Members of staff who teach Arabic at St Andrews have expertise in a wide range of subjects related to the Arab world, including:

  • Classical (mediaeval) and modern Arabic literature
  • Arab history and culture
  • Islamic studies.

Arabic has been taught at St Andrews for several centuries, and the Department of Arabic and Persian was ranked 1st in the UK by the 2020 Complete University Guide

There are currently seven members of staff in Arabic who, with a small student-staff ratio, excel in student-focused teaching and specialised research interests. Members of staff have well-established links throughout the University, but particularly with:

  • Middle East Studies programme (School of History)
  • Centre for the Study of Terrorism and Political Violence (School of International Relations)
  • Institute of Middle East, Central Asia and Caucasus Studies (School of International Relations).

The Department of Arabic and Persian currently offers a study abroad programme with Qalam wa Lawh in Rabat, Morocco, Qatar University in Doha, and the Qasid Institute in Amman, Jordan.

Why study Arabic?

Modern Standard Arabic is the official language of the 22 members of the Arab League and one of the six official languages of the UN. It is the strongest link uniting countries as diverse as Iraq and Morocco. As the Arab world continues to go through radical change, understanding this language is increasingly important in modern politics and international relations.

It is also the language of thriving literatures, from pre-Islamic poetry to the contemporary novel. It is the language of Islam, and millions of Muslims around the world believe the holy Qur'an was revealed in Arabic to humankind by Muhammad. Therefore, knowledge of the Arabic language is key to understanding diverse cultures and histories dating back centuries.