Major & Certificate


Middle Eastern Studies is a vibrant and growing discipline in the United States and around the world. Students wishing to enter this rich and varied discipline can begin with a major in Arabic Studies at Williams. The major is designed to give students a foundation in the Arabic language and to provide the opportunity for the interdisciplinary and multi–disciplinary study of the Arab, Islamic, and Middle Eastern arenas.

The major in Arabic Studies entails completion of nine courses, including these basic four courses: ARAB 101 and 102 Elementary Arabic, ARAB 201 Intermediate Arabic I, and ARAB 202 Intermediate Arabic II. The language sequence must be complemented with five courses in Arabic and Middle Eastern Studies offered in affiliated departments. At least two of these courses should be from the areas of language and the arts (DIV I) and at least two from politics, religion, economics, and history (DIV II). Finally, at least two of these courses must be at an advanced level (300 or 400 level). For the full listing please see the current catalog.
The Certificate in Arabic demonstrates that a student has acquired a working foundation in the language.  The sequence of eight language and culture courses is designed to supplement a student’s major at Williams by enabling the student to expand his or her knowledge in a related field.

Required Courses

  • ARAB 101
  • ARAB 102
  • ARAB 201
  • ARAB 202
  • ARAB 301
  • ARAB 302


  • at least one course in Arabic literature, arts, or culture
  • at least one course in Arabic history, religion, politics, or economics

Students must earn a cumulative grade average of B or higher in the sequence of eight courses.  In addition, they must receive a score of at least 85% on a language proficiency test administered by the Arabic faculty.  The test is administered once a year during the month of April to all students who wish to obtain the Certificate. Those interested should express their intent to the Arabic faculty by March 1st or earlier.

Students who enter Williams with previous training in Arabic may be exempted from up to three of the required eight courses.  Thus, in order to earn a certificate, a student must take no fewer than five courses (including three language courses) after enrolling at Williams.