With nearly half a billion speakers worldwide, Arabic is the fifth most spoken language in the world and one of the official languages of the United Nations. Proficient speakers of Arabic are in high demand and can gain access to employment opportunities in multiple industries, including international policy, business, translation, and oil. Arabic is an option to fulfill the language requirement for the Asian Studies and Linguistics majors and is recognized as a critical language by the United States Department of State.

The Arabic Program at CLIC implements an integrated approach to language learning, whereby students learn to use both Modern Standard Arabic (MSA) and Colloquial Arabic (CA) to navigate the linguistic reality of the Arabic-speaking world. This allows our students to interact with native speakers of Arabic in a way that is sociolinguistically appropriate by switching between both registers as needed.

The Arabic Program offers three years of rigorous academic training based on a communicative approach that emphasizes interactional competence and intercultural knowledge. Our students are confident language users who have a solid command of Arabic and an understanding of the cultural intricacies of the vast region in which Arabic is spoken. The Center awards the Certificate in Language Intercultural Communication in Arabic.

Arabic language instruction at Rice is supported by a rich cultural programming that includes weekly conversation tables, film screenings, invited guest speakers, cooking demonstrations, game nights, and other events that are announced through our listserv.

For inquiries about Arabic language instruction, email Dr. Hossam Elsherbiny (

Course Sequence

decorative infographic showing progression of Arabic courses

Before registering for an Arabic course, take the Language Placement Test to find out which course is right for you.

Study Abroad

CLIC offers merit scholarships for students who plan to study Arabic abroad. Please see the merit scholarships page for more information and eligibility requirements.

Contact the Study Abroad Office at to learn about study abroad opportunities in Arabic


Photo of Dr. Hossam Elsherbiny
Hossam Elsherbiny

Lecturer in Arabic