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Arab World Studies | BA

Arab World Studies BA

The BA in Arab World Studies is an interdisciplinary major that offers students the opportunity to learn about Arab societies from multiple perspectives. The strength of the program is its holistic approach to studying the Arab Middle East, which is analyzed through its politics, economy, gender relations, literature, geography, religion, and its place in a globalizing world.


Admission to the Program

Formal admission to the major requires a grade point average of 2.50 (on a 4.00 scale) in two courses related to the major.


University Requirements

  • 120 credit hours with a cumulative GPA of 2.00 or better Completion of college writing requirement Completion of university mathematics requirement


General Education Requirements

  • A total of ten courses, consisting of two courses from each of the five foundational areas
  • At least one course from Area Five: The Natural and Mathematical Sciences must include a laboratory science component
  • No more than two courses may be taken in the same discipline


Major Requirements

  • 36 credit hours with grades of C or better including a minimum of 15 credit hours at the 300-level or above
  • Demonstrate Arabic language proficiency through completion of two years of college-level study (ARAB-203) or equivalent as certified by the Department of World Languages and Cultures

Course Requirements

Foundation Courses (9 credit hours)

  • 3 credits hours in an approved introductory Arab world course
  • SOCY-225 Arab Societies FA3 (3)
  • One of the following: GOVT-110 Politics in the United States FA4 (3-4), SISU-105 World Politics FA3 (3), or SOCY-150 Global Sociology FA4 (3)

Concentration (15 credit hours)

15 credit hours through completion of one course from each of the following categories:


  • GOVT-310 Introduction to Political Research (3)
  • SISU-206 Introduction to International Studies Research (3)
  • SISU-368 Differences and Similarities in Conflict Resolution (3)
  • SOCY-320 Introduction to Social Research (3)
  • SOCY-321 Sociological Reasoning with Quantitative Data (3)
  • SOCY-322 Qualitative Research Methods (3)
  • Other methodology course approved by program advisor


  • SISU-393 International Relations Theory (3)
  • SOCY-315 Classical Social Theory (3)
  • WGSS-400 Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Theory (3)
  • Other theory course approved by program advisor


  • HIST-248 Introduction to Middle Eastern History (3)
  • SISU-215 Contemporary Middle East (3)
  • SISU-319 Arab-Israeli Relations (3)
  • SISU-365-002 Topics in Identity, Race, Gender, and Culture: Middle East: TheWorld of Islam (3)
  • Other history course approved by program advisor


  • GOVT-584 Gender and Politics in the Middle East (3)
  • SOCY-235 Gender in Transnational Perspective FA3 (3)
  • WGSS-225 Gender, Politics, and Power FA4 (3)
  • WGSS-350 Interpreting Gender in Culture (3) (approved topic)


  • ECON-458 Economics of the World Regions: The Arab Economies (3)
  • IBUS-244 International Management Practices: Gulf Cooperation Countries (3)

Electives (9 credit hours)

9 credit hours from the following or other approved courses:

  • 3 credit hours in an approved internship COMM-280 Contemporary Media in a Global Society FA3 (3) (with advisor approval)
  • RELG-470 Islam (3)
  • SISU-365 Topics in Identity, Race, Gender, and Culture: Middle East: Contemporary Islam and InternationalRelations (3)

Capstone (3 credit hours)

3 credit hours in an approved capstone project course


Arabic Language Requirement

Students must demonstrate Arabic language proficiency at the intermediate level (ARAB-203). Students with previous experience with the language may test out of one or more of the following courses (evaluation conducted in collaboration with the Arabic language program).

  • ARAB-102 Arabic Elementary I (5)
  • ARAB-103 Arabic Elementary II (5)
  • ARAB-202 Arabic Intermediate I (5)
  • ARAB-203 Arabic Intermediate II (5)


University Honors Program

To graduate with University Honors, students must be admitted to the University Honors Program, maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.50, and receive grades of B or better in all University Honors course work. There are three levels of University Honors course requirements: Level I (100-200-level); Level II (300-level and above); and Level III (Honors Capstone Project). The department Honors coordinator advises students in the University Honors Program regarding requirements for graduating with University Honors in the major.


Combined Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees

American University offers students the opportunity to earn both undergraduate and graduate degrees through its combined bachelor’s/master’s programs. For more information, contact the program director.