SOAS University of London

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

Languages of the Near & Middle East at SOAS: Arabic

Arabic, one of the six official languages of the United Nations, is spoken by at least 250 million Arabs and used by Muslims all over the world. It is known for the wealth of its registers, both spoken and written. The geographical and cultural diversity of the twenty-two Arab countries spanning the Middle East from North Africa to South-West Asia has given spoken Arabic numerous colloquial variants, each with features distinct from one another. Written Arabic has an uninterrupted history of at least sixteen centuries of literary production exceptionally rich in styles and genres, ranging from the most elevated classical repertoire to a large and world-famous store of popular narrative and a burgeoning corpus of contemporary writing. Knowledge of Arabic lays at the students' fingertips the treasury of this great literary heritage. Within only a few years of study which include a year spent in the Middle East, students are able to appreciate the diversity and intricacies of classical, modern and popular Arabic writing, from poetry, story, history and belles-lettres to the Qur'an, Prophetic Tradition, Islamic theology and philosophy.

For inquiries on Arabic Degree Programmes and Degree Course Options please contact Dr Mustafa Shah ( in the Department of the Languages and Cultures of the Near and Middle East

For inquiries on Arabic language courses taught by the SOAS Language Centre, including the Diploma and Certificate in Communicative Arabic, please contact Ms. Ilham Salimane ( in the Language Centre.

Degree Programmes

Degree Course Options

  • Arabic 1
  • Arabic 100A
  • Arabic 100B
  • Arabic 2
  • Arabic 200
  • Arabic 300
  • Arabic 4
  • Elementary Qur'anic Arabic
  • Intermediate Qur'anic Arabic
  • Language and Oral Literature of an Arabic Vernacular
  • Arabic 2 (Postgraduate)
  • Arabic 200 (Postgraduate)
  • Arabic 300 (Postgraduate)
  • Arabic 4 (Postgraduate)
  • Arabic/English/Arabic Translation
  • Introduction to Standard Modern Arabic

Language Centre

Other Resources

  • Arabic Language and Literature
  • Arabic Teaching Resources
  • Studying Arabic at SOAS

Please Note: Not all courses and programmes are available every year