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Middle East Studies MA - FAQs

Arabic Requirements

The equivalent of one year of Arabic study ALNG 1101-1102-1103 is required for full admission to the MA program in Middle East studies. 

Students who have not reached this level of Arabic and meet all other admission requirements will be granted provisional admission. They may study Arabic at AUC or at any other institution in Egypt or anywhere else. We strongly encourage such students to take a summer of intensive Arabic at AUC, if places are available in the program, or at another institution in Cairo. Among the schools with such courses in Cairo are International Language Institute, Kalimat, Cordoba and Dar Carbone.

The language requirements are usually stated as "proficiency level." In other words, you do not transfer credit. It does not matter where you have studied Arabic previously.

The required level of proficiency to obtain an MA in Middle East studies is equivalent to a level of 2.5 out of 5 in the US Foreign Service Institute exam. A proficiency examination will be administered by the Department of Arabic Language Instruction (ALI). Those expecting to write an MA thesis are strongly advised to attain this level of proficiency before beginning their thesis in order to be able to use Arabic sources. 

Students who have not yet attained the required level of proficiency in Arabic will take an Arabic placement test before beginning their first fall semester. The test is administered by ALI. Mahmoud Sami Moussa is the person to contact there, or anyone else authorized to administer the test. Students will be assigned to an Arabic class on the basis of this test. 

Suppose students who were admitted provisionally place beyond Arabic 102 (i.e., into Arabic 103 or above) at the beginning of the fall semester have no other prerequisites to fulfill. In that case, they will be granted full admission to the MA program. If they must fulfill other prerequisites in addition to Arabic, these must be completed before they are granted full admission to the MA program.

You do not have to take Arabic courses at AUC. Some students opt to study Arabic at the British Council or the International Language Institute here in Cairo. 

This depends on your Arabic level at the time of admission. Arabic courses may be taken in the summer session before your first semester and/or between your first and second year. Refer to the Arabic Language Requirements table to assess how long it may take to reach your required level.

Graduate students are eligible to take the exam twice per semester to fulfill graduation requirements or entrance procedures. Arrangements between graduate student departments and the ALNG unit may be conducted upon request.

Requirement for Diploma: Completion of ALNG 101 and 102 or the equivalent accelerated course ALNG 111.

Requirement for MA comps and Thesis Tracks: Completion of ALNG 203 or the accelerated level ALNG 211.


Arabic Language Requirements

Accelerated Course Normal Course Books Used Lessons Covered
ALNG 111 ALNG 101 Al-Kitaab fii Ta'alum al-'Alarabiyya, Part I 1-6
ALNG 102 Al-Kitaab fii Ta'alum al-'Alarabiyya, Part I 7-13
ALNG 112 ALNG 103 Al-Kitaab fii Ta'alum al-'Alarabiyya, Part I 14-20
ALNG 201 Al-Kitaab fii Ta'alum al-'Alarabiyya, Part II 1-5
ALNG 211 ALNG 202 Al-Kitaab fii Ta'alum al-'Alarabiyya, Part II 6-10
ALNG 203 Al-Kitaab fii Ta'alum al-'Alarabiyya, Part III 1-5
ALNG 212 ALNG 204 Al-Kitaab fii Ta'alum al-'Alarabiyya, Part III 6-10
ALNG 205 Different Authentic Materials  
ALNG 311 ALNG 301 Different Authentic Materials  
ALNG 302 Different Authentic Materials  
ALNG 312 ALNG 303 Different Authentic Materials  
ALNG 304 Different Authentic Materials  

*For more information, contact ALI.

Iman Soliman

Monica Nabil
Program Assistant

For further inquiries from degree-seeking students, send an email to
For further inquiries from non-degree students, send and email to

MA Vs Diploma

The diploma program consists of five courses to be taken in one year, and the MA is a two-year program with ten courses (or eight and a thesis). 

The MA without a thesis consists of 10 graduate courses and the equivalent of ALNG 103 (Intermediate, 12 credits). The MA with a thesis consists of eight graduate courses and the equivalent of ALNG 103 (Intermediate, 12 credits).

The diploma program is designed to allow you to finish all the requirements in two semesters.

Thesis Requirement and Preparation

Students who do not wish to submit a thesis may, as an alternative, complete two further courses and take comprehensive exams. This alternative is most appropriate for students who are not intending to continue their academic careers at the doctoral level.