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Arabic Studies


أهلاً وسهلاً

Welcome to Arabic at Hunter College. Here at Hunter we teach the Arabic that is used on a daily basis by more than two hundred million people, from Morocco in the West of the Arab World to Oman in the East. Arabic can broadly be divided into local spoken dialects and fusha, "the eloquent language." The former is the spoken language of everyday life and the latter is the language of the media and academia and formal occasions. Its contemporary version is sometimes called "Modern Standard Arabic (MSA)." To as great an extent as possible we teach our students to speak spoken Arabic and to read, write, and understand MSA. The dialect that we focus on is the one spoken in Egypt, the most widely spoken and understood dialect in the Arab World. We teach both spoken Arabic and MSA via a communicative approach. In other words, instead of focusing on the translation of written texts, we teach our students how to read, speak, write and aurally comprehend the language as it is actually used by native speakers, using authentic texts whenever possible.

At Hunter we firmly believe in the bond between language and culture. Thus we always strive to expose students to the cultural side of the Arab world in our language classes, in extracurricular activities, and in culture courses offered in English. We like to consider culture a fifth skill in addition to the four mentioned above. Outside of the Arab World itself, New York is arguably the best place to be for exposure to Arab culture. We keep our students abreast of local cultural and academic events related to Arabic and the Arab World and offer them extra credit to attend them. At Hunter we hold weekly Arabic hours (Wednesdays from 1:10 to 3) where students can practice their spoken Arabic and get help with their homework.

The successful completion of 4 semesters of Arabic at Hunter or the equivalent fulfills Hunter College’s language requirement. 

Please note that the first 4 classes in the Arabic language sequence (ARB 101, 102, 201, and 202) are not open to native speakers/heritage learners of Arabic.  By native speakers/heritage learners we mean students who grew up in an Arabic speaking households.  Native speakers/heritage learners are eligible to take our two-course sequence designed specifically for them:  ARB 148 and ARB 248. The successful completion of ARB 248 fulfill's the Hunter College Language requirement. Native speakers/heritage learners who successfully complete ARB 248 are eligible to take ARB 301. 

We offer an Arabic placement/exemption exam several times a year.  For more information please see our Placement and Exemption page.

The Arabic Program at Hunter offers an Arabic Major and two Arabic Minors.

For more information on the Arabic program at Hunter please contact Professor Alex Elinson (1304 Hunter West at

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