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Arabic language training at UT is a part of a comprehensive program in Arabic Studies offering coursework in formal and spoken Arabic at all stages of proficiency. ARA 601C is open to anyone with no background in Arabic who wishes to learn the language.

Students taking Arabic have the opportunity to study the language for 4 years with the goal of achieving a minimum of advanced proficiency. The first 3 years of the language learning focus on building vocabulary and grammar, while the 4th year of Arabic is dedicated to content classes. Students learn about a specific topic entirely in Arabic.

Congratulations to our Arabic students for completing the Spring 2020 semester! Watch our instructors and teaching assistants say thank you to our wonderful students in their end of semester video here.

Arabic Sequence

The core Arabic curriculum consists of three years (six semesters) of language-centered coursework that aims to build skills in reading, listening, speaking, writing, and culture.

First Year Second Year Third Year Content Courses
ARA 601C ARA 621K ARA 531K Varied Topics
ARA 611C ARA 621L ARA 531L Varied Topics

Content Covered

These courses offer a proficiency-based curriculum based on the methodology of the Al-Kitaab textbook series, which introduces students to both formal and spoken Arabic from the beginning, and focuses on developing learning and comprehension strategies in addition to the active acquisition of vocabulary and grammar. The program is demanding, and requires a significant time commitment on the part of the student, but the reward for that commitment is steady progress toward Advanced proficiency and beyond (based on the scale of the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages).

Students are expected to reach Intermediate Low to Mid proficiency by the end of the first year, Intermediate Mid to High by the end of the second, and Advanced proficiency by the end of the third year. Below is an approximation of chapters covered in each class:

Course Content

ARA 601C

all of Alif Baa, chapters 1-4 in Alkitaab 1, 3rd edition

ARA 611C

chapters 5-11 in Alkitaab 1, 3rd edition

ARA 621K

chapters 12-13 in Alkitaab 1, 3rd edition; chapters 1-3 in Alkitaab 2, 3rd edition

ARA 621L

chapters 4-8 in Alkitaab 2, 3rd edition

ARA 531K

chapters 9-10 in Alkitaab 2, 3rd edition and chapters 5-7 in Alkitaab 2, 2nd edition

ARA 531L

selected parts of chapters 8-10 in Alkitaab 2, 2nd edition; authentic material (articles and videos); reading of a short Arabic novel

Beyond the three-year core, students may choose from a large number of upper division and graduate courses taught in Arabic that focus on an area or discipline, such as linguistics, literature, news media, cinema, history, political science, culture and thought.

Oral Proficiency Interviews

Please note that at the end of the 611C course, you may be asked to complete an oral proficiency interview (OPI). Each year Middle Eastern Studies is required to administer OPIs to a pool of randomly selected students, to verify that we are meeting curriculum goals in our first-year language courses. This process is dependent on voluntary student participation. The interviews are extracurricular and will not figure into your course grade, but students selected to participate will receive a notification letting them know their proficiency level in the language. The test is administered over the telephone (or Zoom) and rated by an ACTFL Certified Tester. OPIs can be rated according to the ACTFL Proficiency Guidelines 2012 or the Interagency Language Roundtable (ILR) scale.

Heritage Learners, Bilingual Students, and Native Speakers

All students who have not previously taken Arabic classes at UT but who have some prior knowledge of Arabic, however obtained, must take a placement test before registering for any Arabic class. The test includes listening, reading, writing, and an oral interview with the test proctor. The test is given during the week before classes begin, and the exact time and date are announced on the Middle Eastern Studies website under Placement.

Students who wish to receive credit for ARA 601C and ARA 611C may take the credit-by-exam (CBE) which is only offered once a year in the Fall. Details on the CBE can be found here.

Native speakers are not allowed to take Arabic classes at UT.

Program Contacts:

Sam Strohmeyer Undergraduate Coordinator

Olla N Al-Shalchi, PhD
Arabic Language Coordinator
(512) 475-6644
CAL 508