Arabic Language Training and Degree Program Overviews

Oct 19, 2019

Essential Information

Universities and foreign language institutes offer short training programs in the Arabic language for beginners. These programs include information on the culture of the people who speak Arabic. Bachelor's degree programs also offer an overall look at Arabic culture, in addition to language instruction, usually focusing on modern Arabic. Many schools require a language test for placement purposes prior to admission. Master's degree programs offer advanced Arabic instruction in both modern and older versions of the language and take one year to complete. Cultural information is emphasized and students have the opportunity to study abroad.

Training Programs in Arabic Languages

Students find training programs offered in the United States and internationally. Some U.S. universities have their own programs, while others work in conjunction with foreign language institutes in Egypt and Jordan, as well as other Middle Eastern nations. While training is available at all levels, the American programs lean towards head-start education for those in or just out of high school. Most training programs are 6-8 week summer sessions.

Language training programs teach basic Arabic for beginners, and for those with prior learning there are placement tests to match the student up with the proper curriculum level. Along with language classes, summer programs stress the importance of getting involved in Arabic cultural programs and clubs to better grasp the culture as a whole. Some programs include:

  • Traditional Arabic dance
  • Arabic films
  • Arabic cuisine
  • Arabic literature and journalism
  • The Qur'an and the Bible

Bachelor's Degree in Arabic Language

At the bachelor's level, most programs focus on standard modern Arabic. In some schools, after the first year of standard language, a student may choose to branch out into dialectic studies. Most programs include cultural, historical, and current day issues as part of the curriculum. Some schools require language placement tests prior to scheduling classes. At least one school offers an advanced placement program. Courses are designed to give the student a well-rounded view of the Arabic culture as well as teaching the mechanics of the language. Classes cover:

  • Women and gender roles in the Middle East
  • Islamic fundamentalism in today's society
  • Early Islamic architecture and art
  • Islamic law
  • International politics in the Middle East

Master's Degree in Arabic Language

Some master's degrees incorporate interdisciplinary programs combining history, anthropology, and political science. At this degree level, a student studies advanced modern Arabic language courses as well as historical Arabic. At least one school offers an accelerated master's program, which awards the degree after successfully completing coursework in one year. Some schools also offer study-abroad programs where students further their Arabic language training through practical application. Master's degree students are not only required to study linguistics and dialects, but also many factors going into creating Arabic society as a whole. Some courses include:

  • Print and media in the Islam world
  • Maghribi societal literature
  • Islamic political philosophy
  • Teaching Islamic

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

After acquiring a bachelor's degree in Arabic language, the most widely available stand-alone occupation available is that of translator. Students who have studied a language and its society's culture are uniquely qualified to understand context and colloquialism when translating. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) all translators and interpreters were predicted to see a 19% increase in employment opportunities between 2018 and 2028 ( The BLS reported that the median annual salary for interpreters and translators was $49,930 in 2018.

Popular Careers

While an Arabic language-training course alone will not qualify a student for any specific job, it will enhance a student's opportunities for later career choices. Some occupations this language may be applied to include:

  • Foreign diplomat
  • Archaeologist
  • International businessperson
  • Translator
  • Foreign economist

Those with master's degrees are qualified for higher positions in the above-mentioned occupations. Other careers open to those with higher education levels include:

  • Journalist
  • College level language instructor or professor
  • Cultural researcher

Continuing Education

There are a few doctoral programs available that are most frequently designed for students wishing to become college professors. Some master's programs can be tailored as prelude work towards a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) Some schools require those working on a Ph.D. to include another related language as part of the doctoral program.

Degrees and training in the Arabic language are available at many schools, from short training programs lasting a number of weeks to master's programs that take between one and two years. Many graduates will go on to find careers of various kinds in translation.

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