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 (from menus, songs, and advertisements to social media, magazines and newspapers, poetry, short stories, and films). 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.

Successful completion of CAS LY 212 Modern Standard Arabic fulfills the College of Arts & Sciences second language requirement.

During and after their prerequisite four semesters of language work (LY 111–212), Arabic minors take three to four semesters of additional language courses (including colloquial Arabic and/or topic-based advanced courses) and one to two courses in Arabic literature/film/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 consult with Arabic faculty about external study abroad opportunities and scholarships in Jordan and elsewhere.

Students who wish to major in Arabic may pursue a BA in Middle Eastern and South Asian Languages & Literatures (MESALL) (through the World Languages & Literatures Department), a BA in Middle East & North Africa (MENA) Studies (through the Pardee School), or both. Students interested in translation are encouraged to take LY 572 Arabic Translation & Interpreting and consider electives in WLL’s MFA in Literary Translation. Arabic language and literature/culture courses also count for the Pardee School’s minors in Muslim Cultures and Muslim Societies.


The minor in Arabic requires six courses with a grade of C or higher. 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 may not be credited toward the minor.

  1. Two language courses numbered CAS LY 303 and LY 304 (or equivalent proficiency and two substitute courses chosen in consultation with advisor).
  2. One or two additional Arabic language courses numbered CAS LY 214 or above (may include LY 214, 215, 411, 420, 471, or 572; may include LY 350 if not also counted for literature).
  3. One or two of the following courses on Arabic or Middle Eastern literature and culture: CAS LY 284, LY 350, LY 441, LY 470, LZ 381, XL 223, XL 315, XL 342, XL 343, XL 380, XL 540.
  4. At most, one related non-LY CAS course to be approved by the minor advisor. This external course from within or outside WLL 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.