Overview and entry requirements
The BA Arabic provides an intensive study of Modern Standard Arabic in its first year; students are free to choose a second module on Arabic culture, Middle Eastern literature or Islam as the year's minor component.
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 module is chosen from the list of approved optional modules.
The third year of the course is spent at an Arab university or Language Institute in the Middle East, where students study the colloquial language as well as Modern Standard Arabic, and write an extended essay in Arabic (view example of past prize-winning essays).
In the final year study of language and literature is continued at the advanced level. In addition, the freedom to select two other appropriate modules from the list of options gives students the opportunity of specializing in a field of particular interest.
See Near and Middle East Department
Why study Arabic at SOAS
- SOAS has an unrivalled reputation as the foremost provider of oriental studies
- our Language Centre is the sole provider of Arabic language teaching qualifications in the UK for teachers of Arabic language.
- students have the opportunity to study abroad for a year at one of our partner universities
Programme Code: T620 BA/A
Venue: Russell Square: College Buildings
Start of programme: September
Mode of Attendance: Full-time
- 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:
- AAB - ABB
- 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
- 4 years
Fees for 2021/22 entrants per academic year
- UK fees:
- Overseas fees:
Please note that fees go up each year. Further details see 'Fees and funding' (tab on this page) or the Registry's undergraduate tuition fees page.
Students take modules to the value of 120 credits per year. There is some element of choice to develop special interests.
Language modules at an advanced level are also available to students who have the necessary background.
Year 1 students take the following compulsory modules
Year 2 students take the following compulsory modules
Students select a further 30 credits from the 'language options' list below or modules to the value of 30 credits from 'List A' below.
Year 3 - Arabic Year Abroad
Students participate in the Arabic Year Abroad in one of our partner Institutions. For more details please click the "Teaching & Learning" tab above.
Year 4 students take the following compulsory modules
Students select a further 60 credits either from the 'Arabic Options List B' below or a 30 credit Independent Study Project in Arabic Studies or a Translation Project plus modules to the value of 30 credits from 'List C Guided Options'
Arabic Language Modules
List A - Year 2 Guided Options
List B - Year 4 Arabic Options
List C - Year 4 Guided Options
Year 4 - Open Options (suggested)
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 & Learning
Year 1: the programme's major component is the intensive study of Modern Standard Arabic; an introductory module in the study of Islam makes up the year.
Year 2: continues the study of Modern Standard Arabic and at the same time introduces the student to Islamic texts.
Year 3: year spent at an Arab university or Language Institute in the Middle East (see below), where students study the colloquial language as well as Modern Standard Arabic, and write an extended essay in Arabic.
Year 4: language study is continued at the advanced level. To carry on with first-hand experience of the primary sources the choice of one of two modules in Islamic text-reading is compulsory. The remaining modules are selected from the list of options. There is also an opportunity to write an Independent Study Project (ISP).
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.
Students have the choice to spend the Arabic Language Year Abroad at one of the following four institutions:
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.
Independent Study Project
Towards the end of their stay students are expected to write an Arabic Independent Study Project (ISP) in Arabic of some 3,000-3,500 words on a subject of their choice. Supervision and guidance will be supplied by designated staff at the year abroad institution.
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.
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 guidelines on the 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.
Fees for 2021/22 entrants per academic year
BA, BSc, LLB
|BA/BSc Language year abroad
Please note that fees go up each year.
For full details of undergraduate tuition fees, see our Registry's undergraduate tuition fees page.
Application Deadline: 2020-04-30 15:00
For further details and information on external scholarships visit the Scholarships section
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
- 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:
- Amnesty International
- Arab British Chamber of Commerce
- British High Commission
- Capital Advisory Group
- Department for International Development
- Embassy of Jordan
- Foreign & Commonwealth Office
- House of World Cultures
- Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies
- Middle East International
- National Center for Social and Criminal Research
- Royal United Services Institute
- Saïd Foundation
- United Nations
The types of roles that graduates have gone on to do include:
- Policy Advisor
- Production Manager
- HM Ambassador to Beirut
- British High Commissioner
- Senior Advisor
- Political Analyst, East and Central Africa
- Press Attache
- Senior Research Fellow
- Professor, Social Psychology
- Associate, Emerging Markets
- Professor of Islamic Studies
Find out more on our 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’.