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Department ofModern Languages and Literatures


The Arabic language program at Santa Clara University offers beginner and intermediate level courses in Modern Standard Arabic (MSA). The program is designed to introduce students to the Arabic language as well as the cultures and societies in which it is spoken. The program prepares students to actively use their Arabic language skills in and outside the classroom and to speak with native speakers of Arabic through pair and group work in every class session.

Why Study Arabic

Arabic is the 5th most spoken language in the world with more than 375 million speakers in 25 countries in the Middle East, from Morocco in the West to Oman in the East. As well as being an official language of the United Nations, the U.S. State Department has declared Arabic a “critical language” of study, offering grants and scholarships for its study in the U.S. and abroad. By studying Arabic language and culture students will get the chance to view the world from a non-Western perspective, increasing their global and cultural understanding of an important region in the world.

Arabic at SCU

Studying Arabic can increase your chances of landing a job in the following fields:

  • In Industry: working in the oil industry in the United States and in Arabic-speaking countries such as in marketing and managing relations with oil export companies. 
  • In Government: working as a Foreign-service officer, Development program officer, Intelligence analyst, Government relations specialist, Translator & Interpreter. 
  • In International Finance: working for companies in international business, law firms, and international banking that do business in Arab countries. 
  • In Communication: Working as a reporter, Foreign correspondent, and translator. According to, the average salary for the translator of Arabic is $76000/year.
  • In NGOs: Better opportunities landing a job at UN and other humanitarian NGOs.

Cultural Awareness: When working in/for Arab countries and businesses, you will be informed and prepared with substantial knowledge about Arabic culture and traditions, which Arabs appreciate a lot.

Arabic is a requirement for the Asian, Islamic, and Middle Eastern Studies (AIMES) minor. By declaring a minor in AIMES, students will be exposed to a variety of topics in anthropology, literary criticism, religion, history and political science, and develop critical thinking skills and a strong knowledge of the Middle East. Since the Bay Area is home to a large Arabic-speaking community, there are opportunities for students to engage in conversation on and off campus.

What Arabic classes can I take at SCU?

Elementary Arabic (ARAB 1 Fall, ARAB 2 Winter, ARAB 3 Spring) 

Intermediate Arabic (ARAB 21 Fall, ARAB 22 Winter, ARAB 23 Spring)

Arabic Culture and Identity (ARAB 137, Spring)

Undergraduate Bulletin

Where Can I Study Abroad?

Studying abroad in an Arab country is a great opportunity to experience first-hand the warm Arab culture and visit the wondrous historic sites. For students interested in Middle Eastern studies or other related areas, and in Modern Standard Arabic (MSA) students can apply to study in Amman. Students will improve their spoken language skills as they interact with the community.

For students interested in studying Business, Engineering, Arts & Sciences, students can apply to study in Sharjah, UAE.

Visit the Study Abroad Office website

Hannah Wanecke

Taking a weekend excursion to Morocco was the perfect opportunity to explore the natural landscape and meet some of the monkeys that call Morocco home!

Arabic Academic Advising

Advisor for Arabic at All levels:
Mohammed Kadalah

Student Resources hosts approximately 600 music and talk radio programs in Arabic. Mostly colloquial, but also Modern Standard Arabic. Check out the BBC Arabic channel for current events in very clear MSA.

Aswaat Arabiya is an excellent source for students and teachers of Arabic seeking materials for listening comprehension. Each module is divided according to proficiency  level with a number of corresponding activities to download. 

The Hans Wehr Dictionary may be found in multiple digital formats online. Here is a site which allow you to search scanned pages or download:

Arabic Learning Resources provides a few handy word lists of standard Arabic as well as Egyptian colloquial expressions.

Radif is an excellent place for an online thesaurus in Arabic for advanced students.


Taste of Beirut - (in English) No question Lebanese cuisine is one of the finest and most palatable arts in the world. Try out some of the recipes! 

Film & TV

Arab Film (in English) is a wonderful resource for purchasing recent films in Arabic and of course the classics.

3arabtv is THE source for Arabic TV online in the Arab world. 


Arab Poems (in Arabic) - It is said that if you know Arabic you, you don't try your hand at poetry. That is, you leave it to the masters. Arabic is THE language of poetry. 


Simply Impressions (in English) hosts a couple artists who specialize in graphic design for more contemporary representations of classical Arabic calligraphy.

Revival Arts (in English) is one of the bay area's best kept secrets. A local calligrapher trained in the art of Arabic calligraphy in Egypt, Lubna Shaikh offers classes for children and sells custom-made artwork on pretty much any surface. 

Calligraphy Qalam provides a wonderful demonstration of how the calligrapher works and a few samples of this incomparable art form. is the most widely read news syndicate in the Arab world. Turn off your browsers cookies or use the .net version to get to the Arabic website, otherwise you will be rerouted to the Aljazeera America which is only in English.

Al-Baghdadia is read by many Arabs inside Iraq and beyond. 

Al-Arabiya has in the past few years gained some influence in the Arab world with the help of American media conglomerates.

BBC Arabic is another good source for world news in Arabic.

Tech Wadi is a leading non-profit organization in building bridges for entrepreneurship between Silicon Valley and the Arab world. Jordan, UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Israel are all testaments to why the Middle East is being hailed as the next Silicon Valley. 

Arabic Gems is one of my favorite blogs about formal and classical Arabic. As the title suggests, there are some real gems here. 

Emily Writing Backwards is an entertaining blog by the musings of a SCU alum and current Fulbright Scholar in Jordan. WaHashteenaa ya Emily!!

Josh Berer is a world traveller, artist, calligrapher, tattoo designer, and just a generally good guy with many tales to tell.

Quran Corpus is a project developed by researchers at Leeds University for studying syntactic structures in the Quran. It also provides a searchable corpus by root letters for words in the Quran. is a great place to find a translation of each verse in Quran next to the original classical Arabic. 

ArabiCorpus is a massive corpus of texts from classical texts and modern newspapers and novels. It is useful mostly for data miners and researchers, but is also useful for learners and teachers looking for the occurrence of specific words or phrases used in context.