College of Liberal Arts & Social Sciences > Academics > Modern Languages > Student Resources > Language Resources > Arabic Studies

Arabic Studies

Studying Arabic has many benefits. Arabic is a beautiful language with a rich heritage of literature, scholarly work and ancient culture. It was adopted by the United Nations as one of its six official languages in 1974. It is considered by the United States government as one of the critical languages for Americans to learn.

Within the United States, Arabic is the heritage language of 3.5 million Americans of Arab descent. Arab-Americans live in all 50 states. Illinois is home to 220,000 Arab-Americans, with 72% of them residing in Cook County. About 94% of Arab-Americans live in metropolitan areas. Chicago is one of the top five metropolitan areas with Arab-American populations in the United States.

The governments of nineteen countries and of Palestine list Arabic as their dominant language. Arabic is spoken by over 160 million people in an area extending from the Arabian Gulf to western Africa. Worldwide, more than 600 million Muslims use Arabic for religious purposes because it is the language of the Quran and Islamic traditions and literature.

The following are some of the reasons why you should consider learning Arabic: 

  • Knowing Arabic helps understand Arab media and develop insight into the cultural, religious and political forces that motivate the people of the Arab world to act the way they do.
  • Knowing Arabic facilitates and enhances travel to Arab counties and the exploration of the sites of many ancient civilizations and the birthplace of major religions.
  • Knowing Arabic provides the ability to work and interact effectively with speakers of Arabic; to learn about their interesting cultures, histories and traditions; and to enjoy their warm hospitality.
  • Knowing Arabic provides a tool to explore a very rich and exciting world of Arabic philosophy, essays, literature, poetry and calligraphy.
  • Studying Arabic can lead to exciting careers in various fields. The following are only a few of the many positions open to the Arabic speaker:  
    • Communications: foreign correspondent, reporter, translator
    • International finance: international banker, international consultant, political risk analyst
    • Industry: manager of government relations for oil companies, market analyst for export companies
    • Law: contractual and corporative consultant
    • Academia: teaching and research positions; the U.S. government currently considers Arabic a critical language and many scholarships are available for learning
    • Arabic at home and abroad
    • Government: foreign-service officer, development program officer, intelligence analyst, government relations specialist, translator or interpreter 

Many of our students are in love with Middle Eastern culture and are aware of the value of Arabic language proficiency, given the economic and political influence of many countries in the Middle East. Many of our students double major with Political Science or International Studies, while others may choose Journalism, Islamic World Studies, Geography, Peace Justice & Conflict Studies or Public Policy, to name a few.  Our students also choose Arabic Studies as their primary major and might pursue minors such as International Politics, Peace Justice and Conflict Studies, International Communication, Islamic World Studies, Hospitality Leadership or Women's & Gender Studies.

Practically anything!  One of the many benefits of a language major is the flexibility afforded to you. You can work in whatever areas you've gained experiences in while in college through part-time jobs, internships and student organizations.  If you are interested in living/working in the Middle East, review Middle Eastern companies and job postings to better understand what is available to you. Review the information listed under Employment Opportunities listed on this webpage and gain experiences relevant to the jobs/companies of interest to you.  You can learn more about employment, what to study and how to make the most of your college experience by reviewing our other webpages.

In Pursuit of Arabic

A language "studies" major allows students to complete classes in the target language and classes in English about the target language culture (religion, history, art, etc.).  This makes language studies majors a desirable double major, as students have more flexibility to select courses that best fit their needs and interests.  Students may be able to double count their learning domain requirements with the "studies" courses (also known as "allied" courses) when they pursue a language studies major as the secondary major.  In order to fit a language studies secondary major into their graduation timeline, students are recommended to complete approved allied courses that are also learning domain approved courses.  For a list of approved allied and learning domain courses, please click here. For a class scheduling template to help determine whether or not a double major or additional minor may be completed within a desired graduation timeline, please click here.

Students who are interested in pursuing a double major, but who do not have enough open electives in which to complete a double major, may wish to consider pursuing dual degrees, instead of a double major. The requirements for dual degrees are outlined online here.  A double major = one degree with two majors and one diploma. Dual degrees = two degrees with two majors and two diplomas (e.g., Bachelor of Science with a major in Health Sciences PLUS Bachelor of Arts with a major in Arabic Studies). Students should discuss any interest in pursuing dual degrees with their advisors in both programs.

Language Proficiency Development

  • Read best-seller books, newspapers, magazines, and online articles or blogs in Arabic - examples below
  • Correspond with an Arabic-speaking penpal
  • Change the language on your electronic devices to Arabic
  • Watch movies in Arabic
  • Watch Arabic youtube videos
  • Stream online television in Arabic
  • Listen to podcasts in Arabic
  • Listen to Arabic music, such as:
  • Listen to Arabic radio stations, such as: 

Employment Opportunities

  • Consider this to be a list of possibilities ~ Bi/multilingual students have the opportunity to work in a variety of settings. The key is to gain experiences relevant to your future career so that employers don't have to spend more time and money to train you.  
  • Find additional internship/job options through DePaul Handshake. Once you log in, click on jobs/internships and review the jobs/internships that have been posted.
  • Gather additional information about the types of internships that are available with the companies you're interested in, research intern applicant requirements, and gain perspective on how to search for other internships related to your career goals and interests. 
The posting of an internship or job does not mean that DePaul University is making any recommendation regarding the internship or job.  Students should understand that DePaul University does not make any representations or guarantees about the accuracy of information regarding internships and jobs included here.  Students are responsible for requesting additional information from a potential internship site or employer as necessary to make internship or employment decisions.
  • Look through a list of businesses through Arabian Business to find prospective employers.  Learn more about the businesses that most interest you, uncover what skills & experiences are necessary to gain employment with them, and begin gaining the skills and experience you need to become a desirable job candidate.
  • Siemens ~ We are proud of our diverse group of people we employ from over 60 nations in the Middle East. Every day, people working here in the Siemens Industry, Energy, Healthcare and Infrastructure & Cities sectors, as well as in the company's cross-sector and subsidiary operations, contribute to the region's economic progress. Siemens' presence in this region is growing at a rapid rate – be part of this expansion.
  • Teach Mideast ~ TeachMideast is an educational outreach initiative developed by the Middle East Policy Council. TeachMideast is a resource designed primarily to give high school and community college teachers the foundation they need to teach about critical , complex, and intriguing subjects.
  • Arab Language Institute in Fez (ALIF) ~ ALIF has an excellent reputation as one of the preeminent institutions in the Maghreb for the teaching of Arabic as a foreign language. Housed in a large, shady villa, ALIF provides an ideal setting for studying in Morocco's "intellectual capital," and for exploring the historic medina of Fez, one of the world's few remaining medieval cities.
  • American Cultural Association ~ The American Cultural Association (ACA) is the not-for-profit, bi-national parent organization of the American Language Centers (ALC) in Morocco, which teach English as a foreign language. Teachers at the American Language Centers enjoy a friendly, supportive working environment that helps them to facilitate their language classes effectively. They are part of the broader family of ALC’s which employ several hundred teachers and support staff throughout the Association. Centers are largely autonomously managed by the Center Directors who bring their own management style to each center.
  • American University in Dubai ~ The American University in Dubai is a private, non-sectarian institution of higher learning founded in 1995. AUD’s enrollment in 2012-2013 averaged 2,600 students. In Spring 2013, one hundred nationalities were represented in the AUD student body.
  • Youth for Understanding (YFU) ~ Looking for a career unlike any you’ve had before? YFU seeks passionate individuals who are up for an enriching challenge: Working with students, families and volunteers to advance intercultural understanding, mutual respect and social responsibility through educational exchanges.
  • Work for the U.S. government abroad by visiting sites such as:
  • Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan ~ The Embassy of Pakistan, Washington, DC offers internship positions for undergraduates and graduate students enrolled in United States Colleges and Universities as well as for fresh out of school graduates still exploring career options.
  • Embassy of Jordan ~ The Embassy of Jordan welcomes interns on an unpaid basis for a minimum of 20 hours per week for Full Time and a minimum of 10 hours per week for Part Time positions. Interns provide administrative and research support for the Embassy. Applicants are required to send a cover letter addressed to Jordan Information Bureau and a resume. Positions are open to current undergraduates as well as recent graduates holding a B.A. in the following fields of study:
    • Political Science/International Relations
    • Business Studies
    • Middle East Studies
    • History
    • Religion
    • Communications/Media Studies/Journalism
  • Amnesty International ~ If you are talented and passionate about human rights then Amnesty International wants to hear from you. By working for Amnesty International you will have a chance to make a difference and to help us make more of an impact. 
  • World Chicago ~ WorldChicago facilitates professional and personal interactions for international leaders during official visits to Chicago through U.S. Department of State sponsored exchange programs; enhances respect and communication through international exchanges and alliances; and promotes the City of Chicago and the State of Illinois as important centers of business and culture.
  • bayt
  • Gulf Talent
  • Going Global ~ provides country-specific career and employment information. Search for jobs and internships in more than 30 countries and over 50 USA metropolitan areas. View country career guides, get news on H-1B Visa employers and more.

Financial Support

  • Fulbright, Boren, Marshall, Rhodes, Carnegie, Truman information for DePaul students can be found on the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences' Scholarship site
  • Thomas R. Pickering Foreign Affairs Fellowship Program ~ Funded by the U.S. Department of State and administered by The Washington Center for Internships and Academic Seminars, the Thomas R. Pickering Fellowship Program provides undergraduate and graduate students with financial support, mentoring and professional development to prepare them academically and professionally for a career in the U.S. Department of State Foreign Service. Women, members of minority groups historically underrepresented in the Foreign Service, and students with financial need are encouraged to apply.
  • USAID Donal M. Payne International Development Graduate Fellowship Program ~ Seeks to attract outstanding young people who are interested in pursuing careers in the Foreign Service of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). If you want to work on the front lines of some of the most pressing global challenges of our times — poverty, hunger, injustice, disease, environmental degradation, climate change, conflict and violent extremism – the Foreign Service of the U.S. Agency for International Development provides an opportunity to advance U.S. foreign policy interests and reflect the American people's compassion and support of human dignity. The Payne Fellowship, which provides up to $93,000 in benefits over two years for graduate school, internships, and professional development activities, provides a unique pathway to the USAID Foreign Service.
  • Students may review and apply for scholarships available to DePaul students through the Academic Works scholarship application site.
  • Critical Language Scholarship Program ~ The Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) Program is a fully-funded overseas language and cultural immersion program for American undergraduate and graduate students. With the goal of broadening the base of Americans studying and mastering critical languages and building relationships between the people of the United States and other countries, CLS provides study opportunities to a diverse range of students from across the United States at every level of language learning.
  • Qasid Annual Scholarship Program ~Qasid believes in providing scholarship opportunities for deserving students in recognition of their achievement and as an incentive for all those studying the Arabic language to excel. This investment in language education also serves to advance the field of Arabic language studies while enriching the campus atmosphere with diversity, talent, and academic excellence.
  • Arab American Institute ~ The Arab American Institute (AAI) is a nonprofit organization committed to the civic and political empowerment of Americans of Arab descent. AAI represents the policy and community interests of Arab Americans throughout the U.S. through two primary focus areas: campaigns and elections, and policy formulation and research.
  • Sultan Qaboos Cultural Center ~ The Sultan Qaboos Cultural Center (SQCC) is dedicated to educating the peoples of the United States and Oman about the breadth and richness of our two cultures. SQCC promotes mutual respect and understanding between our nations and strives to educate a new generation of culturally sensitive and knowledgeable citizens in each society. Through outreach programs, scholarships, lectures, educational resources, cultural partnerships, and our Cultural Center in Washington, DC, SQCC brings the culture, history, and heritage of our nations to audiences in the US and abroad.
  • College
  • AMIDEAST ~ At AMIDEAST Education Abroad Programs in the Arab World, we are committed to providing financial assistance to students participating on our programs in the Middle East and North Africa. AMIDEAST currently awards two types of scholarships: AMIDEAST Education Abroad Need-Based Scholarships & AMIDEAST Blog Abroad Scholarships.
  • Gates Cambridge ~ You can apply for a Gates Cambridge Scholarship if you are: a citizen of any country outside the United Kingdom, applying to pursue one of the following full-time residential courses of study at the University of Cambridge: PhD (three year research-only degree), MSc or MLitt (two year research-only degree), One year postgraduate course (e.g. MPhil, LLM, MASt, Diploma, MBA etc.)
  • Government of Dubai ~ list of scholarships and part-time employment opportunities
  • International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) ~ The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) is an intergovernmental organisation that supports countries in their transition to a sustainable energy future, and serves as the principal platform for international cooperation, a centre of excellence, and a repository of policy, technology, resource and financial knowledge on renewable energy. IRENA promotes the widespread adoption and sustainable use of all forms of renewable energy, including bioenergy, geothermal, hydropower, ocean, solar and wind energy in the pursuit of sustainable development, energy access, energy security and low-carbon economic growth and prosperity.
  • American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) ~ List of scholarships by languages

Study Abroad

For information about how to apply study abroad credit toward degree progress, please visit our FAQ webpage under Academic Advising.
  • FY@Jordan ~ This program is only open to first year students and may not be offered every year. Students complete their focal point, LSP 112, requirement through this study abroad program and visit Jordan over spring break.
  • Jordan ~ Fall quarter program, ARB 103 prerequisite. Students complete 3 ARB language courses, 1 Arabic Studies course and an internship course. Upon return, students enroll in the winter quarter course available per their previous sequence. e.g., Completed ARB 103 spring, pre-departure, missed ARB 104 fall quarter while in Jordan = would enroll in ARB 105 winter quarter.
The posting of non-DePaul study abroad opportunities does not mean that DePaul University is making any recommendation regarding the program. Students should understand that DePaul does not make any representations or guarantees about the accuracy of information regarding study abroad programs contained on third-party sites unaffiliated with DePaul. Students are responsible for requesting additional information as necessary in order to make study abroad decisions.
  • Qatar University ~ In 1987, the College of Humanities - Department of Arabic Language established the Arabic for Non-Native Speakers Program, a year-long intensive Arabic-language course for foreign students organized and managed by a committee of specialized academic staff.  The Arabic for Non-Native Speakers Program lasts one academic year, which comprises two semesters. The program aims to teach Arabic and to introduce students to Arab and Islamic history and literature, and Qatari culture. After completing the program requirements, we hope tat our students return home with open hearts, having aquired new language skills as well as a wealth of experience and memories of Qatari hospitality which they will treasure.
  • Prospects ~ a company based in England.  We provide careers advice and job and course opportunities to students and graduates. Providing a range of advice and services, our aim is to help students and graduates to make informed choices about their career options. This link provides information about studying in the United Arab Emeriates.
  • AMIDEAST, Jordan 
  • Information about studying in Jordan, from the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, Ministry of Higher Education & Scientific Research
  • Center for Arabic Study Abroad (CASA) ~ Established in 1967 to offer advanced Arabic language training at the American University in Cairo, Egypt