Jul 14, 2024  
2014-2015 Academic Catalog 
2014-2015 Academic Catalog [Published Catalog]

Teaching Arabic as a Foreign Language (M.A.)

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Professor: El S. Badawi
Assistant Professors: Z. Taha (Director, Arabic Language Institute), R. El Essawi (Director TAFL program)

Interest in the Arabic language has increased greatly throughout the world. With this has come a demand for professionals trained in the field. Based on modern theory and practice, the master’s degree and the diploma programs in Teaching Arabic as a Foreign Language (TAFL) are especially designed to meet this need.

The master’s degree requires two years’ residence and covers the following areas: linguistics, second language acquisition, and methods of teaching foreign languages. Practice teaching is also required. The courses have been structured to promote research as well as to develop highly trained teachers. In addition, a number of issues related to the role of Arabic in modern society are freshly examined, such as current methods of teaching Arabic to children, reform of the writing system, grammar reform movements, and the problem of diglossia. The TAFL program seeks to inspire new approaches to these problems.


Applicants for the master of arts degree in TAFL should preferably hold a bachelor of arts degree specializing in Arabic language, Islamic studies, Middle East area studies, or a modern language. Applicants should also meet general university admission requirements. Applicants with undergraduate specialization in a modern language other than Arabic must take a number of additional courses in the field of Arabic studies. Applicants who are not specialized in Arabic language will need also to take an entrance exam to be offered by ALI to show that applicant has sufficient command of Arabic to qualify for admission into an Arabic language program. Applicants for the master of arts degree in TAFL should preferably have teaching experience prior to admission into the program or concurrently with the program. Applicants with no or little experience in teaching are required to work as unpaid teacher assistants for at least one semester before graduation.


Non-native speakers of Arabic and holders of degrees other than Arabic language or Islamic studies must demonstrate in an examination that their proficiency in Arabic is adequate for study in the program. The level of language proficiency required for admission is not less than the level Superior as specified by the guidelines of the American Council for the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL). Those with less but showing exceptional promise may be recommended for AUC preparatory training for a period not to exceed one year.

An applicant who is not a native speaker of English must have sufficient command of English to qualify for admission as an AUC graduate student. Those with less but showing exceptional promise may be recommended for AUC preparatory training for a period not to exceed one year.


A minimum of 30 graduate credit hours and a thesis are required except as indicated in the “Thesis” section below.


Electives should complete the required number of credit hours. Choice will depend upon the thesis topic and the student’s undergraduate field of study and must be approved by the adviser. While they are normally selected from among 500-level TAFL courses, with the adviser’s approval, electives may include up to two non-TAFL courses. No more than two 400-level courses may be counted toward the degree.

Note regarding required and elective courses:

Both required and elective courses are divided into two phases. Phase one courses include: 

  ,  ,  and    . Phase two courses include:   ,  ,    and/or other elective courses that the student proposes to take in order to finish required credits. Students will have to finish phase one courses before moving to phase two courses.

Comprehensive Examination

The comprehensive examination consists of a written examination followed by an oral examination. It is required only of students not writing theses and may not be taken more than twice.


The thesis is usually required for graduation. In some circumstances and with the adviser’s approval, a candidate may be allowed to replace the thesis with two additional courses, increasing the total number of minimum credit hours required from 30 to 36. In such cases the candidate would be required to take the comprehensive examination.

The student writing a thesis must produce a professional paper on some aspect of TAFL. The thesis must be prepared under the guidance and close supervision of a faculty adviser and a designated committee.

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