American University of Beirut

Department of Arabic and Near Eastern Languages

Chairperson: Khansa, Enass
Professors:Baalbaki, Ramzi M. (Margaret Weyerhaeuser Jewett Professor of Arabic); Jarrar, Maher Z.; Orfali, Bilal W.; (Sheikh Zayed Chair for Arabic & Islamic Studies)
Assistant Professors:AbdelMegeed, ​​Maha; Khansa, Enass
Senior Lecturers:Bazzi, Tarif; Fakhreddine, Jawdat

Atiyyah, Najah; El Daif, Rachid; Korangy, Alireza;

Moukaled, Sina

Instructors:Abboud, Hosn;El Mallah, Jihad; Malti, Samir; Semaan, Rima; Sultany, Kanawaty Rima; Zein, Raghida M.​

The Department of Arabic and Near Eastern Languages offers graduate programs leading to the MA and PhD degrees. The requirements for both degrees are listed below.

For admission and graduation requirements, refer to the faculty and department web​ pages.

MA in Arabic Language and Literature

​Students registered in the master’s program in the Department of Arabic and Near Eastern Languages are required to take a minimum of 21 graduate credit hours and present a thesis based on independent research.

Doctor of Philosophy in Arabic Language and Literature

The Department of Arabic and Near Eastern Languages is steeped in the Arabic philological and literary tradition. Its faculty is also experienced in the use of contemporary western methods of teaching and approaches to language and literature. For this reason, the department is well-positioned to train future leaders in the field.

Academic governance of the department complies with the practices and procedures currently applied by the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. The department seeks to augment its faculty as needed, mainly through exchange and visiting programs as well as through highly selective and rigorously defined recruitment.

Goals and Objectives of the Doctoral Program

The program’s objective is to train students to become technically competent in their preferred field of specialization and play a principal role in enhancing education in the region.

PhD candidates will acquire:

  • critical, interpretive and analytical skills,
  • benchmark methodologies leading to the conduct of advanced research,
  • and deeper, more sophisticated and more nuanced understanding of Arabic language and literature.


The offerings of the department fall within three broadly defined fields:

  • Arabic language and related fields (phonetics, morphology, syntax, history of grammar, lexicology, stylistics, etc.)
  • classical and pre-modern Arabic literature and thought (including poetry, prose, belles lettres and other forms of literary expression)
  • modern Arabic literature and thought (including poetry, prose, literary theory, etc.)


Admission requirements are in line with those set by the Faculty of Arts and Sciences and may be found in the section entitled Admission to PhD Programs under Admissions. The department necessitates the following three requirements:

  • a master’s degree in Arabic from a recognized university, or an equivalent considered acceptable by the department, plus three recommendation letters and an interview (when considered necessary by the department). Students of exceptional promise may be admitted after finishing their BA.
  • proven unimpaired Arabic.
  • English proficiency. For the required level of proficiency, see the section entitled English Language Proficiency Requirement under Admissions.

Financial Support

The department offers, on a selective basis, substantial support which fully covers tuition and includes a monthly stipend. In return, PhD students are expected to teach courses and perform other tasks assigned by the department. Students may also apply for support to carry out research in archives and libraries outside Lebanon and to attend international scholarly conferences.

Requirements for the Completion of the PhD

  • ​Credits: A minimum of 18 credits is required beyond the MA. These are comprised of six graduate courses (including a 3-credit tutorial) in the following required and optional fields.
  • Required fields:

    • ​Arabic language and linguistics
    • Classical Arabic literature
    • Modern Arabic literature
  • Optional fields:
    • Arab cultural history (Qur’an, Hadith, kalam, tasawwuf, heresiography, etc.)
      Literary theory (comparative: Arab/Western)

In addition, the following is required: a 3-credit tutorial to be conducted by the candidate’s advisor, leading to the production of the candidate’s doctoral proposal.

  • The distribution of the above requirements over the said fields will be decided by the department in each case on its own merit.
  • Language Requirements: A working reading knowledge of a second European language, preferably French or German, must be shown before candidacy status is achieved.
  • Residence Requirements: See Residence Requirements under General University Academic Information.
  • PhD Publication Requirements: See PhD Publication Requirements under General University Academic Information.
  • Supervision: During the first term of graduate study, the department will appoint an academic committee to draw up a program of study for the student and to follow up on her/his progress. At a later stage, the department, in consultation with the student, will assign the student an academic advisor.
  • Candidacy Status: See Admission to Candidacy under General University Academic Information. The student must achieve candidacy status no later than three years from the date of admission and at least one year before graduation. Achieving candidacy is conditional upon completion of 18 credits, i.e. five courses plus the required tutorial for students with a master’s degree or 39 credits and the equivalent of an MA thesis for students with a BA while also satisfying the proposal and language requirements. To achieve candidacy, a student must sit for a written comprehensive examination (PhD Qualification Exam Part I) comprising at least three different papers. The proto-examining committee, consisting of four AUB faculty members of professorial rank, will be in charge of writing questions and correcting answers. Within two weeks from the date of the written comprehensive, the student shall appear before the proto-examining committee to defend her/his answers.
  • Doctoral Proposal: A detailed proposal defining the thesis problem, describing the pertinent literature and suggesting the proposed approach to solving it must be defended before and approved by the thesis examining committee (PhD Qualification Exam Part II). The committee membership must be approved by the Graduate Studies Committee of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, and a copy of the proposal must be sent to the Graduate Council.
  • Thesis Examining Committee: For the composition of the committee, refer to Ph​D Thesis Committee under General University Academic Information.
  • Thesis Defense: Six copies of the pre-defense final manuscript must be submitted to the advisor at least eight weeks prior to the date of the defense session. This session shall be public. Candidates may, if they so elect, write their theses in English, provided members of the proto-examining committee expressly state their satisfaction with the candidate’s capacity for acquisition of knowledge in Arabic.
  • Awarding/Withholding the Degree: The decision of the thesis examining committee may be one of the following four:
    • Award: with or without demanding minor corrections
    • Award: provided certain specific and restricted alterations are implemented within three months and approved by the proto-committee
    • Suspend: major alterations are required and must be implemented within 6-12 months, after which the whole committee shall reconvene
    • Withhold: without further recourse

Course Descriptions


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