Welcome to Arabic and Islamic Studies

The Department of Arabic and Islamic Studies at the University of Sydney has an established program which offers a well-integrated curriculum at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels, combining units of study on Arabic language and literature (ARBC) with units on Islam and the societies, cultures and politics of the modern Arab world and the Middle East (ARIS).

Whether you are interested in learning Arabic for basic communication skills, or in order to use it effectively in business, education, law, health, media, translation or community work, we have appropriate Arabic courses for beginners as well as for post-HSC Arabic students. Any student can take units on the Arab world, Islam and the Middle East (tuition in these ARIS units is conducted in English). Combining ARBC and ARIS units will give students a strong foundation of expert knowledge of the language, history, politics, society and culture of the Arab world and Islam, and of the Middle East as an important region in the modern world.

Undergraduate Studies

At the undergraduate level, the department offers a three-year sequence in each of the ARBC and ARIS programs. There are two distinct strands in the Arabic language units of study: Arabic for beginners (B strand); and Arabic for advanced post-HSC students (A strand). Arabic for beginners (B strand) is based on Living Arabic in Context, an innovative, integrated and lively audio-visual course developed by Dr Nijmeh Hajjar. Senior units in the B strand aim to develop students’ communication skills in Arabic, including conversation, and introduce samples from modern Arabic literature and media Arabic. Senior units in the A strand focus on modern Arabic literature, Arabic for media and advanced translation skills. View the units of study currently on offer.

Units on the Arab World, Islam and the Middle East (ARIS) include two introductory (junior) units on Arabs, Islam and the Middle East; and Arab-Islamic civilisation, and four senior units on Islam and Muslims in world history; Islam and Muslims and the challenges of modernity; society and politics in the Middle East; and issues and debates in Arab culture. A special senior unit focuses on methodology and approaches to Arabic and Islamic Studies ARIS3680 Approaches to Arabic and Islamic Studies.

Any student can take Arabic and Islamic Studies units. Combining sufficient senior units from ARBC and ARIS is essential for students majoring in Arabic and Islamic Studies. However, students not majoring in this area of study can choose whatever combination of ARBC and / or ARIS units.

The major in Arabic and Islamic Studies consists of either 4 senior ARBC units (24 credit points) plus 2 senior ARIS units (12 credit points), or vice versa (4 senior ARIS units and 2 senior ARBC units).

A student can take the major within the Bachelor of Arts degree or within the Bachelor of Arts (Languages) or any combined degree with Arts. Arabic and Islamic Studies also combines well with History, Asian Studies, European Studies, International and Global Studies, Anthropology, Religion, Education, Law, and Science.

Students can also pursue advanced studies through the Fourth Year Honours Program where they conduct original research leading to the production of a substantial work of scholarship (Honours Thesis). Go to our Honours webpage for further information.

For those who don't want to complete a Bachelor of Arts, there are other opportunities to do Arabic and Islamic Studies including a Diploma of Language Studies or a Diploma of Arts. If you have just a casual interest in learning the subject, you can also take our courses as a non-award student.

Postgraduate Studies

At the postgraduate level, the Department offers both research and coursework programs. Students with the appropriate qualifications can pursue research in the field of Arabic, Islamic and Middle East Studies leading to a Master of Arts (MA Research), Master of Philosophy (MPhil), and/or a PhD. Students doing the MA (Research) can opt to take one or two units of study from our list of postgraduate coursework units. It is also possible for MPhil and PhD candidates to take one or two units from the coursework program. However they will be assessed only on the basis of the quality of their research and the completion of their thesis. Go to our research webpage for more information on the research areas that our Department specialises in.

The postgraduate coursework program in Arabic and Islamic Studies seeks to provide students with an understating of Islam and its role in the modern world, including Islamic world view, position and role of women, Islamic law in the modern world; Islam and democracy, and issues in Arab political culture. Students have the choice of taking one or two units of Arabic for advanced study as part of their postgraduate coursework program. The language content of these units is designed to suit the appropriate level of the student’s knowledge of Arabic, including beginners. Students with advanced knowledge of Arabic (native or near native) can choose to take units in advanced Arabic translation. Go to our postgraduate coursework webpages for more information on the postgraduate coursework program.

Prospective undergraduate students interested in Arabic and Islamic Studies are encouraged to contact the School of Languages and Cultures.