Language Centre

Arabic (Modern Standard) Elementary Course

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Key information

1 term per sub-level; 10 weeks per term
Attendance mode
Part-time: online or on campus

Course overview

Course aim

The Elementary course is for students who have completed the full Beginners course at SOAS or an equivalent number of hours of formal Arabic language study (approximately 60 hours). If neither of these apply to you but you think this may be your level, an online assessment can be conducted, please book (MS form)
The course aims to use Modern Standard Arabic in a range of frequently encountered situations across the four skills: listening, speaking, reading and writing. This course is delivered by the Language Centre


The course is taught in English and Arabic and includes a suitable exposure to Arabic grammar and vocabulary, while further developing the skills of comprehension in listening and reading, and the skills of expression in speaking and writing.

Online course 

For the online course, this will be achieved through 20 hours of blended learning: this is composed of 15 hours of online structured lessons with the teacher. This is supplemented by a minimum of 5 hours of guided independent learning supported by complementary material and regular feedback from the tutor. The course objective will be achieved within the 10-week course. Please ensure you have checked the learner support page.

On campus course

For the on campus course, the location will be SOAS, University of London. See SOAS Campus Maps
Room details will be provided once the enrolment period for the course has closed.


Our course materials page shows you what you need to buy for this course. Course materials are not included in the course fee and can be purchased from the SOAS bookshop (email or any other source you can find.

Entry requirements and progression route

This course is aimed at students who have completed the full Beginners Course (Arabic MSA Beginners 1, 2, and 3) or equivalent (approximately 60 hours of formal study). After completing Elementary 1, students progress onto Elementary 2, and then Elementary 3. After this, students can begin the Pre-Intermediate level.
Please note, that each term, courses are subject to quorum requirements.

For course dates and information, please see our timetables


Arabic (Modern Standard) Elementary 1 

In this course you will:

  • speak about your daily routine
  • describe your home and surroundings
  • talk confidently about your studies, work, and leisure
  • express possession of items
  • describe feelings and emotions
  • be able to provide reasons and explanations
  • learn about cultural Arab foods
  • navigate a restaurant scenario
  • further develop skills of using Arabic numbers and quantities
  • understand and use of the present and past tenses
  • understand the roots and patterns of verbs

Arabic (Modern Standard) Elementary 2

In this course you will:

  • learn to speak about your social life
  • talk about weekend activities and leisure
  • tell the time
  • give your positive and negative opinions
  • explore the religious activities in Arab culture
  • use a wider range of ways to describe people and objects
  • use ordinal numbers
  • navigate a hotel booking scenario
  • be able to use quantifiers
  • understand the use of the subjunctive in Arabic
  • be able to use object pronouns

Arabic (Modern Standard) Elementary 3

In this course you will:

  • be able to report information and opinions
  • talk about studies and scholarships
  • access basic articles and short biographies
  • describe your home and local area
  • understand and use definite and indefinite iḍafah when describing
  • know different ways of describing past actions
  • navigate a job search
  • make plans and express hopes/wishes
  • describe future events (affirmative and negative)
  • create and use comparative sentences
  • create and use superlative sentences
  • understand verb patterns and their implied meanings

The above is an indication of content that may be covered over the duration of the course but it could vary depending on the level and progress of students in the class.


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules

Related information

See the full list of Language Centre short courses in Arabic on the Arabic language homepage

Back to the Language Centre