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Online Degree Programs for Arabic Language Study

Arabic language courses are offered online through language certificate programs and Arabic studies bachelor's degree programs. Explore how these online programs work, what kinds of courses you can expect to take and what potential career paths are available.

Can I Learn the Arabic Language Online?

Some colleges and universities offer beginning language study in the form of online Arabic language certificate programs. These certificate programs generally require between 12 and 18 credit hours and work well for those with minimal exposure to the Arabic language.

Another option is to register for online Arabic studies or Arabic language and culture bachelor's degree programs. These degree programs are broader and concentrate more on Arabic culture, literature and language as a whole; however, these area studies programs may allow you to focus on the Arabic language, specifically.

Online OptionsArabic language certificate programs; Arabic studies or Arabic language and culture bachelor's degree programs
Program RequirementsInternet connection, listening and reading exercises via digital files and texts; oral examinations may be required
Common CoursesBeginning Arabic language and grammar, politics, religion, literature
Career OptionsEnglish teacher, translator or interpreter, government, international business
Median Salary (2020)* $52,330 (for interpreters and translators)
Job Outlook (2019-2029)* 20% (for interpreters and translators)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

How Do Online Programs Work?

You'll usually learn Arabic online using a combination of digital resources, files and texts. Through Internet communication and e-mail contact with professors, you'll be expected to follow a schedule that keeps you at pace with the rest of the online program's students. You'll practice grammar and recognition of words through reading passages, while audio and video streaming will provide you with listening exercises. Some programs may require you to scan homework assignments or complete an oral examination.

What Will I Study?

In Arabic language programs, you'll learn basic conversational skills. The purpose of these programs is to teach you basic Arabic pronunciation and grammar. You'll also learn the Arabic alphabet, and much of your studies will be focused on reading comprehension.

In Arabic studies degree programs, you'll study the history of the language, as well as its geographical significance. Each Arabic nation uses a different articulation of Arabic, so you may want to focus your studies on a specific country's dialect. Depending on the institution, you may spend significant amounts of time reading Arabic texts and be expected to translate such texts in order to prove your language proficiency. Some common courses you can expect to study in Arabic studies programs include the following:

  • Middle Eastern politics
  • Intercultural theories
  • Arabic language and grammar
  • Arabic conversation
  • Arabic literature
  • Islam

Many Arabic studies programs emphasize the importance of the Islamic faith in Arabic-speaking countries. You'll likely study the history of Islam and its effects on various cultures.

What Career Options Are Available?

The Arabic language and Arabic studies tracks prepare you for work in education, the military, the government, homeland security, translation services and international business. You may also consider a job in teaching English to Arabic-speaking students through a Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) position. Most TEFL positions require at least a bachelor's degree.