Binghamton University's Arabic Studies program is housed in the Middle Eastern and Ancient Mediterranean Studies Department. This program is also an important option for an affiliated certificate program in Middle East and North Africa Studies (MENA). Both Standard Arabic and Egyptian Spoken Arabic, which is the most important Arabic dialect, are key to the major or minor; both the major and minor also include Independent Studies courses (e.g., Readings in Arabic Literature, Islamic Thought, Readings in Koran and Hadith, Koranic Arabic) that deal with major fields or topics in Arabic and Islamic civilization, past and present. The Independent Studies courses allow for considerable variety and flexibility as the complementary courses that go into fulfilling the requirements for the Arabic Studies major or minor. Under the Practicum rubric, the Arabic Studies program also provides for special tutorial sessions for students of Arabic, by which more advanced speakers of the language with special skills and abilities regularly provide extra assistance and review for students at a lower level in their language learning.
The Arabic major requires 10 courses in total:
- (6 Courses) in Modern Standard Arabic, including 101–102, 203–204, and 305–306.
- (1Course) in Egyptian Colloquial Arabic.
- (1 Course) must be an approved course numbered above 306 that is delivered primarily in an Arabic language (whether Modern Standard, Classical or dialect, other than Egyptian Colloquial Arabic required above).
- (2 Courses) from topics courses delivered in English or Arabic, and listed under ARAB or approved by the undergraduate director. The specific topics for these courses are announced on a semester-by-semester basis. Examples of the options include, but are not limited to, Arabic Literature, Arabic Literature in Translation (such as the Postcolonial Arabic Novel, Race and Gender in Arab-American Literature), Arabic Word Formation and Origins, Introduction to Islamic Thought, Introduction to Qur’an and Hadith, and Middle Eastern, North African or Islamic culture, society, art, literature, or courses in other critical languages of the Middle East, such as Hebrew or Turkish.
What can I do with a degree in Arabic Studies?
Graduated majors or minors with demonstrated potential in Arabic are increasingly finding themselves in demand for careers in business, foreign service, academics, and defense, intelligence, and national security. This development applies to non-heritage as well as heritage learners. In fact, over 90% of students studying Arabic in Binghamton's Arabic Studies program are non-heritage speakers with absolutely no background in, or exposure to, Arabic language learning because of family roots.
Research activities and certificate programs in Middle East and North Africa Studies, Translation, Medieval and Renaissance Studies, and International Studies may enhance the profile of students in the Arabic Studies program and make them better prepared for their projected career paths.Many students in fields as diverse as history, business, banking, economics, philosophy, pre-law, medicine, art history, comparative literature, political science, anthropology, Africana studies, and Judaic studies find that courses offered by the Arabic Studies program are a valuable addition to their studies, whether they or majors or minors in the program or simply taking program courses for general enrichment.
The Arabic Studies program has successfully placed majors in one or another defense-, security-, or intelligence-related agency in Washington, DC, and in leading graduate schools (e.g., Michigan University, Georgetown University, Hofstra University, the University of Connecticut, and the American University in Cairo). It has also produced close to a dozen Rosefsky Scholarship winners at Binghamton (for the study of Arabic abroad), and, most recently, two winners of the prestigious National Security Education Program (NSEP) Scholarship for the study of Arabic abroad.