Rigorous training in the Arabic language is a cornerstone of the MAAS program, which is supported by the largest and oldest Arabic language department in the country. Students are encouraged to enter the program with intermediate-level Arabic proficiency and must continuously take Arabic classes until they pass the proficiency exam. Once they fulfill the proficiency requirement, they must take one Arabic course per year.
MAAS students have the unique opportunity to take Arabic content courses on topics ranging from Arabic literature to politics, history, and culture of the region, as well as to attend film series and lectures in Arabic. The program’s demanding Arabic language requirement is regularly cited by students and alumni alike as a major strength of the program.
Students should aim to enroll in Intermediate Arabic (ARAB 111) or higher upon matriculation to the program. All instructional Arabic courses are offered through the Department of Arabic and Islamic Studies. Intermediate Arabic (ARAB 111/112) and Advanced Arabic (ARAB 215/216) are six-credit courses that students take in addition to their graduate coursework. The Department of Arabic and Islamic Studies and CCAS also offer post-advanced Arabic courses to help students continue to develop their Arabic language skills.
Once students pass the Arabic proficiency exam, they must enroll in one Arabic course per year. Courses that may be used to fulfill this requirement include undergraduate or graduate-level Arabic skills courses, Arabic content courses, or courses taught in English that utilize Arabic materials.
Undergraduate-level language courses (those numbered below 350) do not count toward the MAAS degree, so students must take them in addition to the required nine graduate credits per semester. However, the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences offers students Language Study Scholarships that cover the cost of one undergraduate-level language course per semester, so MAAS students taking intermediate, advanced, or post-advanced courses below 350 will not pay additional tuition for these classes. Arabic courses numbered above 350 count for graduate credit and are not eligible for a Language Study Scholarship.
Once students have passed the Arabic proficiency exam, they are permitted to take other language courses for which they may receive a Language Study Scholarship.
Arabic Proficiency Exam
In order to graduate, all students must pass a written and oral proficiency exam in Modern Standard Arabic. The exam is offered at the end of each semester and students must continue to enroll in Arabic classes until they pass the exam.
The written exam consists of three sections: grammar, reading comprehension, and writing. The oral exam is an ACTFL oral proficiency interview (OPI) administered through the Department of Arabic and Islamic Studies. The passing score for MAAS students is Advanced Mid and the exam is conducted in Modern Standard Arabic.