The Arabic Language Program at the University of Virginia was established in the mid 1970s; it ranks one of the highest in student numbers among foreign languages at the University. Sixteen courses are offered each semester with enrollment of about 250 students. At present, there are six full time faculty members whose offerings cover various aspects of language, literature, and culture.

Currently, the program offers four years of Modern Standard Arabic, fusha, in addition to courses in dialectal Arabic. Such offerings enable undergraduate and graduate students to matriculate in required language courses required by various University departments such as Religious Studies, Politics, and History, among others. The program's Arabic courses cover classical Arabic, Arabic grammar and modern literature and culture, in addition to courses taught in English that deal with Arabic literature and culture.

Students enjoy the opportunity of studying Arabic in various Arab countries, especially in Jordan, through a U.Va. sponsored program: The U.Va.-Yarmouk University Summer Arabic Program, established in 1984.



Arabic Summer Language Program

The Arabic Language Program usually offers first-year Arabic (ARAB 1010/1020) and second-year Arabic (ARAB 2010/2020) at the Summer Language Institute from (June 10 - August 3, 2012).


Arabic Faculty


Arabic Language Program Coordinator

Bilal Humeidan
127 New Cabell Hall
Phone: (434) 924-3488



Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) :

Q: I am a complete beginner. I cannot read the Arabic Alphabet and I do not have any knowledge of vocabulary. Is there a class in your program for a student like me?

A: Of course! ARAB 1010 is intended for beginners. Please note that this course is offered only in the Fall semester. If you do not take the first semester in the fall, you will have to wait until next fall.


Q: I learned Arabic many years ago. I forgot most of my Arabic. Which class should I take?

A: You have the option of enrolling in ARAB 1010, or taking a placement test. Check with the Arabic Language Program Coordinator to arrange for this test.


Q: I am a transfer student. At my previous college, I took Arabic courses. Am I exempt from U.Va.'s Language Requirement in Arabic?

A: The University of Virginia requires you to complete four semesters of Arabic (total of sixteen credits), in which classes meet five hours a week. If you took the same number of hours in your previous college with the same materials covered, you may be exempt. Please present your transcript from your previous college to the Arabic Language Program Coordinator.


Q: I was born outside the Arab World, but my family speaks Arabic at home. I speak Arabic also, but I do not read or write Arabic well. For which class should I register?

A: You are strongly advised to enroll in Arab 1010. Please speak to the Arabic Language Program Coordinator.


Q: I am a graduate student and passed the first three years of Arabic. Does this count for credit?

A: Completing the first three years of Arabic is a requirement for the Master's students of Middle Eastern Studies and these classes do not count for credit.



Course Descriptions

ARAB 1010/1020
Elementary Arabic

Introduction to the sound and writing systems of Arabic, including basic sentence structure and morphological patterns. A combination of the direct, audio-lingual, proficiency-based, and translation methods is used. The format consists of classroom discussions of a certain grammatical point followed by intensive practice.

ARAB 2010/2020
Intermediate Arabic

Continues training in modern standard Arabic, with emphasis on speaking, comprehension, writing, and reading. The method of teaching primarily follows the proficiency-based approach to language learning.
Prerequisite for ARAB 2010: ARAB 1020 or equivalent, or instructor permission; for ARAB 2020: ARAB 2010 or equivalent, or instructor permission.

ARAB 2250/2260
Conversational Arabic

Introduces students to spoken Arabic, with oral production highly emphasized. Conversation based on everyday situations. enables communication with native speakers.

ARAB 3010/5010
ARAB 3020/5020
Readings in Literary Arabic

The goal of this course is to increase the student's knowledge of the Arabic language and culture via a communicative-based approach, meaning that though the students will be expected to learn grammatical structures. Emphasis will be placed on the functional usage of the language and on communication in context.
Prerequisites: ARAB 2020 or equivalent, or instructor permission.

ARAB 3230/5230
Arabic Conversation and Composition (in Arabic)

Emphasizes development of writing and speaking skills, with special attention on grammar, syntax, vocabulary, and the organization and style of different genres.

ARAB 3240/5240
Arabic Arabic Conversation and Composition (in Arabic)

Develops oral and written proficiency to an advanced level of fluency, with emphasis on speaking and writing.

ARAB 3330/5330
Arabic of the Quran and Hadith I

Studies the language of the Quran and its exegesis, and the Hadith.
Prerequisite: ARAB 2020 or higher, or permission of instructor.

ARAB 3340/5340
Arabic of the Quran and Hadith I

Studies the language of the Quran and its exegesis, and the Hadith.
Prerequisite: ARAB 2020 or higher, or permission of instructor.

ARAB 4930/4940
Independent Study in Arabic

Independent study in Arabic.

ARAB 5830
Topics in Arabic Prose

Emphasis on reading modern Arabic prose, and writing descriptive and narrative short essays.
Prerequisite: ARAB 3020/5020 or equivalent, or instructor permission.

ARAB 5840
Topics in Arabic Prose

Exposure to selected reading material in modern Arabic prose, and writing of short essays, summaries, and descriptive pieces in Arabic.
Prerequisite: ARAB 5830 or instructor permission.

ARAB 5850
Media Arabic

Examination of electronic (television and radio) and print (newspapers, magazines, periodic publications) Arabic.
Prerequisite: ARAB 5530 and 5540, or ARAB 3010/5010 and 3020/5020, or instructor permission.

ARAB 5280
The History of the Arabic Language

Study of the history of Arabic and its development up to present days. Studies relation of Arabic to other languages that come in contact with it either through genetic relationship, such as Hebrew and Aramaic, or through conquest, such as Persian, Coptic, Berber, and others. Emphasizes external and internal factors of linguistic change.
Prerequisite: At least one year of Arabic or Hebrew, and/or historical linguistics.

ARAB 5860
Nineteenth Century Arabic Prose

Examination of Arabic writing in the 19th century, a period of renaissance in the Arabic language.
Prerequisite: ARAB 5530 and 5540, or instructor permission.

ARAB 2270
Culture and Society of the Contemporary Arab Middle East

Introduces the cultural traits and patterns of contemporary Arab society based on scholarly research, recent field work, and personal experiences and observations in the Arab world. No knowledge of Arabic is required. Taught in English.


Arabic in Translation Course Descriptions

ARTR 3290/5290
Modern Arabic Literature in Translation

Introduction to the development and themes of modern Arabic literature (poetry, short stories, novels, and plays). Taught in English.

ARTR 3390
Love, Alienation and Politics in Contemporary Arabic Novel

Introduction to the Arabic Novel with emphasis on a medium for expounding political issues of the Arab world. Taught in English.

ARTR 5350
Introduction to Arab Women's Literature

A comprehensive overview of contemporary Arab women’s literature, this course examines all Arab women’s literary genres starting from personal letters, memoirs, speeches, poetry, fiction, drama, to journalistic articles and interviews. Selected texts cover various geographic locales and theoretical perspectives. Special emphasis will be given to the issues of Arab female authorship, subjectivity theory, and to the question of Arab Feminism.



Arabic on the Web

Dictionaries and Language Tools:
English Arabic dictionary:
Edward William Lane's Arabic-English Lexicon:
Arabic-Arabic dictionary:
English Arabic dictionary:

Online media
Watch al-Jazeera online:
Watch al-Arabiya online: http://www.alarabiya.neT
Sayyiditi magazine:

Al-Quds al-‘Arabi:
Al-Jazeera net:
Al-Nahar newspaper:

Buying Books, Video, Music
Neel wa Furat:
Televised Arab Series:

The Middle East Studies Association (MESA):
The American Association of Teachers of Arabic (AATA) :