Near Eastern Studies

Minor in Arabic

Amid the political turmoil that pervades many parts of the world, particularly the Middle East, knowledge of the Arabic Language and Culture has become pivotal to many students seeking careers in the field of international relations and politics. Understanding the interconnectedness between bilingualism and better career opportunities, many Boston College departments (i.e., Political Science, International Studies, History, etc.) encourage their students to pick Arabic as a language to study.

Knowledge of Arabic enhances your chances in a global and fast-growing job market. Those who study Arabic find careers in numerous fields including, though not limited to, finance and banking, translation and interpretation, consulting, foreign service and intelligence, journalism, and many others. Yet, despite the increased demand for Arabic speakers, the Western world has not fully taken advantage of this. Arabic gives students an edge in a competitive global market not yet recognized by many college students who would otherwise enhance their employment opportunities to work in influential Middle Eastern companies. The Arab world has a combined CDP of 2.8 trillion, and Arabic may be the distinguishing factor that would give you access to these exclusive opportunities.

Knowledge of Arabic is also essential to understanding the world’s second-largest religion and the first largest religion in the Arab World, Islam. Islam is not just a religion; it is a lifestyle to Arabs. Studying Arabic offers you an invaluable insight into Islamic beliefs and traditions while it connects you to the rich history of another civilization.



city scape

The departmental minor in Arabic Studies covers areas of Modern Standard Arabic and Modern Hebrew, Modern Middle Eastern literature and cultural history, and Near Eastern Civilizations.

It requires a minimum of six approved one-semester courses (18 credits):

  • Two courses (6 credits) in Modern Standard Arabic above the Intermediate I level
  • Four courses (12 credits) from the departmental offerings in Middle Eastern languages, cultures, literatures, and civilizations
Print all courses on page

Spring 2024

Q. Why add Arabic language as a minor?

A. Learning Arabic broadens one's understanding of other cultures and gives one a competitive advantage in fields where language proficiency is valued, such as business, intelligence, and diplomacy. An Arabic minor offers multidisciplinary perspectives on topics impacting the Arabic-speaking world, complementing majors such as international relations, history, and global studies.

Q. How could Arabic language proficiency improve a student's chances for employment and global competency?

A. Speaking Arabic can help you further your career in government, non-governmental work, international business, and journalism—especially in the Middle East—and is an essential language in global affairs.

Q. What distinct cultural understandings and encounters can students have when learning Arabic?

A. Gaining knowledge of Arabic promotes stronger cross-cultural ties by providing insight into the rich customs, literature, history, and artistic expression of the Arab world.

Q. Why Study Arabic over other languages? Isn’t Arabic Harder than Languages like French and Spanish?

A. Arabic is not only the 6th most spoken language, but it is also a language connected to a vast and extremely diverse set of cultures spanning multiple continents. Beyond just the constant political importance and news of the Middle East, Arabic connects us to a variety of peoples, arts, religions, foods, etc. that are completely different than traditional western modes of thought. Arabic is certainly different. It comes from an entirely different language family and has a different alphabet. However, like any language or skill, the question is not necessarily about the difficulty but rather a personal question to oneself - How hard am I willing to try? Language is like a muscle, and Arabic is no different. If you speak it consistently and work on the vocabulary and structures, your skills will improve markedly over time just like French or Spanish.

Student Experiences

 Arabic Culture Night

A student-run night of song, dance, fashion, poetry, and Arabic cuisine. Students develop projects to showcase their creativity and knowledge of Aracbic culture. This annual event is an impactful and enjoyable learning experience.

Student Organizations

Some of our students also collaborate with Astaza, BC’s Middle East Ensemble in presenting Arabic music and singing during two performances: one in the fall and one in the spring. The Muslim Student Association, the Arab Student Association, and the Lebanese Club host events and expose students to the culture of Arabic speaking countries,.

Coffee Hour

Every Wednesday we have coffee hour. Students can learn about a new theme pertaining to the cultures in various Arabic speaking countries, such as music or food. Students can eat and drink traditional foods from Arabic Speaking countries.