The department of Arab and Islamic Civilizations provides a multi-disciplinary framework for the study of the history and culture of the Middle East since the rise of Islam.  It seeks to explain the thought, movements, processes, institutions and identities of Arab-Islamic civilization.  These include but are not limited to aesthetic and intellectual production, political and religious thought, cross-cultural interaction, commerce and economic relations, government, and social, political and religious loyalties. The study and appreciation of these fields forms an important part of the university’s mission to give students a greater awareness and appreciation of the heritage of the Middle East.



Past alumni of the Department of Arab and Islamic Civilizations work in diverse fields including journalism, translation, cultural production, heritage management, community development, arts, teaching, and public service. Others have gone on to earn an MA and a PhD and have become recognized scholars in the fields of Arabic and Islamic Studies.


Undergraduate Programs

islamic architecture

Arabic Studies: BA

Arabic Studies program is to develop a broad awareness of Arab-Islamic civilization and to develop in students the ability to examine critically the different aesthetic, intellectual and cultural components of this civilization. Each student is required to fulfill Arabic language requirements and take a common core of courses from Arabic Literature, Islamic Studies, Middle Eastern History, and Islamic Art and Architecture.
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close up of opened old book in Arabic writing

Arab and Islamic Civilizations Minor

This minor allows students to choose the courses that interest them from the ARIC department's different specializations. They can choose any combination of undergraduate courses in Arabic Literature, Middle East History, Islamic Studies, and Islamic Art and Architecture.
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Rare book at Rare books Library

Arabic Literature Minor

This minor allows students to delve deeper into classical and modern Arabic literary production and read texts in various genres, including poetry, prose, novels, short stories, drama well as film and media adaptations.
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Islamic Architecture

Islamic History Minor

This program allows students to study various aspects of Middle East and Islamic history, both premodern and modern, including political and social history. Courses include chronological surveys of particular time periods and regimes and thematic in-depth analysis of issues relevant to the history of the region, such as marriage and the family, religious diversity, spirituality, popular culture, gender, and class issues.
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Detail of a mosque facade

Islamic Art and Architecture Minor

This minor gives a greater appreciation of the cultural heritage of the Arab-Islamic world to interested students. It focuses on both the built environment and artifacts that survive from different time periods and regions of the Islamic world.
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Islamic Architecture AUC New Cairo Campus Building

Islamic Studies Minor

The minor is designed for students who wish to gain a deeper knowledge and appreciation of Islam as a culture.
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Graduate Programs

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Arabic Studies: MA

The department of Arab and Islamic Civilizations (ARIC) offers Master’s degrees in Arabic Studies with emphases in four fields: Islamic Art and Architecture, Middle Eastern History, Islamic Studies, Arabic Language and Literature.
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Arabic Studies: Graduate Diploma

An opportunity for students who do not plan to pursue doctoral research or academic careers to study the history, culture, religion, literature, and material culture of the Arab and Islamicate worlds.
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