SOAS University of London

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

BA Arabic and ... (a language) (2020 entry)

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At SOAS the study of Arabic can be combined with Hebrew, Indonesian, Persian and Turkish. For the BA Arabic and French UCL is the admitting institution.

Combined-honours degrees in Arabic are intended to give students a solid grounding in Modern Standard and Classical Arabic, as well as conversational ability in Colloquial Arabic, in combination with an advanced command of the second language. Students are required to spend the third year of studying Arabic and the other language abroad  at a university in the Middle East.




Venue: Russell Square: College Buildings

Start of programme: September

Mode of Attendance: Full-time

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
A Levels:
A Level language preferred
35 (6/6/5)

View alternative entry requirements


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

Featured events

4 Years



May be combined with:


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 modules to the value of 120 credits per year. There is some element of choice to develop special interests.


Year 1
Core Module

Must be passed with an overall mark of 50 to proceed to the following year of study.

Compulsory Module

Choose ONE of the following modules

Module Code Credits Term
Introduction to Arabic Culture 155901205 15 Term 1
Literatures of the Islamic Near and Middle East 155900991 15 Term 2
H130 Introduction to the Early History of the Middle East 154800230 15 Term 2
Second Language

Choose a second language module to the value of 30 credits

Year 2
Core Module
Compulsory Module

Choose ONE of the following modules

Module Code Credits Term
Introduction to Arabic Literature 155905004 30 credits
Arabic Dialects A 155901396 15 Term 1
Second Language

Choose a second language module to the value of 60 credits

Year 3

Please click the "Teaching & Learning" tab above for more information on the Arabic Year Abroad.

Year 4
Compulsory Modules

Choose a module from List A to the value of 30 credits


Choose a module from List A to the value of 30 credits

Open Option

Choose related Language or Non-Language open option modules to the value of 30 credits

Second Language

Choose a second language module to the value of 60 credits

List A (subject to availability)
Module Code Credits Term
Arabic Womens' Writing 155901406 15 Term 1
Politics and Aesthetics in Modern Arabic Literature 155901382 15 Term 2
Culture Society and Politics in Classical Arabic Literature 155901373 15 Full Year
Reading Classical Arabic historians 155901334 15 Term 2
Language and Oral Literature of an Arabic Vernacular 155901376 30 Full Year
Quran and Hadith Studies 155900734 15 Term 2
Independent Study Project in Arabic Studies (using Language sources) 155901344 30 Full Year

Programme Specification

Important notice

The information on the programme page reflects the intended programme structure against the given academic session. If you are a current student you can find structure information on the previous year link at the top of the page or through your Department. Please read the important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules.

Teaching and Learning

Year abroad

SOAS Arabic Language Year Abroad

Students have the choice to spend the Arabic Language Year Abroad at one of the following four institutions:

  1. The Alexandria School of Languages (ACL) in Alexandria, Egypt (Preparatory Guide for Students Undertaking Residence Abroad at Alexandria Centre for Languages in 2016/2017)
  2. The Alif Institute in Fez, Morocco
  3. The Qasid Institute in Amman, Jordan

Year Abroad Programmes run from September to May of the following year and involve 18 to 20 hours of instruction per week. While the syllabus differs somewhat from one institution to the other, the prime focus throughout is on enhancing the students’ reading, writing, speaking and listening skills in Modern Standard Arabic as well as on imparting an advanced level of competence in the local form of Colloquial Arabic. 

Towards the end of their stay students are expected to write an Arabic ISP (Independent Study Project) in Arabic of some 3000-3500 words on a subject of their choice. Supervision and guidance will be supplied by designated staff at the year abroad institution. To get an impression of the standard students have achieved and the type of topic they can tackle view the prize-winning essays (with English abstract) written by students during the academic year 2014-15.

In order to be admitted to the final year of their degree students will need to have passed the final language examinations at the year abroad institution and to have submitted their ISP by the specified deadline. The ISPs will be marked by the year abroad institution and reviewed by members of the SOAS Arabic Section. The best ISP from each location will be published on the SOAS website.

Students who fail the year abroad examinations or fail to submit their ISPs are deemed to have failed the year abroad. In order to be admitted to the final year of their degree they will need to repeat the language year abroad programme in one of the four designated locations.

For general advice on tuition fees, travel arrangements, health and insurance issues see the SOAS Registry guidelines on the Language Year Abroad.

The SOAS Arabic Section arranges year abroad meetings and briefing sessions where second year students are informed in detail about the year abroad locations and have the chance to meet and consult with returning students.

In determining the safety of year abroad locations SOAS is guided by the relevant Travel Advice published by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. During their stay abroad it is recommended that students subscribe to the relevant FCO website

Approximate living costs (rent, plus food and travel) will typically be between £350 and £500 per month.

Teaching & Learning

Contact Hours

All full-time undergraduate programmes consist of 120 credits per year, taught in modules of 30 credits (taught over 20 weeks) or 15 credits (taught over 10 weeks). The programme structure shows which modules are compulsory and which optional.

As a rough guide, 1 credit equals approximately 10 hours of work. Most of this will be independent study (see Approaches to teaching and learning at SOAS). It will also include class time, which may include lectures, seminars and other classes. Some subjects, such as learning a language, have more class time than others.

In the School of Languages, Cultures and Linguistics, undergraduate modules take various forms. Modules may be taught through 1 or 2 hours of lectures a week, and some may have an additional 1-2 hours of weekly seminars. Languages classes may be 4-5 hours per week in the first and second year, typically less at higher levels.

More information is on the page for each module.

Further Details

In the first year the Programme's major component is the intensive study of Modern Standard Arabic. This consists of 90 credits involving up to 15 hours of tuition per week. The fourth module of 30 credits is chosen from the department of the second language.  Please note that it is not possible to study to languages at ab-initio level.

In the second year students take the 30 credit Arabic language module Arabic 2, a further 30 credits from the Arabic syllabus and 60 credits in the second language.   

The third year of the degree is the Year Abroad programme. Students spend the first half of the year studying colloquial and modern standard Arabic at one of the following institutions: the Alexandria School of Languages  (ACL)  in Alexandria, Egypt; An-Najah National University in the West Bank, Nablus;  the Alif Institute in Fez, Morocco; or The Qasid Institute in Amman, Jordan.  The second half of the year is spent at a selected institution located in the country where the other language they are studying is spoken (i.e. Israel, France, Turkey, Iran or Indonesia).

In the final year students choose an Arabic-related module of at least 30 credits from a list of options covering language, modern and classical literature and Islamic texts.  Students will also choose 60 credits from the syllabus of the second language. Students may have an open option of 30 credits depending on the requirements of their syllabus.


As a student specialising in Arabic and a language, you will gain 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 and culture (which can include literature, film, music, art and religion) of various parts of the Middle East.

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 in both business and 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.

Students graduating with this degree have opportunities to work in further research in Arabic or Islamic Studies, Education, the Arab and Islamic media, Islamic centres, the BBC, in the Press, the Civil Service and non-governmental organisations.

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

A Student's Perspective

My time flew by in London. I made a lot of wonderful friends at SOAS, and we often attended the various events put on by the Student Union and student societies, which ranged from musical performances to debates to movie screenings.

Kate Van Akin, Harvard University, Law School

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