Minor in Arabic

The minor in Arabic is for students who seek to become proficient in the Arabic language and acquire a good grasp of Arab cultural trends. Our curriculum of CAS LY courses emphasizes Modern Standard Arabic (the variety of the language understood by educated native speakers and used in media and official communications across the Arab world) while providing some exposure to Levantine Colloquial and other dialects. We use the most widely taught textbook series, Al-Kitaab, supplemented with authentic materials (videos, songs, advertisements, magazines and newspapers, menus, etc.).

During and after their prerequisite four semesters of language work, Arabic minors take three to four semesters of additional language courses (including colloquial Arabic and topic-based advanced courses) and one to two courses in Arabic literature or Arab culture. If desired, they may also take one non-LY course in a relevant second language or some aspect of Arab politics or culture. Students are encouraged to study abroad in Rabat (Morocco), in Haifa, or elsewhere. Graduating Arabic minors have gone on to jobs in international business, government, and nonprofits such as the Arab-American Chamber of Commerce and human rights groups, and to top graduate programs in Arabic and Near Eastern Studies.

Arabic is offered only as a minor; the corresponding major is Middle East & North Africa Studies (MENA). For further information about the MENA major, please see the BA in Middle East & North Africa Studies portion of this Bulletin.


Six courses with a grade of C or higher are required. With advisor’s approval, students may include up to three transfer courses from other colleges, universities, or non-BU study abroad programs. At least three courses must be taken on the Charles River Campus. Internships taken through Boston University or other study abroad programs may not be credited toward the minor offered in Arabic.

Unless otherwise noted, all required courses are 4 credit hours.

  1. Two language courses numbered CAS LY 303 and LY 304 (or equivalent proficiency and two substitute courses with advisor’s consent).
  2. One or two additional Arabic language courses numbered CAS LY 214 or above (may include LY 471 and/or LY 572; may include LY 350 if not also counted for literature).
  3. One or two of the following literature and culture courses: CAS XL 223, XL 315, LY 284, LY 350, LY 441, LY 470, XL 540.
  4. At most, one related non-LY CAS course to be approved by the minor advisor. This non-LY course should focus substantially on a relevant second language (e.g., Hebrew, Persian, Turkish, French, or an African language), on linguistics (with an LX number), or on the art, religion, history, politics, etc. of the Arab world.