SOAS University of London

London Middle East Institute

Culture and Society in the Middle East and Arabic or Persian Language

  • Overview
  • Structure
  • How to Apply


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Session 1: 18 June - 19 July 2018

Programme Description

This course offers an introduction to the theories and methods of studying culture and deals with the history and development of Middle Eastern and North African (MENA) culture from the classical period to the present. It examines the major cultural patterns and institutions of the MENA region.

The course is taught through a study of some lively topics such as religious and ethnic diversity, impact of the West, stereotyping, the role of tradition, education (traditional and modern), family structure and value, gender politics, media, life in city, town and village, labour and labour migration, the Palestinian refugee problem and exile communities, culinary cultures, music and media, etc.

The course is normally offered in conjunction with Beginners Arabic (Level 1 or 2).

Beginners Arabic (Level 1)

This is an introductory course in Modern Standard Arabic. It teaches students the Arabic script and provides basic grounding in Arabic grammar and syntax. On completing the course, students should be able to read, write, listen to, and understand simple Arabic sentences and passages. This course is for complete beginners and does not require any prior knowledge of Arabic.

Beginners Arabic (Level 2)

This course is a continuation of Beginners Arabic Level 1. It completes the coverage of the grammar and syntax of Modern Standard Arabic and trains students in reading, comprehending and writing with the help of a dictionary more complex Arabic sentences and passages.

To qualify for entry into this course, students should have completed at least one prior introductory course in Arabic.

Beginners Persian (Level 1)

This is an introductory course which aims to give the students a reasonable grounding in the basics of Persian grammar and syntax as well as enabling them to understand simple and frequently used expressions related to basic language use. They will be able to hold uncomplicated conversations on topics such as personal and family information, shopping, hobbies, employment as well as simple and direct exchanges of information related to familiar topics. By the end of the course they will also progress to read simple short texts.


Tuition fee

£2,700 (both courses) £1,400 (one course)

A limited number of partial tuition fee waivers (two per course) of up to 50% off the fee are available to SOAS’s current students on a first come, first serve basis (please enquire). 15% discount off the fee for SOAS alumni.

Early-bird 10% discount extended to applications received before Friday 25 May 2018.

Other discounts are available for partner institutions and groups, please contact us for further information.

SOAS Summer School Terms and Conditions

Application Fee

A one-off, non-refundable application fee of £40 payable through the SOAS Online Store will be charged to cover administration costs. Once the application fee has been paid you will be given an order number which you will need in order to complete your online application form here.

Accommodation fee

from £300/week
Rooms can be booked at the Intercollegiate Halls which are located in the heart of Bloomsbury:


Please note that summer courses are not accredited by SOAS and please be aware that the decision to award credits rests with your home institution.

Assessment will vary for each course. Participants will be provided with a certificate of attendance and transcripts will be available on request.

Social Programme

You will also be able to enjoy our social programme, starting with a welcome party and an optional river cruise on the Thames for a small additional charge. Details about how to book will be communicated to you once you are registered. You will also receive discount codes for day trips and overnight tours with our partner International Friends.


For more information, please contact Louise Hosking


Part 1

  • BA1: letters/sounds recognition, writing practice and basic speaking scenarios
    BA2: Unit 1-4 of Al-Kitaab fii ta'allum al-'arabiyya, part 1, by Brustad, Al-Batal and Al-Tonsi
  • CSME: the formation of the Arab world today; changing maps of the region; the legacy of European colonisation; various notions of “Arab”

Part 2

  • BA1: joining letters/writing words and continuation of speaking scenarios
    BA2: Unit 5 of Al-Kitaab fii ta'allum al-'arabiyya
  • CSME: the clash of empires; the rise of European powers; culture of reform

Part 3

  • BA1: Units 3-4 of Mastering Arabic, part 1, by Jane Wightwick and Mahmoud Gaafar
    BA2: unit 6 of Al-Kitaab fii ta'allum al-'arabiyya
  • CSME: the ‘golden age of Islam’; ideal Islam and Muslim practices; tradition and modernisation; individual freedom and agency

Part 4

  • BA1: Unit 5-6 of Mastering Arabic
    BA2: unit 7 of Al-Kitaab fii ta'allum al-'arabiyya
  • CSME: state, society and individual; tribalism; rural, nomadic and urban; traditional and modern; expressions of class, gender, lifestyle and identity

Part 5

  • BA1: Unit 7 of Mastering Arabic and Introduction to Present Tense
    BA2: unit 8 of Al-Kitaab fii ta'allum al-'arabiyya
  • CSME: hospitality; rites of passage; wedding and wake banquets; music and non-music: religious and profane; poetry



How to Apply

Applications Now Open! Click to apply

Entry Requirements

In order to join our Summer School, you will need to meet the following entry requirements:

  • A university student or a graduate at the time of attending the summer school, and 18+ years of age.
    Professional experience can be acknowledged as equivalent to a university qualification.
  • A minimum English language requirement if English is not your first language:
    • IELTS, 6.5 overall or higher, with at least 6 in all sub scores.
    • TOEFL Paper based test we require a minimum of 583 with minimum 53 in all skills and for TOEFL Internet Based Test we require a minimum of 93 with minimum 20 in all skills. 
    • Pearson Test of English a score of 59-64
    • Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE) Grade B
    • If you have studied in an English speaking institution, or have courses taught at your university in English (excluding English language courses) you may meet our requirements without having to supply a certificate. Evidence of this will either need to be included on a transcript or letter from your university.
    • Applicants with an alternative qualification should contact us for advice.
    • Applicants whose English language level do not meet out requirements may be interested in our subject based courses with English language support.

Enrolment of Summer School applicants who don’t meet the entry requirements is at the discretion of SOAS – please get in touch to speak to us in detail about your application

Application Procedure

Once you have paid the £40 application fee and submitted the online application form, you will be informed as to whether you have a place on the summer school within 5 working days. Please do not pay your tuition fee prior to having received your offer letter.

Application Deadline

15 June 2018

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