Skip to main content

Arabic Language

Vanderbilt University offers three levels of Arabic instruction, each supported by two semesters of class time, as well as  upper level seminars. Most courses are taught by Dr. Bushra Hamad and Dr. Issam Eido. The Director of Undergraduate Studies in Arabic Language is Dr. Issam Eido.


Minor in Arabic Language

Students complete a required minimum of 18 credit hours from the list below, following one of two tracks. No credit hours will be counted for Arabic 1101 or Arabic 1102.

Track A “Foundations and Literature”: 9 credit hours from category I, Grammar and Constructions, and 9 credit hours from category II, Literature and Culture.

Track B “Full Proficiency”: 12 credit hours from category I, Grammar and Constructions, and 6 credit hours from category II, Literature and Culture.

CATEGORY I, Grammar and Constructions:
ARA 2201 Intermediate Arabic I; ARA 2202 Intermediate Arabic II
ARA 3101 Advanced Arabic I; ARA 3102 Advanced Arabic II
CATEGORY II, Literature and Culture:
ARA 3201 Media Arabic
ARA 3301 Arabic of the Qur’an and Other Classical Texts
RLST 4592 Reading Seminar in Arabic Literature
RLST 4593 Reading Seminar in Islamic Tradition


◊ Students may pursue both the Minor in Islamic Studies and the Minor in Arabic Language.


Students are encouraged to explore Summer programs within the US and abroad. See "Study and Research Abroad" for more details. Remember that transfer credits for all language courses are not automatic. We will be happy to advise students considering such courses. 

Courses Offered

The Vanderbilt Arabic program offers instruction in Modern Standard Arabic (MSA), that is, the Arabic of newspapers, magazines, media broadcasts, etc., at all levels, and is proficiency-based. All four skills (listening, speaking, reading and writing) are developed, with special emphasis on speaking and reading.  Sentence building and structure, as well as vocabulary retention are central to class activities.  Knowledge of Arabic culture is an important component of all courses.  All courses are to be taken on a grade basis. Audits are not allowed.

    • 1101-1102 Elementary Arabic 
      Students will learn the Arabic script, basic grammar and vocabulary. By the end of the fall semester, students will be able to initiate and sustain conversation and read materials appropriate to a beginner's level.   Five hours per week. Additional lab work required.  (5-credit hrs). No P/F
    • 2201-2202 Intermediate Arabic 
      This course builds widely on the base of vocabulary established in ARA 210a-ARA 210b.  Arabic is used extensively in the classroom to teach more complex sentence structure and grammar, as well as introduce new vocabulary.  Use of acquired vocabulary and its application to a variety of situations is highly encouraged.  By the end of these two courses, students are fully prepared to read and understand authentic materials of average difficulty, as well as discuss and debate familiar topics.  Three hours per week plus at least one hour of lab work. (3-credit hrs). No P/F
    • 3101-3102 Advanced Arabic
      Course provides overview of Arabic in its formal manifestations.  Of all four skills reading and speaking are emphasized, authentic materials are used, and grammar learned in proper context.  Literary techniques and observations help students understand and analyze relevant materials. Prerequisite: 2 years of Arabic. (3-credit hrs). No P/F
    • 3201 Media Arabic
      Learning to discuss, simulate, and analyze Arabic media materials.  Coverage of current and historical events, such as TV broadcasts, headline news, documentaries, and public discussions on political, religious, and cultural issues. [3] (INT) 
    • 3301 Arabic of the Qur'an and Other Classical Texts
      Syntactical and morphological features of Classical Arabic.  Differences and similarities with Modern Standard Arabic in vocabulary usage, semantic extensions, and context; vocabulary borrowing.  Texts drawn from the Qur'an, Hadith, and Sira (biographical) literature. [3] (INT)


  • RLST 4592 Advanced Readings in Arabic Literature
  • RLST 4593 Advanced Readings in Islamic Tradition


Graduate course codes:

ARA 5101-5102 Elementary (DIV 5108)

ARA 5201-5202 Intermediate

ARA 5301-5302 Advanced

ARA 5401 Media Arabic

ARA 5501 Arabic of the Qur'an (DIV 5126) (REL 5126)

RLST 5592 Advanced Seminar in Arabic

RLST 5593 Advanced Seminar in Islamic Tradition



ARA 1101-1102 will be offered in the regular school year, and in the Summer session.

  • NOTE: All courses must be taken in proper sequence. All upper-level registration is contingent upon  approval.