Rigorous training in the Arabic language is a core element of the program, which is supported by the largest and oldest Arabic language department in the country.

Students are expected to enter the program having taken at least two years/levels of Arabic prior to entering the program. MAAS students must be continuously enrolled in an Arabic language class until they pass the MAAS Arabic proficiency exam. The program’s demanding Arabic language requirement is a distinctive feature regularly cited by students and alumni alike as a major draw and strength.

Language Classes

The MAAS program has designated sections of Intensive Intermediate and Advanced Arabic, offered through the Department of Arabic and Islamic Studies. The MAAS sections consist of one hour of grammar and one hour of conversation five days a week. Students must be able to enroll in the MAAS section of Intermediate Arabic (ARAB 111-03) upon matriculation to the program. Intermediate Arabic (ARAB 111/112) and Advanced Arabic (ARAB 215/216) are six-credit courses that students take in addition to their graduate coursework.

MAAS students are eligible to receive a Language Study Scholarship from the Graduate School for courses numbered below 350 that are taught in Arabic.

Once students pass the Arabic proficiency exam, they must enroll in one Arabic content course, or course taught in Arabic per year, to maintain or continue to improve their Arabic skills. Arabic content courses are offered at both the undergraduate and graduate levels.

Undergraduate-level language courses (those numbered below 350) do not count toward the MAAS degree, so students must taken them in addition to the required nine graduate credits per semester. However, the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences offers students Language Study Scholarships to 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. 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.

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 (25%), reading comprehension (50%), and writing (25%). 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.

Students are given three attempts to pass the Arabic proficiency exam, excluding the exam taken during orientation.