Arabic language training at UT is a part of a comprehensive program in Arabic Studies offering coursework in formal and spoken Arabic at all stages of proficiency, at both undergraduate and graduate levels. ARA 506 is open to anyone with no background in Arabic who wishes to learn the language.
All students who have not previously taken Arabic classes at UT, but who have some knowledge of Arabic, however acquired, must take a placement test before registering for any Arabic class. The test includes listening, reading, writing, and an oral interview with the test proctor. Contact the Undergraduate Adviser, Kathryn Aslan, to reserve a place at the placement test. The test is given during the week before classes begin, and the exact time and date are announced on the Middle Eastern Studies website under Language Testing.
Arabic language training consists of three years of core language-centered coursework that aims to build skills in reading, listening, speaking, writing, and culture. These courses (ARA 506, 507, 512K, 512L, 420K and 420L) offer a proficiency-based curriculum based on the methodology of the Al-Kitaab fi Ta'allum al-'Arabiyya series, which introduces students to both formal and spoken Arabic from the beginning, and focuses on developing learning and comprehension strategies in addition to the active acquisition of vocabulary and structure. In addition, students must register concurrently for the Conversation (Dardasha) class that is an integral part of the regular course (ARA 106, 107, 112K, 112L, 120K, 120L). The program is demanding, and requires a significant time commitment on the part of the student, but the reward for that commitment is steady progress toward Advanced proficiency and beyond (based on the scale of the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages).
Students are expected to reach Intermediate Low to Mid proficiency by the end of the first year, Intermediate Mid to High by the end of the second, and Advanced proficiency by the end of the third year.
Beyond the three-year core, students may choose from a large number of upper division and graduate courses taught in Arabic that focus on an area or discipline, such as linguistics, literature, news media, cinema, history, political science, culture and thought. Since spoken Arabic is part of the regular curriculum, courses in dialects are offered at advanced levels only, and include Levantine, Egyptian, and comparative dialect classes.
In addition to these courses, the program is developing a group of "Arabic Across the Curriculum" courses that offer students the opportunity to use their Arabic skills in disciplinary study. Films, lectures, and other cultural activities supplement classroom learning.
Graduate training in Arabic stresses cultural training, linguistic proficiency, and sophisticated use of research methods and theories, preparing students to research, analyze, write, and teach in their fields of specialty. Graduate seminars conducted in Arabic are offered in the areas of language, literature, and culture. In addition, courses in history and Islamic studies offer Arabic language components that develop research skills in Arabic.