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Arabic Studies

Why Arabic Studies?

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.



University student
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.

Durham University languages student
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BA Modern Languages and Cultures

Find out how to apply, all course details and structure, entry requirements and more.

Visit BA Modern Languages and Cultures course page

Studying the Arabic Language and Culture

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.

Arabic words in shape of cat


University student
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!

Durham University languages student

Studying Abroad

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.


University student
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.

Durham University languages student
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!

Durham University languages student

Beit ed-Dine, Lebanon. Photo taken by our student Hana Kapetanovic on their year abroad.

Careers and Employability

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).


Meet MLaC alumna Sophia

When studying at the School for Modern Languages and Cultures, Sophia specialised in Spanish and Arabic and graduated in 2016. She now works as a journalist, author and content creator.
Find out more about Sophia's experiences studying Arabic and her career
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Hannah Rose Thomas: Tears of Gold

Hannah Rose Thomas, an inspiring Durham History and Arabic graduate and an award-winning portrait artist, now uses her talent to tell the stories of displaced women, survivors of sexual abuse and marginalised communities. Her recent book ‘Tears of Gold’ brings together her beautiful portraiture and the stories of these women and has been recognised with a foreword from the King.

Find out more about our History programmes

Discover more

Find out more about module information, our members of staff responsible for Arabic studies, other language courses, employability, study abroad and scholarships.


Find out more about our modules for Arabic studies.
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See a complete list of all members of staff responsible for Arabic studies.
Staff Meeting


Find out more about other language courses we offer.
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Find out more about job prospects and careers with a degree from MLaC.
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Study Abroad

Find out more about where and how to study abroad.
Study abroad


Find out more about scholarships for eligible undergraduate students.
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