Arabic Language Program

Georgetown University hosts one of the strongest university-level Arabic Language Programs in the world. Building on that tradition, Georgetown University School of Foreign Service in Qatar is proud to offer a rich program in Modern Standard Arabic (MSA) as both a Foreign Language and as a Heritage Language to meet the needs of students in the Gulf region. All Arabic language courses employ innovative pedagogy in a culturally rich environment and use course materials published by world-renown scholars in Arabic language learning.

The MSA Foreign Language Program is designed for students who have no linguistic or cultural background in Arabic.

The MSA Heritage Language Program is designed for students with some colloquial or cultural knowledge of Arabic.

Program Goals

Both the Arabic Foreign Language Program and the Arabic Heritage Language Program are designed to help students attain proficiency in Modern Standard Arabic. Emphasis is placed throughout on the development and utilization of fundamental reading, writing, listening and speaking skills. Students who continue their studies beyond the advanced level in either program have the opportunity to develop their MSA skills to the highest levels of proficiency. This will enable them to communicate effectively in Arabic in academic, professional, and social contexts.

MSA Foreign Language Program

MSA Foreign Language courses are delivered at three levels:

ARAB 011 & 012

Intensive 1st Level MSA, I & II

(6 credit hours each)

ARAB 111 & 112

Intensive 2nd Level MSA, I & II

(6 credit hours each)

ARAB 215 & 216

Intensive 3rd Level MSA, I & II

(6 credit hours each)

MSA Heritage Language Program

MSA Heritage Language courses are delivered at three levels:

ARAB 020 & 021

Introductory MSA for Heritage Speakers, I & II

(6 credit hours each)

ARAB 120 & 121

Intermediate MSA for Heritage Speakers, I & II

(3 credit hours each)

ARAB 220 & 221

Advanced MSA for Heritage Speakers, I & II

(3 credit hours each)

Post-Advanced Arabic Courses*

Upon completion of 3rd Level / Advanced MSA instruction, students in both the Foreign Language Program and the Heritage Language Program can continue their language studies in a variety of topical and thematic courses:

ARAB 316

Arabic Language and Politics

ARAB 320

Arab Film

ARAB 329

Arabic Formal Writing

ARAB 335

Introduction to the Arabic Short Story

ARAB 340

Arabic Drama

ARAB 341

Modern Arabic Poetry

ARAB 355

Composition and Style

ARAB 359

Identity and Globalization in the Contemporary Arabic World

ARAB 365

Arabic Gulf Literature

ARAB 380

Topics in the Arab World

ARAB 403

Islam and Arabic Culture in the Golden Age

ARAB 431

Language Policy and Development in the Arab World

ARAB 453

Heritage and Modernity in Arabic Literature

Courses about Arabic taught in English*

Upon completion of 1st Level / Introductory MSA instruction, students in both the Foreign Language Program and the Heritage Language Program can learn more about Arabic language and culture in a variety of topical and thematic courses offered in English:

ARAB 261

Inside Arabic: How it Works

ARAB 270

Variations in Standard Arabic and Dialects

ARAB 324

The Journey of Arabic

ARAB 331

Arabian Nights in Western Literature

ARAB 393

Arabic Sociolinguistics

*Course offerings vary by semester. Some courses have prerequisites.

How to cross-register for Arabic language courses at Georgetown in Qatar:

Interested students should contact the registrar at their home university for information about cross-registration.

Placement test

All students are required to take an Arabic placement test before enrolling in courses. The placement test is designed to determine if a student should follow the Foreign Language Program or the Heritage Language Program. It will also determine at what level of instruction a student will begin his/her studies.

For more information on the Arabic Language Program, please visit http://qatar.sfs.georgetown.edu/academics/Arabic-Language-Program

Frequently asked questions

Q: What’s the difference between a Foreign Language learner and a Heritage Language learner?

A: Heritage language learners are usually native speakers of an Arabic dialect and may have had some formal instruction in Arabic in the past; however, their proficiency is usually unequal or incomplete across skill areas (e.g. reading, writing, listening and speaking). Other heritage learners do not speak a colloquial variety but have had exposure to written Arabic over time and consequently already have a certain level of familiarity and use of the language which foreign language learners do not have. Foreign language learners in most cases have no previous cultural or linguistic connection to Arabic.

Q: If I am not a native speaker of any Arabic dialect, and if I have not had previous exposure to reading in Arabic, can I still take MSA Heritage Language courses?

A: No, but you can take Post-Advanced courses if you demonstrate an advanced level of proficiency on the placement test.

Q: Do students in the MSA Heritage Language Program or MSA Foreign Language Program earn a minor or certificate?

A: No, students do not earn a minor or certificate for these programs.

Q: How do I determine which course I should take?

A: All students must take a placement exam to determine the most appropriate level course.