University of California, Berkeley

About the Program


The Arabic minor introduces students to the language, peoples, cultures, and histories of the Arabic-speaking world. The minor develops the student's command of reading, writing, speaking, and comprehension in the Arabic language and may complement the student's intended major study. 

Students wishing to major in Arabic should see the major requirements in the Middle Eastern Languages and Cultures major. 

Students minoring in Arabic must satisfy the lower division prerequisite requirements. Students may also take a language proficiency exam to waive the elementary and intermediate language courses. Please meet with the undergraduate major advisor to discuss course options or plan for study abroad. 

Declaring the Minor

Students may declare the Arabic minor as soon as they begin their study at UC Berkeley. Please find the minor declaration form in the Middle Eastern Languages and Cultures Department or email the undergraduate major advisor. Students must declare the minor no later than the semester before their Expected Graduation Term (EGT). Please see the L&S minor guidelines for more information. 

Other Majors and Minors offered by the Middle Eastern Languages and Cultures (MELC) Department

Middle Eastern Languages and Cultures (Major and Minor)
Arabic (Minor)
Hebrew (Minor)
Persian (Minor)
Turkish (Minor)


Visit Department Website

Minor Requirements

The Arabic minor program requires five upper-division courses in Arabic literature and culture or history. 

General Guidelines

  1. All minors must be declared before the first day of classes in your Expected Graduation Term (EGT). For summer graduates, minors must be declared prior to the first day of Summer Session A. 

  2. All upper-division courses must be taken for a letter grade. 

  3. A minimum of three of the upper-division courses taken to fulfill the minor requirements must be completed at UC Berkeley.

  4. A minimum grade point average (GPA) of 2.0 is required in the upper-division courses to fulfill the minor requirements.

  5. Courses used to fulfill the minor requirements may be applied toward the Seven-Course Breadth requirement, for Letters & Science students.

  6. No more than one upper division course may be used to simultaneously fulfill requirements for a student's major and minor programs.

  7. All minor requirements must be completed prior to the last day of finals during the semester in which the student plans to graduate. If students cannot finish all courses required for the minor by that time, they should see a College of Letters & Science adviser.

  8. All minor requirements must be completed within the unit ceiling. (For further information regarding the unit ceiling, please see the College Requirements tab.)

Minor Requirements

Lower Division Requirements20
Elementary Arabic [5]
Elementary Arabic [5]
Intermediate Arabic [5]
Intermediate Arabic [5]
Upper-Division Requirements (5 Courses)15-20
Arabic Language and Literature
Advanced Arabic [3]
Select two Arabic literature courses
Advanced Arabic [3]
Media Arabic [4]
Modern Arabic Prose [3]
Classical Arabic Prose [3]
Modern Arabic Poetry [3]
Classical Arabic Poetry [3]
Arabic Historical and Geographical Texts [3]
Islamic Religious and Philosophical Texts in Arabic [3]
Survey of Arabic Literature (in Arabic) [3]
Survey of Arabic Literature (in Arabic) [3]
**Only one colloquial course can be used to satisfy this requirement
Colloquial Arabic [4]
Colloquial Arabic [4]
Arabic Culture and History
Select two courses in Arabic culture/history 2
Writing Systems of the World [4]
Explorers, Archaeologists, and Tourists in the Middle East [4]
Topics in Islamic Art [4]
Art and Archaeology of Middle Eastern Christianity [4]
Silk Road Art and Archaeology [3]
Arts of Iran and Central Asia [4]
Topics in Islamic Thought and Institutions [3]
Modern and Contemporary Islamic Thought [3]
Shi'ite Islam [3]
Sufism: The Mysticism of Islam [3]
Women in Islam [4]
Islam [4]
The Rise of Islamic Civilization [4]
Emergence of the Modern Middle East [4]
The Modern Middle East from WWI to the Present [4]
Arabic Literature in Translation [3]
Arabic Literature in Translation [3]
Middle Eastern Women Writers [4]
Cultural Encounters in Modern Arabic Literature [3]
Synagogues, Cathedrals, and Mosques: The Rise and Fall of Islamic Spain [4]
Narratives of Identity in Israeli and Palestinian Fiction [4]
The Thousand and One Nights in World Literary Imagination [3]
Sociolinguistics of the Middle East [4]
Reel Arabs: Film and Fiction in the Middle East [4]
Middle East: Post-Colonialism, Migration, and Diaspora [4]
Middle East, Empire, and Orientalism [4]
Religions of Ancient Iran [3]
Topics in Persian Art and Culture [4]
Film and Fiction of Iran [4]
Islamic History and Historiography (600-1050) [3]
Topics in the History of Central Asia and the Turks [3]
Law and Society in the Early Modern Middle East [3]
History and Culture of Afghanistan [3]
The Quran and Its Interpretation [4]
The Assyrians and Other Religious Groups in the Middle East [4]
Magic, Religion, and Science: The Ancient and Medieval Worlds [4]
Special Topics in Fields of Middle Eastern Languages and Cultures: Islamic Studies [4]
Special Topics in Fields of Middle Eastern Languages and Cultures: Arabic [4]
Undergrad Seminar: Problems and Research in Middle Eastern Studies: Ancient Middle Eastern Studies [2,4]
Undergrad Seminar: Problems and Research in Middle Eastern Studies: Arabic [2,4]
Middle Eastern Archaeological Field School [6]
Directed Group Study for Upper Division Students [1-4]
Supervised Independent Study and Research [1-4]
Total Units35-40

Texts must be in Arabic. 


Students may select courses from other departments to satisfy the Arabic history and culture requirements. All courses must be approved by the faculty major adviser.



Contact Information

Middle Eastern Languages and Cultures

250 Social Sciences Building

Phone: 510-642-3757

Fax: 510-643-8430

Visit Department Website

Department Chair

Christine Philliou

Undergraduate Student Advisor

Rania Shah, MA

250 Social Sciences Building

Phone: 510-642-3758

Back to Top