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Department of the Languages and Cultures of the Near and Middle East

BA Arabic

Programme Code: T620 BA/A Duration: 4 years


2015 Entry Requirements

  • A Levels: AAB
  • A Level language preferred
  • IB: 35 (6/6/5)
  • Access to HE: Minimum of 30 Level 3 Credits at Distinction
  • Scottish Highers: AAABB
  • Scottish Advanced Highers: AAB
  • Irish LC: 340 points from 5 Higher level subjects at grade C1 or above
  • Advanced Placement: 4 4 5 (Two semesters - UCAS Group A) plus US HSGD with GPA 3.0
  • Euro Bacc: 80%
  • French Bacc: 14/20
  • German Abitur: 2.0
  • Italy DES: 80/100
  • Austria Mat: 2.0
  • Polish Mat: Overall 75% including 3 extended level subjects

Minimum Entry Requirements: Languages at SOAS are taught ab initio, and no prior knowledge of Arabic is required.

Subjects Preferred: A good pass in a foreign language at A-level, or equivalent, is preferred

Interview Policy: Candidates with "non-standard" qualifications may be invited for interview

Start of programme: September

Mode of Attendance: Full Time

In the first year the programme's major component is the intensive study of Modern Standard Arabic; the student is free to choose as the year's minor component a second course on Arabic culture, Middle Eastern literature or Islam.

The second year continues the study of Modern Standard Arabic and, at the same time introduces the student to classical Arabic and modern Arabic literature. An appropriate fourth course is chosen from the list of approved optional courses.

The third year of the course is spent at an Arab university in the Middle East, where students study the colloquial language as well as Modern Standard Arabic, and write an extended essay.

In the final year study of language and literature is continued at the advanced level. In addition, the freedom to select two other appropriate units from the list of options gives students the opportunity of specializing in a field of particular interest.


Learn a language as part of this programme

Degree programmes at SOAS - including this one - can include language courses in more than forty African and Asian languages. It is SOAS students’ command of an African or Asian language which sets SOAS apart from other universities.

Students take 4 units per year; there is some element of choice to develop special interests.

Language courses at an advanced level are also available to students who have the necessary background.

Year 1
1.Core Course

Must be passed in order to proceed to the following year of study

  • Arabic 1 - 155900896 (3 Unit) - Full Year
2. Choose one of the following
Year 2
1.Core Course
  • Arabic 2 - 155900897 (1 Unit) - Full Year
2. Compulsory Courses

Please select two of the following courses:

4. Option Unit

One unit from the lists of Arabic-related options (lists B or C) OR one other unit (open option) at an approved level.

Year 3

Year abroad in Amman, Alexandria or Nablus. Students will develop their Arabic language skills, learn colloquial language and write an extended essay in Arabic.

Year 4
1. Core Course
  • Arabic 4 - 155900899 (1 Unit) - Full Year
2. Choose one of the following
3. Choose one of the following

OR one unit from the list of Arabic-related options (List B) at an approved level.

4. Option Unit

One unit from the lists of Arabic-related options (Lists B or C) OR one other unit (open option) at an approved level.

(List A) Compulsory Arabic courses
(List B) Arabic-related options
Year 2 Arabic Related Options
Year 4 Arabic Related Options
(List C) Other approved options (not all are available every year)

Before selecting a course, student's must first check that the course is at the correct level. They must also ensure that they meet any pre-requisites.

Programme Specification

Teaching & Learning

Year abroad

Students spend the 3rd year in Damascus or Alexandria


As a graduate who specialised in the Arabic, you will have gained competency in language skills and intercultural awareness and understanding. Familiarity with the region will have been developed through a combination of the study of language, literature, history, cinema, politics, economics or law. Graduates leave SOAS not only with linguistic and cultural expertise, but also with a portfolio of widely transferable skills which employers seek in many professional and management careers, both in business and in the public sector. These include: written and oral communication skills; attention to detail; analytical and problem-solving skills; and the ability to research, amass and order information from a variety of sources.

Because the Middle East occupies a place of major importance in global politics and economics graduates of Arabic have a considerable range of career opportunities. SOAS alumni with degrees in 
Arabic have found jobs in business, finance and diplomacy, as well as in humanitarian aid, higher education and the media. There is also an increasing need for graduates of Arabic in Arab companies with subsidiaries in the East and the West.

Graduates have gone on to work for a range of organisations including:
  • Policy Advisor
  • Production Manager
  • Teacher
  • HM Ambassador to Beirut
  • British High Commissioner
  • Senior Advisor
  • Political Analyst, East and Central Africa
  • Press Attache
  • Journalist/Author
  • Delegate
  • Senior Research Fellow
  • Paralegal
  • Professor, Social Psychology
  • Associate, Emerging Markets
  • Professor of Islamic Studies
Types of roles that graduates have gone on to do include: 
  • Amnesty International
  • Arab British Chamber of Commerce
  • British High Commission
  • Capital Advisory Group
  • CNBC
  • Department for International Development
  • Embassy of Jordan
  • Foreign & Commonwealth Office
  • House of World Cultures
  • ICRC
  • Institute of Arab and  Islamic Studies
  • Middle East International
  • National Center for Social and Criminal Research
  • Royal United Services Institute
  • Saïd Foundation
  • United Nations

For more information about Graduate Destinations from this department, please visit the Careers Service website.

A Student's Perspective

It’s a global experience and, thankfully, everyone is included, no matter what their colour, religion, or ‘class’.

Mysa Kafil-Hussain