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Course Requirements

For full program details, please see the Graduate Handbook.

Master’s Degree Course Requirements:

Candidates for the Master’s degree in Arabic take a program of 36 credits (12 courses) plus a research paper. The distribution of the courses is 7 in the major and 5 in the minor. The minor may be in Linguistics or in Islamic Studies. Students are required to take at least ARAB 392, ARAB 547, and ARAB 555.

Arabic Core Courses (7 three-credit courses)

  • ARAB-392 Fundamentals of Arabic Linguistics (3)
  • ARAB-460 Topics in Arab Culture (3)
  • ARAB-525 Qur’anic Exegesis (3)
  • ARAB-531-532 Classical Arabic Poetry (3,3)
  • ARAB-533-534 Classical Arabic Prose (3)
  • ARAB-535-536 The Qur’an (3,3)
  • ARAB-543-544 Modern Arabic Prose (3, 3)
  • ARAB-547 Issues/Methods: Teaching Arabic as a Foreign Language (3)
  • ARAB-548 Arabic Proficiency: Current Issues (3)
  • ARAB-549-550 Arabic Short Stories (3, 3)
  • ARAB 555 Introduction to Arabic and Islamic Studies (3)
  • ARAB-627 Intro to the Hadith (3)
  • ARAB-701-702 Arabic Lit and Culture (3, 3)

Minor Subjects

A. Islamic Studies (5 three-credit courses)

  • ARAB-351-352 Introduction to Arabic Culture (3, 3)
  • ARAB-373 Women in the Qur’an (3)
  • ARAB-444 Introduction to Islamic Civilization
  • ARAB-525 Qur’anic Exegesis (3)
  • ARAB-535-536 The Qur’an (3,3)
  • ARAB-555 Introduction to Arabic and Islamic Studies
  • ARAB-609 The Qur’an in History (3)
  • ARAB-610 Science in the Islamic World
  • ARAB-611 Islamic Thought on the Eve of Modernity
  • ARAB-627 Intro to the Hadith (3)
  • ARAB-760 Arab Historiography (3)
  • THEO-350 Readings in Sufism (3)

ARAB-444 or its equivalent must be taken as the “gateway” course to the minor in Islamic studies. In addition to the courses offered in the Department of Arabic, a range of courses in Islamic studies are offered in the Department of History, Center for Contemporary Arab Studies, Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding, and the Theology Department. With departmental approval, some of these courses may count towards the minor in Islamic Studies. A partial list of these courses is included under the Islamic Studies PhD program.

NB: Islamic studies courses may count toward the major if they are based on and require study of texts in Arabic. If, however, they are conducted in English and assignments are in English, they may not count toward the Arabic major.

B. Linguistics (5 three-credit courses)

The linguistics course requirements may be satisfied by taking courses in Arabic linguistics or by taking courses in the Linguistics department, or a combination of both.

Courses in Arabic Linguistics offered by the department include:

  • ARAB-390 Fundamentals of Language
  • ARAB 392 Fundamentals of Arabic Linguistics
  • ARAB 404 Arabic Morphology and Syntax
  • ARAB 492 Arabic Dialectology
  • ARAB 493 Field Methods in Arabic Dialectology
  • ARAB 520 History of Arabic Linguistics
  • ARAB 547 Issues and Methods in Teaching Arabic as a Foreign Lang.
  • ARAB-548 Arabic Proficiency: Current Issues (3)
  • LING-711 Classical Arabic Phonetics

Linguistics Department courses cover a wide range of subfields including theoretical linguistics, applied linguistics, sociolinguistics and computational linguistics. Students are encouraged to specialize in one field for the minor. Applied linguistics is recommended for those interested in the methodology of language teaching and second language acquisition; theoretical linguistics is recommended for those interested in phonology, morphology, syntax and semantic theory; for those interested in language variation, dialectology intercultural communication, and discourse analysis, sociolinguistics is recommended; for those interested in computer applications of Arabic linguistics, computational linguistics. Consult with the graduate adviser to determine the most suitable courses for your interests. Please consult the Linguistics department course offerings online.

Arabic Proficiency Exam

Masters candidates who are not native speakers of Arabic must pass a written and oral proficiency examination in Arabic. This exam may be taken at any point during the student’s program, but must be completed before the student takes the comprehensive examination.


In accordance with Graduate School rules, students admitted to the Master’s Degree program are allowed three years from matriculation to complete all requirements for the degree and to graduate. Students working towards this degree part-time are also subject to the three year time limit.

Department of Arabic and Islamic StudiesPoulton Hall 2001437 37th St, NWWashington, DC 20057Phone: (202)

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