Arabic and Syriac

Undergraduate Students

Graduate Students

Undergraduates may pursue a primary major in Arabic or a minor in Middle Eastern Studies.

The Program in Arabic and Middle Eastern Studies offers instruction in the Arabic language and a full selection of courses in the history and culture of the Middle East. Competence in the Arabic language is the primary focus of the major. A full range of courses in Arabic literature, history, civilization, culture and religion provides a balanced and integrated approach to the field.

In addition to course work, these programs encourage students to participate in activities related to the study of the Middle East such as art exhibitions, concerts, film festivals, lecture series and study abroad.

Graduates with majors in Arabic are in great demand in every sector of American society. Notre Dame majors have been accepted into the leading graduate programs in the nation, and have pursued successful careers in such fields as government, business, journalism, and education.

For more information please contact:

The Director of Arabic and Middle Eastern Studies
Professor Li Guo

The Director of Undergraduate Studies
Professor Ghada Bualuan

Arabic Major

The Arabic major offers six semesters of language instruction with emphasis on proficiency in the four critical areas of language acquisition: speaking, reading, listening, and writing. A complement of classes in Middle Eastern history, religion and society (MELC classes) brings the total number of requisite credit hours to 36.  

Proficiency in Arabic is achieved through a comprehensive and integrated approach to attaining high-intermediate fluency in the areas listed above. Continuous and sustained interaction with a faculty of trained professionals, over the course of study, ensures that each student attains a highest degree of competence in the language.

6 courses in Arabic language (24)
1 course in Arabic literature taught by the Arabic faculty (3)
1 course in Middle Eastern history taught by the Arabic faculty (3)
1 course in Islamic Studies taught by the Arabic faculty (3)
1 elective, subject to departmental approval (3)

Minor in Middle Eastern Studies

The Minor in Middle Eastern Studies can be pursued by any undergraduate at the University, regardless of primary major or college. Successful completion of the program will be indicated by a certificate attached to the student’s diploma and academic transcript.

Completion of Intermediate Arabic (MEAR 20003) (3)
Three courses related to Southern Europe, North Africa, or the Middle East (9)
Research Thesis in consultation with the Arabic Faculty (3)

Syriac for Graduate Students

Syriac is a late form of Aramaic that became the vehicle for the development and spread of Christianity throughout western Asia. Syriac represents the phenomenon of a unique, Semitic expression of Christianity largely untouched by Hellenism in its formative stages.

Syriac, which was introduced into the curriculum of Notre Dame in 1992, is a component, with Greek and Latin, in the Program of Early Christian Studies. Courses in Syriac language and literature are offered every other year as part of the regular sequence of courses in the fall and spring semesters. The full rotation of courses in Syriac begins in the fall semester 2013.




Andrew Shearn

Classicist and Future Doctor

I love Classics not only because it is an interesting subject to study, but also because the influence is timeless and evident everywhere still today.
Read More



Philip Allen

Classicist and Future Doctor

I am a Biology and Classics double major and have been studying Latin since middle school. I will be matriculating to medical school in the Fall of 2016. Classics is a huge part of my life, and I highly suggest studying it. Read More



Kristina Techar

Science Pre-Professional and Classics Major

"I love classics because it is such a versatile subject and I have found a surprisingly large number of similarities between my science and classics studies." Read More



Ann Gallagher

Classics, PLS Double Major and World Traveler

Ann Gallagher is a junior Classics and PLS double major who has had some amazing experiences abroad Read More



Glynn Scholar Awarded Fulbright for Summer Archaeology Program

Livvie May, Classics and English Major

Notre Dame sophomore Olivia May has been interested in classical cultures for a long time. This summer, she was able to experience one in a new way—by physically sifting through its remains. Read More



Tom Hite

Senior Classics Major

Tom spent eight months in Europe on three different ventures all funded and accessed through the University of Notre Dame and the Department of Classics. Find out how you can too! Read More



Samantha Burr

Senior Classics Major

Sami is a double major in Classics and theology who is interested in the intricacies Greek and Latin theologians found  to describe the mysteries of theology. Read More


Ally Kwun

Ally Kwun

Greek and Roman Civ Alumna

Winner of an Helen Hritzu and Jewell Erickson Award for Excellence in Classical Studies Read More



Brian Credo

Classics Alumnus

This year's winner of The Robert D. Nuner Award went to Brian Credo.  Read More



Tori Roeck

Classics Alumna

From Epic Literature to Epic Travels, Tori has had a legendary experience majoring in Classics Read More



Michael Kipp


Studying Classics, like traveling abroad, lends new perspective to the way you view your native culture. As a Classics major at Notre Dame, I’ve had the privilege of participating in both of those enlightening endeavors. Read More



Arabic Culture Night 2012

A Night of Singing, Dancing, and Enjoying all things Arabic

Check out the video for this Arabic Culture Night 2012! Read More



Senior Theses

Congratulations to the Classics and Arabic Senior Theses Writers

Check out this year's Classics and Arabic Theses. Topics ranged from Tertullian, Buddhism, Football and everything in between. Read More



Nancy Joyce

Vice- President of the Student Body and Arabic Club

Nancy has been elected the vice-president of the student body. She will also serve as vice-president for the Arabic club and student editor-in-chief for Bil'arabi Read More



Classics Majors Find Their Future in the Past

How to Succeed

Ever gotten quizzical looks when you tell people you're a Classics major? Or have people caution you that you won't find a job? Katharine Brooks' recent article reveals the extreme benefits Classics majors receive in future endeavors, whether those be graduate, medical, legal or business school. Majoring in Classics may just be the best kept secret to success. Read More



Tracy Jennings


I did not come to Notre Dame intending to major in Classics, yet the decision to do so was one of the most formative choices in my life.  The opportunities provided by this department are outstanding. Read More



Michael Wagner


Studying in city of Classical importance – such as Rome, Athens, or Cairo – is absolutely essential for a Classics major at Notre Dame or any other university. It brings the history to life and it is essential to gaining a full appreciation for Classical Studies. As a student and as a person, it’s the best decision I’ve ever made. Read More



Ghada Bualuan

Associate Teaching Professor

Assistant Teaching Professor and Director of Undergraduate Studies in the Department of Classics and Program of Arabic Languages and Literature, Professor Bualuan is interested in Read More



Michael Mercurio


Congratulations to Michael for being selected as The Center for the Study of Languages and Cultures November Spotlight! Read More



Mary Claire O'Donnell


I truly believe that my study of ancient cultures enhances my understanding of modern culture.  My study of Classics here allows me to view the world in a new, more fulfilling way. Read More