Arabic and Syriac

Undergraduate Students

Graduate Students

Undergraduates may pursue a primary major in Arabic or a minor in Mediterranean and Middle East Studies.

The Program in Arabic and Middle East 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:

Director of Arabic & Middle East Studies
Professor Li Guo

The Director of Undergraduate Studies
Professor Ghada Bualuan

Primary Major in Arabic

The goal of proficiency in Arabic is achieved through a comprehensive and integrated approach to basic skills in speaking, reading, and writing. Personal interaction with a staff of trained professionals insures every student attains the highest degree of competence in the language.

Requirements for the Major:

The major in Arabic offers 6 semesters of language instruction with emphasis on proficiency in speaking, reading, and writing. A complement of courses in Middle East history, religion, and society (36 credit hours).

Courses Credits
6 courses in Arabic language (24)
1 course in literature taught by the Arabic faculty (3)
1 course in Middle East history taught by the Arabic faculty (3)
1 course in Islam taught by the Arabic faculty (3)
1 elective, subject to departmental approval (3)

Download the Arabic Studies brochure for a list of courses available to fulfill these requirements.

Minor in Mediterranean/Middle East Studies

The Minor in Mediterranean/Middle East 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.

Requirements for the Minor:

1. Completion of Intermediate Arabic (MEAR 20003)

2. The student’s choice of 3 courses that relate to the region of southern Europe, North Africa, or the Middle East

3. A final research thesis that integrates course work related to the student’s area of interest.

For a listing of some of the eligible courses, download our Middle East Studies brochure. Be sure to consult with Professors Bualuan or Guo before embarking on your studies of this historic area that witnessed the birth and growth of civilization.

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.



Ally Kwun

Ally Kwun

Arabic Studies major

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



Jacob Kildoo

Arabic Studies major

Winner of an Hritzu-Erikson award for Excellence in Arabic Studies.  Jacob will be pursuing an MA in Arabic at the University of Michigan in the Fall. Read More



Brian Credo

Classics Major

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


Monica McEvoy

Monica McEvoy

Arabic Studies major

Winner of a Helen Hritzu and Jewell Erickson Award for Excellence in Arabic studies. Read More



Nora Sullivan

Arabic Studies student

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



Ethan Beaudoin

Ethan is a fourth year Arabic student, Arabic tutor in the CSLC, and president of the Notre Dame Arabic Club.  He studied at the American University of Beirut, spent one semester in Jordan, and has recently returned from an intensive Arabic program in Oman.  Read more about Ethan. Read More


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Classics Major finds the Perfect Beat for Success at Notre Dame

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Tori Roeck

Classics Alumna

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Michael Kipp

Classics Major

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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

Assistant 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