With over a quarter of a billion native speakers spread across a huge area stretching from Morocco in the West to Iraq in the East, Arabic is the fifth most widely spoken language in the world. It has been taught at the University of Durham for three-quarters of a century, and the Department of Arabic can boast an international reputation in the field of Arabic and Middle Eastern studies.
I decided to take an Arabic module purely for fun. I ended up falling in love with it. The energy and enthusiasm my teachers put into their lectures and seminars is unparalleled. Studying Arabic language and culture has exposed me to so many different ideas and perspectives that have challenged my own existing ways of thinking.
Find out how to apply, all course details and structure, entry requirements and more.
The Department aims to offer students a challenging and dynamic environment within which to gain a solid grounding not only in the written and spoken language varieties, but also in the fascinating culture, history and society of the Arabic-speaking world. In addition to the core Arabic language courses, you will be able to choose from a range of specialised subjects, such as Arabic literature, Middle Eastern culture, as well as the history, politics and religion of the Middle East.
Studying Arabic has been a revelation linguistically, and the range of cinema and literature we have covered has opened up a new world of culture. I have loved every minute so far and cannot wait for the year abroad to put my Arabic to use!
The course runs over four years, the third year of which you will spend studying in an Arab country in order to consolidate and deepen your knowledge of both the language and the culture. For students taking Arabic and another language the minimum period is four months, whereas those who take only Arabic are required to stay a minimum of seven months. The School funds the required periods at selected, accredited institutions.
I’ve absolutely loved studying Arabic at Durham. The teaching is great, and it’s a really interesting and fulfilling degree, despite it being a little tricky! The highlight has undoubtedly been living in Cairo during my Year Abroad, where I met some amazing people, visited some incredible places and obviously learnt some more Arabic! I couldn’t recommend my course more.
Committing myself to learning Arabic from ab initio has been an extremely fulfilling journey. Having the unique opportunity to live with a host family in Jordan during my year abroad enabled me to grasp cultural nuances. I am now also able to form meaningful relationships with people from across the Arab world!
As the paths chosen by our alumni bear out, studying Arabic at Durham provides you with a very broad set of skills and background in order to pursue careers in a wide variety of fields (e.g. translation, business, media, diplomacy).
Find out more about module information, our members of staff responsible for Arabic studies, other language courses, employability, study abroad and scholarships.