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Georgetown University, Arabic and Islamic Study

Welcome to the Department of Arabic & Islamic Studies!

A Letter from our Department Chair

It is my pleasure to provide you with more information on Georgetown’s Arabic and Islamic Studies program.  We work closely with undergraduates to create understanding of the Arab world through the highest-quality teaching of Arabic language and culture. A particular goal of this department at the undergraduate level is to help learners reach advanced levels of communicative competence (proficiency) in both spoken and written Arabic. Moreover, in accordance with Georgetown's Jesuit ethos, we stress knowledge of Arabic as a path to living altruistically and creatively in a globally-integrated world.

In addition to our well-known Masters degree and Ph.D. programs in Arabic Literature & Linguistics, we have recently established a Ph.D. program in Islamic Studies. The Islamic Studies Ph.D. program at Georgetown seeks to advance knowledge and understanding of classical and modern Islamic religious thought and Islamic textual traditions, and to provide understanding of Islamic culture and intellectual history in the pre-modern and modern periods. The program offers undergraduate and graduate training in the study of the history, religion, culture, society, languages, literatures, and thought of the Islamic world, and introduces students to the traditional and modern scholarly approaches to the study of Islam.

The Islamic Studies Ph.D. program at Georgetown combines all the disciplines that traditionally informed the study of Islam in the US: philology, Biblical studies, history, religious studies, and area studies. Moreover, the program complements the world-renowned strength of Georgetown faculty in modern Islamic studies by providing solid grounding in the study of Islam in the classical period. The existing strength of the Arabic program at Georgetown, as well as the superb quality and professional standing of the Georgetown faculty with expertise in the study of Islam, makes Georgetown an ideal place for pursuing a doctoral degree in Islamic Studies.

The need for area studies specialists with advanced proficiency in Arabic has never been greater or more compelling.  There is a need to develop a determined and vigorous long-term strategy to create and maintain linguistic and cultural expertise among Americans to build a better understanding of the Arab world, its society, its religion, and its culture. Arabic is the native language of over 200 million people in 20 different countries as well as the liturgical language for over a billion Muslims.  It is a member of the Semitic language family and has a long and distinguished literary and intellectual tradition.  It is now a key factor in understanding and negotiating crucial contemporary global issues. Let me give you some highlights of our program:

We have the largest Arabic enrollment of any university in the U.S.; our department grants the most Ph.D.’s in Arabic in the United States;

We have an active study abroad program with sites in Egypt, Morocco, and other Arab countries;

We offer an accelerated Master’s degree program for qualified undergraduate students;

Georgetown is the home to the Center for Contemporary Arab Studies (CCAS) and the Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding (CMCU), research centers that offer degree programs, lectures, and coursework on a wide range of topics concerning the Arab world.  Undergraduate Arabic majors can obtain a “certificate” in Arab Studies as their minor;

Our faculty are top-notch, engaged in active research projects on Arabic dialects, Islamic studies, Arabic linguistics, and Arabic literature;

Arabic majors may qualify for a special financial aid opportunity; the Sultan Qaboos bin Said Scholarship, endowed by His Majesty Sultan Qaboos, of Oman;

The Washington area offers opportunities for activities involving Arab embassies and other Arab and Middle Eastern organizations. Our students often arrange internships with government agencies or non-profit organizations that focus on the Arab world and the Middle East.

Despite our rapid growth in the past few years, we remain a department that is student-centered, and as an Arabic and Islamic Studies major you will have an adviser who will guide you through your studies. You can reach our department by phoning 202-687-5743 or contacting our administrator at arabic@georgetown.edu


Ahmad Dallal

Chair, Department of Arabic and Islamic Studies


3700O Street NW, ICC 306 F

P.O. Box 571046

Washington, DC 20057-1046


202-687-2408 (fax)



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