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 no later than one semester before a student's Expected Graduation Term (EGT). If the semester before EGT is fall or spring, the deadline is the last day of RRR week. If the semester before EGT is summer, the deadline is the final Friday of Summer Sessions. To declare a minor, contact the department advisor for information on requirements, and the declaration process.
  2. All courses taken to satisfy the minor requirement must be taken for a letter grade and be at least 3 units.

  3. A minimum grade point average (GPA) of 2.0 must be maintained in order to declare and complete the minor. 

  4. No more than one upper-division course may be used to simultaneously fulfill requirements for a student's major and minor program.
  5. With the prior consent of the faculty major adviser, students may take courses across various disciplines to satisfy the Arabic culture and history requirement. 

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
Explorers, Archaeologists, and Tourists in the Middle East [4]
Topics in Islamic Art [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]
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]
Wonder and the Fantastic: 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]
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

Department of Near Eastern Studies

250 Social Sciences Building

Phone: 510-642-3757

Fax: 510-643-8430

Visit Department Website

Department Chair

Wali Ahmadi

284 Social Sciences Building

Phone: 510-642-3757

Undergraduate Student Advisor

Rania Shah, MA

250 Social Sciences Building

Phone: 510-642-3758

Back to Top