The Arabic Program: An Introduction

The Arabic Language Program at Wake Forest University was established in 2005 and was hosted by the Religion Department between 2005 and 2009 and the Department of Classical Languages between 2009 and 2013. The Arabic Minor became official in 2013 under the Department of Romance Languages; it ranks one of the fastest growing language programs at the University. About eight courses are offered each year with enrollment of around 50 students. At present, there are two full-time professors and a Fulbright scholar whose offerings cover various aspects of language, literature, and culture.

Currently, the program offers a Minor in Arabic covering three years of Modern Standard Arabic and Fusha in addition to courses in Arabic dialect. In the coming years, we are planning to offer a Major in Arabic that includes a fourth year level of Arabic language, culture, and literature. Such offerings enable undergraduate and graduate students to matriculate in required language courses required by various University departments such as The Middle East and South Asia Studies (Interdisciplinary Minor). The program’s Arabic courses cover classical Arabic, Arabic conversation, and modern literature and culture in addition to general survey courses taught in English that deal with Arabic literature, culture, and Islamic civilization.

Students enjoy the opportunity of studying Arabic in various Arab countries, especially in Morocco. Wake Forest University’s Fez Summer Program is based at the Arabic Language Institute in Fez (ALIF). The Institute is housed in a large Moorish-style villa situated in a residential neighborhood and is within easy walking distance of shops, restaurants, and cafes. ALIF has a specialized library, a collection of Arabic films, a satellite television, and a computer center with email access. A Wake Forest faculty member serves as resident professor in Fez to oversee program academics. Courses taught by the resident professor and professors at ALIF include 6 hours of either Arabic or French and one 3-hour course (REL 362: Islam in Morocco) from the resident professor’s discipline for a total of 9 hrs of credit. Academic study is enriched by a cultural immersion experience through home-stays with Moroccan families and various excursions.


Q: I am a complete beginner. I cannot read the Arabic alphabet and I do not have any knowledge of Arabic. Is there a class in your program designed for a student like me?

A: Of course! ARB 111 is intended for beginners. Please note that this course is offered only in the Fall semester. If you do not take the first semester in the fall, you need to wait until next fall.


Q: I learned Arabic many years ago in elementary and middle school. I forgot most of my Arabic. Which class should I take?

A: You have the option of enrolling in ARB 111, or taking a placement test. Check with the Arabic Language Program Coordinator to arrange for this test.


Q: I am a transfer student. At my previous college, I took Arabic courses. Am I exempt from WFU’s Language Requirement in Arabic?

A: Wake Forest University requires you to complete three semesters of Arabic (total of ten credits). If you took the same number of hours in your previous college with the same materials covered and level of proficiency, you may be exempt. Please present your transcript from your previous college or summer program to the Arabic Language Program Coordinator.


Q: I was born outside the Arab world, but my family speaks Arabic at home. I speak Arabic dialect also, but I do not read or write Arabic well. For which class should I register?

A: You are strongly advised to enroll in ARB 111. Please speak to the Arabic Language Program Coordinator.



Dictionaries and Language Tools:
Edward William Lane’s Arabic-English Lexicon:
English Arabic dictionary:


Online Media
Watch BBC Arabic online:
Watch al-Arabiya online: http://www.alarabiya.neT
Sayyiditi magazine:


Al-Quds al-‘Arabi:
Al-Jazeera net:
Al-Nahar newspaper:


Buying Books, Video, Music
Neel wa Furat:
Televised Arab Series:


Scholarly Resources
The Middle East Studies Association (MESA):
The American Association of Teachers of Arabic (AATA):