bulletin.

study abroad

Arabic majors are required to spend a year, a semester, or a summer studying at an approved educational institution in an Arabic-speaking country. Georgetown has institutional ties with the Qasid Institute in Amman, Jordan and the Diplomacy and Policy Studies program in Amman run by the Council for International Educational Exchange (CIEE).

See the Study Abroad section of this Bulletin for more information.

Scholarships for advanced study of Arabic are available through the Center for Arabic Study Abroad (CASA) and Critical Language Scholarships (CLS). Advanced students are encouraged to participate in the annual CASA competition for scholarship awards to attend the American University in Cairo and Qasid Institute in Amman, Jordan.

Summer Programs in Arabic

The Department of Arabic and Islamic Studies and the Georgetown University School of Continuing Studies offer an intensive program in Arabic each summer. Courses are offered at the basic, intermediate, and advanced levels in addition to spoken Arabic for two five-week sessions, equivalent to one academic year.

We also offer Georgetown-in-Amman, Jordan, an intensive language program at all levels for one eight-week session equivalent to one academic year.

The Sultan Qaboos bin Said Scholarships

Four-year scholarships, based on financial need and merit, are available to students pursuing a major in Arabic. Interested students should contact the Chair of the Department of Arabic and Islamic Studies.

Accelerated Bachelor/Master Degree Program

See the section on this topic in the Bulletin.

(For course listings for Arabic see