Michigan State University
Michigan State University
Department of Linguistics & Germanic, Slavic, Asian and African Languages
Home > Degree Programs > Arabic


An official language of the United Nations, an estimated 300 million people are native speakers Arabic. Moreover, because it the language of the Quran, approximately one billion Muslims around the world use Arabic in some religious capacity. In other words, Arabic performs two functions: communicative and religious. Many Americans today are interested in learning Arabic, as it opens up opportunities for work in 22 countries (the members of the Arab League). But, most importantly, young Americans learn Arabic (among other languages) because language is the key to any cultural exchange and understanding. Lastly, Arabic is a language of a civilization. Historically speaking, Arabic is one of a few languages that spread as a medium of intellectual thought, as well as a lingua franca.

Please go to the Course Descriptions page for a list of courses, course descriptions and prerequisites, and go to Schedule of Courses for course scheduling information for each semester, including class times and locations.

We offer a major and minor in Arabic. Learn more about degree requirements.

On behalf of the Arabic Program at MSU, we would like to congratulate Margaret Born, an Honors College senior majoring in comparative cultures and politics in James Madison College, and Arabic in the College of Arts and Letters, one being one of the two MSU recipients' of the prestigious Mitchell Scholarship. Born who grew up in Mozambique commented on her interest in Arabic and her experience at MSU. She stated: "The influence of the Arab world is still so strong in Mozambique, where I grew up. I was inspired to learn the language because it was objectively beautiful, because it connected me to a deeper history within my home country, and because I wanted very much to explore North Africa in my career. In addition, Arabic has given me a completely different perspective on my existence. That may sound dramatic, but the language lends itself to a perspective of constant gratitude. I find myself slipping in an 'alhamdulillah' to express my good fortune at eating well or seeing the sunshine. When I was most nervous about the results of my final Mitchell interview, I whispered 'inshallah' to my mother because it captured all of my nervous optimism, my total lack of control, and the knowledge that things will work out in the end either way. When I got the good news, my friends inundated me with wishes for 'elf elf mabruuk!'--they heaped upon my shoulders a thousand thousand blessings and happy wishes. Studying Arabic has connected me to a greater appreciation for the small things, an ease in expressing my love and support for those around me, and a profound gratitude for the many ways in which I have been impossibly fortunate."

Born will be receiving a Master's degree in International Development, Environment, and Conflict. She hopes to return to the African continent and work in the predominantly overpopulated and underserved refugee camps.

She commented: "As the world's countries move farther towards exclusion and insulation, it's critical that we ensure that life on the ground is as conducive to health, happiness, and growth as it can possibly be after conflict and trauma."