SOAS University of London

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

BA Arabic

4 years

Fees 2017/18

UK/EU fees:
Overseas fees:

Fees for 2017/18 entrants. The fees are per academic year. Please note that fees go up each year. Further details can be found in the Fees and Funding tab on this page or in the Registry Undergraduate Tuition Fees page

2017 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

  • Overview
  • Structure
  • Teaching and Learning
  • Fees and funding
  • Employment
  • Apply


Programme Code: T620 BA/A

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 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 the prize-winning essays (with English abstract) written by students during the academic year 2014-15.

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.


Key Information Set Data


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 Module

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

ModuleCodeUnit valueTermAvailability
Arabic 1 155900896 3 Unit Full Year
Introduction to Arabic Culture 155901205 1 Unit Full Year
Literatures of the Near and Middle East 155900991 1 Unit Full Year
H130 Introduction to the History of the Near and Middle East 154800230 1 Unit Full Year
Year 2
1.Core Module
ModuleCodeUnit valueTermAvailability
Arabic 2 155900897 1 Unit Full Year
2. Compulsory Module
ModuleCodeUnit valueTermAvailability
Introduction to Arabic Literature 155905004 1 Unit Full Year
3. Compulsory Module

Choose from the following modules

ModuleCodeUnit valueTermAvailability
Introduction to Early IslamicTexts 155901115 1 Unit Full Year
Introduction to Arabic Dialects 155901396 1 Unit Full Year
4. Option Unit

A further module from the list below or modules to the value of one unit from the Arabic related options at approved level OR an open option

ModuleCodeUnit valueTermAvailability
The Muslim World: Unity in Diversity 155901258 1 Unit Full Year
Introduction to Sufism 155901375 1 Unit Full Year
Year 3

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

Year 4
1. Core Module
ModuleCodeUnit valueTermAvailability
Arabic 4 155900899 1 Unit Full Year
2. Compulsory Modules

Choose modules to the value of two units from the following

ModuleCodeUnit valueTermAvailability
Arabic Womens' Writing 155901406 1 Unit Full Year
Medieval Arabic Thought 155901377 1 Unit Full Year
Sufism: Texts and History 155901381 1 Unit Full Year Not Running 2016/2017
Politics and Aesthetics in Modern Arabic Literature 155901382 1 Unit Full Year Not Running 2016/2017
Culture Society and Politics in Classical Arabic Literature 155901373 1 Unit Full Year
Reading Classical Arabic historians 155901334 1 Unit Full Year
Language and Oral Literature of an Arabic Vernacular 155901376 1 Unit Full Year
Quran and hadith Studies 155900734 1 Unit Full Year
Islamic Texts 155900356 1 Unit Full Year Not Running 2016/2017
Independent Study Project in Arabic Studies (using Language sources) 155901344 1 Unit Full Year
Independent Study Project in Arabic Studies 155900733 1 Unit Full Year
Intensive Turkish Language 155901194 2 Unit Full Year
Intensive Persian Language 155901242 2 Unit Full Year
Cinemas of the Middle East and North Africa 1 155905000 0.5 Unit Term 1
Cinemas of the Middle East and North Africa 2 155905001 0.5 Unit Term 2
3. Option

Modules to the value of one unit from the list above OR from the list of Arabic related options OR an open option

Arabic Related Options (not all available every year)

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

ModuleCodeUnit valueTermAvailability
Elementary Written Turkish 155901051 1 Unit Full Year
Modern Hebrew Language: Elementary 155901407 1 Unit Full Year
Persian for Readers of Arabic Script 155905002 1 Unit Full Year
Introductory Akkadian 155900426 1 Unit Full Year Not Running 2016/2017
Economic development of the modern Middle East 153400031 1 Unit Full Year
Government and politics of the Middle East 153400060 1 Unit Full Year
H248 The Making of the Modern Middle East 154800227 1 Unit Full Year
Mosaics, Manuscripts, and Wall Painting in Islamic Art 154900134 1 Unit Full Year Not Running 2016/2017
Art and Material Culture of the Islamic World: 7th to 14th Centuries 154900138 1 Unit Full Year Not Running 2016/2017
Islamic Law 155200037 1 Unit Full Year

Programme Specification


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. An-Najah University in Nablus, Occupied West Bank (An-Najah University briefing paper)
  3. The Alif Institute in Fez, Morocco
  4. The Qasid Institute in Amman, Jordan

Courses 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.

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.

Fees and funding

Tuition Fees

Full details of undergraduate tuition fees can be found on the Registry's Undergraduate Tuition Fees page.

Fees for 2017/18 entrants. The fees below are per academic year. Please note that fees go up each year. 

BA, BSc, LLB £9,250 £16,575
BA/BSc Language Year Abroad £1,387.50 £8,288
Undergraduate Research Awards

Application Deadline: 2017-04-17 17:00

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; 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


Find out more

  • Contact us
    By phone:
    +44 (0)20 7898 4700
    By email:
  • Got a question?

    If you still have questions about this programme or studying at SOAS get in touch.

    Ask a question

  • Apply

    Undergraduate course applications should be made through UCAS.

    Start your application