Arabic studies

Arabic is is the fifth most commonly spoken native language in the world, with about 230 million people speaking it as their first language. Arabic studies students at the Asia Institute will learn not only about reading, writing and speaking in Arabic, but also living and interacting in the 'Arab way'.


Convenor: Dr Abdul-Samad Abdullah

Arabic is the fifth most spoken native language in the world, with about 230 million people speaking it as their first language. Australia has a sizeable Arabic-speaking community.

The Arab World comprises 22 countries across the Middle East and North Africa, with a total population estimated around 350 million, comprising many different ethnic groups of diverse cultural backgrounds. Arabic is also the liturgical language of Islam studied by many millions of non-Arab Muslims around the world. Due to its advantageous geographical position, rich cultural heritage, abundant natural resources, dynamic economy and rapid development, the Arab World has acquired great economic, political and cultural significance in the world.

The peoples of the Arab World have, over their long and eventful history, created a rich and extraordinary artistic, scientific, literary and spiritual heritage, a cultural heritage which has contributed to the development of European art, philosophy and science, and influenced the course of history in Europe and beyond.

The Arabic Studies program of the Asia Institute offers its students an integrated way of studying the Arabic language and aspects of Arab culture, and of learning not only reading, writing and speaking in Arabic but also about living, seeing, acting and interacting in the 'Arab way'. Students will gain insight into Arabic literature, Arab history, political geography, religious traditions and practices, current issues, popular culture, culinary traditions, and many other areas.

Language Placement Test

Careers for Arabic

Effective communication skills in Arabic may play an important role in a wide range of professions, and there are many vocations where you can use these skills to great effect. University graduates with good Arabic language skills, and attendant knowledge of Arab culture and society, may look forward to rewarding career prospects in many professional fields both in Australia and overseas, including journalism, international relations, cultural relations, community development, the medical and nursing professions, international trade and law, building and construction, engineering, English language teaching and other areas of education, translating and interpreting, travel and tourism, working with non-government organisations, and many other areas

Download Careers for Arabic Majors/Diploma of languages in Arabic

For more information on Career planning please see the Faculty of Arts Career planning web page.

Ways to study Arabic subjects

Undergraduate students can study Arabic through:

At the graduate level, Arabic Studies offer courses for:

Available subjects

The Asia Institute offers a range of subjects in Arabic Studies. Some examples include:

See the full list of subjects in the Handbook

Arabic Languages Other Than English (LOTE) accreditation examination

The Institute holds examinations for LOTE accreditation for prospective teachers of Arabic in the first or second week of January and June each year. The examination consists of written and oral components. Further information on how to apply, dates and fees can be found on the LOTE accreditation exams web page.

Why study Arabic?

"Video presentation by Karine Ataya, Director for International Relations in Education for the Victorian Government Business Office in Dubai, UAE, created for the Opening the Door into the Arab World event held by the Asia Institute on 13 September 2014."