Arabic BA (Hons)

Al-Sakkaki, Yusuf ibn Abi Bakr ibn Muhammad, Miftah al-‘ulum [The Key to the Sciences] St John’s College, MS 122

Arabic is one of the main subjects taught within the Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies. Undergraduates studying for a BA honours degree in Asian and Middle Eastern Studies may choose Arabic, or Arabic and Islamic Studies. In addition to these courses, students may study Arabic as an additional language within the Faculty and wider University alongside one of the following main subjects: Egyptology and Ancient Near Eastern Studies, Hebrew, Persian or Turkish. In addition, Arabic may be studied as part of the undergraduate degree in Classics & Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, or as part of the degree in European and Middle Eastern Languages.

The course in Arabic is a four-year course, with the second year being spent on an approved course of study in the Middle East. It is necessary to pass a Preliminary Examination after two terms. For this examination, students concentrate on acquiring a basic knowledge of the written language, and studying the fundamentals of Islam as a religious and social system and the history of the Arabs and the Islamic community. Many students have recently spent their year abroad in Jordan, following the Arabic course at the Qasid Arabic Institute. The syllabus concentrates on Modern Standard Arabic (both spoken and written) and modern literature. For more information on the Year Abroad, please refer to the course handbook.

The Arabic course at Oxford is not narrow and vocational. It aims to place linguistic proficiency in its proper cultural and religious perspective. Graduates may obtain a variety of jobs in some way connected with the Middle East (e.g. diplomacy, journalism, broadcasting, banking and business) which tend to call on both their expertise in Arabic and their knowledge of the area.