Arabic

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

Major 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, in high school 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.

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 Beginning or Intermediate language classes.

Requirements for the A.B in Arabic

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

  • ARAB-111 Intensive Second Level Modern Standard Arabic I 
  • ARAB-112 Intensive Second Level Modern Standard Arabic II
  • ARAB-201 Introduction to Islamic Civilization (must be taken no later than Sophomore year); or upperclass students who have not taken ARAB-201 can satisfy this requirement by taking an advanced course, ARAB-303 Topics in Arabic Islamic Civilization
  • ARAB-215 Intensive Third Level Modern Standard Arabic I
  • ARAB-216 Intensive Third Level Modern Standard Arabic II or ARAB-217 Non-Intensive Third Level Modern Standard Arabic II
  • ARAB-350 Arabic Capstone Seminar
  • 5 ARAB  content courses (electives) approved by advisor at the appropriate level. ARAB-213/214 Arabic Media, ARAB-328 Business Arabic, and ARAB-414 Advanced Arabic Media do not count towards elective courses.
  • Oral Proficiency Interview (OPI) is required of all majors

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. A course in Spoken Arabic must be taken during the study-abroad semester. 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.

Integrated Writing Requirement

Writing is an integral part of the curriculum and embedded into our courses. Students practice writing of increasing complexity in the target language all through the sequence of required courses across the four-year undergraduate major.

Minor in Arabic

Requirements for the Minor (6 courses)

5 courses consisting of:

  • ARAB-011 Intensive First Level Modern Standard Arabic I
  • ARAB-012 Intensive First Level Modern Standard Arabic II
  • ARAB-111 Intensive Second Level Modern Standard Arabic I 
  • ARAB-112 Intensive Second Level Modern Standard Arabic II
  • ARAB-201 Introduction to Islamic Civilization (must be taken no later than Sophomore year); or upperclass students who have not taken ARAB-201 can satisfy this requirement by taking an advanced course, ARAB-303 Topics in Arabic Islamic Civilization

Plus 1 course selected from the following:

  • ARAB-213 or 214 Media Arabic I & II
  • ARAB-215 Intensive Third Level Modern Standard Arabic I
  • ARAB-216 Intensive Third Level Modern Standard Arabic II or ARAB-217 Non-Intensive Third Level Modern Standard Arabic II
  • Other available ARAB course

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.


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 beginner level for two five-week sessions, equivalent to one academic year.

We also offer Georgetown-in-Amman, an intensive language program in Jordan, 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.


For course listings for Arabic see Schedule of Classes