SOAS University of London

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

BA Arabic (2021 entry)

Select year of entry: 2022 2021

  • Structure
  • Teaching and Learning
  • Employment

Overview

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 Near and Middle East studies
  • our Language Centre is the sole provider of Arabic language teaching qualifications in the UK for teachers of Arabic language
  • students can develop a holistic and integrated approach to the study of Africa, Asia and the Middle East through their languages and cultures
  • 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

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:
AAB - ABB
A Level language preferred
IB:
35 (6/6/5)

View alternative entry requirements

BTEC: DDM

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

duration:
4 years

Convenors

Structure

Structure

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.

Programme

Year 1 students take the following compulsory modules
Module Code Credits Term
Arabic 1 (UG) 155906732 30 Term 1
Arabic 2 (UG) 155906731 30 Term 2
Cultures of Africa, the Middle East, South and South East Asia I: Basic Terms and Concepts 152900122 15 Term 1
Languages of the World 152900118 15 Term 2
Literatures of Africa, the Middle East, South and South East Asia 1: The Art of Storytelling 155901379 15 Term 1
Films of Asia, Africa and the Middle East 1 155901317 15 Term 2
Year 2 students take the following compulsory modules
Module Code Credits Term
Arabic 3 A (UG) 155906725 15 Term 1
Arabic 3 B (UG) 155906726 15 Term 2
OR
Module Code Credits Term
Arabic 4 A (UG) 155906721 15 Term 1
Arabic 4 B (UG) 155906722 15 Term 2
AND
Module Code Credits Term
Introduction to Arabic Dialects 155901396 15 Term 2
Introduction to Arabic Culture 155901205 15 Term 1
Introduction to Arabic Literature A: Modern Trends 155906729 15 Term 1
Understanding Texts 152900123 15 Term 1
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
Module Code Credits Term
Arabic 5 A (UG) 155906715 15 Term 1
Arabic 5 B (UG) 155906716 15 Term 2
OR
Module Code Credits Term
Arabic 6 A (UG) 155906717 15 Term 1
Arabic 6 B (UG) 155906718 15 Term 2
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
Module Code Credits Term
Arabic 1 (UG) 155906732 30 Term 1
Arabic 2 (UG) 155906731 30 Term 2
Arabic 3 A (UG) 155906725 15 Term 1
Arabic 3 B (UG) 155906726 15 Term 2
Arabic 4 A (UG) 155906721 15 Term 1
Arabic 4 B (UG) 155906722 15 Term 2
Arabic 5 A (UG) 155906715 15 Term 1
Arabic 5 B (UG) 155906716 15 Term 2
Arabic 6 A (UG) 155906717 15 Term 1
Arabic 6 B (UG) 155906718 15 Term 2
Language Options
Module Code Credits Term
Amharic 1 A 155906036 15 Term 1
Amharic 1 B 155906037 15 Term 2
Hebrew 1 A 155906052 15 Term 1
Hebrew 1 B 155906053 15 Term 2
Hebrew 2 A (UG) 155906734 15 Term 1
Hebrew 2 B (UG) 155906733 15 Term 2
Hindi Language 1 A 155906056 15 Term 1
Hindi Language 1 B 155906057 15 Term 2
Hindi Language 2 155901183 30 Full Year
Indonesian Language 1 A 155906066 15 Term 1
Indonesian Language 1 B 155906067 15 Term 2
Persian 1 A 155906048 15 Term 1
Persian 1 B 155906049 15 Term 2
Persian 2 A (UG) 155906714 15 Term 1
Persian 2 B (UG) 155906713 15 Term 2
Swahili 1 A 155906044 15 Term 1
Swahili 1 B 155906045 15 Term 2
Swahili 2a Intermediate 155900986 30 Full Year
Swahili 1 B 155906045 15 Term 2
Turkish 1 A 155906046 15 Term 1
Turkish 1 B 155906047 15 Term 2
Ottoman Turkish Language A 155900549 15 credits
Urdu Language 1 A 155906058 15 Term 1
Urdu Language 1 B 155906059 15 Term 2
Vietnamese Language 1 A 155906068 15 Term 1
Vietnamese Language 1 B 155906069 15 Term 2
Zulu 1 A 155906042 15 Term 1
Zulu 1 B 155906043 15 Term 2
List A - Year 2 Guided Options
Module Code Credits Term
Introduction To Israeli Culture 155900947- 15
Literatures of Africa, Middle East, South and South East Asia 2: Of Love, Loss and Desire 155901277 15 Term 1
Films of Asia, Africa and the Middle East 2 155901354 15 Term 2
Beyond Regions: Oceans, Networks, Trajectories 155906706 15 Term 1
Literatures of the Islamic Near and Middle East 155900991 15 Term 2
Decolonising Otherness 152900120 15 Term 2
Language, Identity and Society in Africa 155900867 15 Term 1
List B - Year 4 Arabic Options
Module Code Credits Term
Politics and Aesthetics in Modern Arabic Literature 155901382 15 Term 2
Reading Classical Arabic historians 155901334 15 Term 2
Quran and Hadith Studies 155900734 15 Term 2
Independent Study Project in Arabic Studies 155900733 30 Full Year
List C - Year 4 Guided Options
Module Code Credits Term
Social and Political Dimensions of Modern Arabic Literature (UG) 155906705 15 Term 1
Modern Palestinian Literature (UG) 155906704 15 Term 2
Cinemas of the Middle East and North Africa 1 155905000 15 Term 1
Cinemas of the Middle East and North Africa 2 155905001 15 Term 2
Jerusalem: City in Conflict (UG) 155905003 15 Term 1
History of the Palestine-Israel Conflict (I): 1900 to 1948 155905009 15 Term 1
The History of the Palestine-Israel Conflict (II): from 1948 to Oslo 155905010 15 Term 2
Classical Persian Poetry 155901372 15 Full Year
Contemporary African literature 155900839 15 Term 1
Introduction to Translation Theory 152900113 15 Term 1
Perspectives on African experience 155900933 30 Term 1
Year 4 - Open Options (suggested)
Module Code Credits Term
H211 Cities in History 154800301 15 Term 2
Comparative Ethics 158000199 15 Term 2
H214 Violence in History 154800304 15 Term 1

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

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).

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.

Year abroad

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.

SOAS Library

SOAS Library is one of the world's most important academic libraries for the study of Africa, Asia and the Middle East, attracting scholars from all over the world. The Library houses over 1.2 million volumes, together with significant archival holdings, special collections and a growing network of electronic resources.

Employment

Employment

Graduates of the School of Languages, Cultures and Linguistics leave SOAS not only with linguistic and cultural expertise, but also with skills in written and oral communication, analysis and problem solving.

Recent School of Languages, Cultures and Linguistics graduates have been hired by:

  • Africa Matters
  • Amnesty International
  • Arab British Chamber of Commerce
  • BBC World Service
  • British High Commission
  • Council for British Research in the Levant
  • Department for International Development
  • Edelman
  • Embassy of Jordan
  • Ernst & Young
  • Foreign & Commonwealth Office
  • Google
  • Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies
  • Middle East Eye
  • Saïd Foundation
  • TalkAbout Speech Therapy
  • The Black Curriculum
  • The Telegraph
  • United Nations Development Programme
  • UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency
  • Wall Street Journal

Find out more about out Careers Service.

A Student's Perspective

What SOAS offers is the lectures with world-class academics, who give you not only a thorough knowledge on the subject, but also stimulate you for individual thinking and make you enjoy the course.

Sergiusz Scheller

Find out more