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Course and Year Abroad

Arabic Studies at Cambridge

At Cambridge, Arabic Studies may be taught as part of the BA in Middle Eastern Studies, or in combination with a Modern European language.

First Year (Part IA)

During your first year, the following papers are offered as part of the BA in Middle Eastern Studies: Elementary Arabic Language A and B (two papers taught as a single course), Introduction to the History and Culture of the Middle East, and Introduction to the Contemporary Middle East. 

You may choose to take all of these papers, or you may opt to combine your studies in Arabic with another Middle Eastern Language. Options for combining study of the Arabic language with a Modern Language are outlined [here]

Second Year (Part IB)

In your second year, the following papers are offered as part of the BA in Middle Eastern Studies: Intermediate Arabic, Literary Arabic, The Formation of Islam, The Formation of the Middle East, and Contemporary Middle Eastern Politics and Society.

You may combine a selection of these papers with other options from the Middle Eastern Studies Tripos offered by the Department of Middle Eastern Studies, the Department of Linguistics and the Faculty of Divinity. Options for continuing your Arabic language studies alongside papers from the Modern Languages Tripos are outlined [here]

Third Year (Part II: Year Abroad)

The object of the year abroad is to greatly develop your competence in the language and your understanding of the society and culture within which it is used. It is also the time to start work on a dissertation, on a topic of your choosing within the range that the Department can supervise. All year abroad plans need approval by the Faculty Board. Please note students for 2017 entry exact details of the year abroad are still being finalised.

If you are studying towards the BA in Middle Eastern Studies, you are normally required to spend eight months in a Middle Eastern country. If you are studying Arabic as a whole subject, you are required to spend eight months in an Arabic-speaking country. If you are combining Arabic with Persian or Hebrew, you are required to spend at least four months in an Arabic-speaking country and at least three months in Israel or Iran, or an equivalent deemed appropriate, unless you are from a Hebrew- or Persian-speaking background.

If you are combining a Middle Eastern language with a Modern language, you are required to spend the full eight months in the Middle East. You are not required to spend any time in a country relevant to your European language.

The countries our students spend the year abroad in vary, according to their inclinations and the political conditions in the Middle East. For example, in 2015 - 16 we have students in Jordan, Oman, the West Bank, Egypt, and Morocco. Students have spent their year abroad doing a wide range of things, from assisting in a school in a north Lebanese town, helping in a Palestinian theatre company, and volunteering at a hospital, to interning with an Egyptian human rights organisation, and working with a sailing company in Oman.

Fourth Year (Part II: Dissertation and Finals)

The two-year course in Part II consists of advanced-level language teaching, plus a number of special subject options. These options reflect the research interests of the teaching staff, and will give you an opportunity to study a particular subject within Arabic Studies at a high level of detail. A dissertation of 12,000 words, usually connected with your special subject paper, is also a requirement.