Undergraduate study - 2023 entry
Open to the world

MA Arabic and French

UCAS code: TR61

Duration: 4 years

Delivery: Full-time

School: Literatures, Languages and Cultures

College: Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences

Study abroad

Introducing MA Arabic and French

Arabic and French make a natural combination. Interaction between the two languages and cultures has taken place over many centuries and continues in the present day. This interaction is reflected as much in the cinema and music of contemporary Europe and North Africa as in the Chansons de Gestes of medieval times.

Arabic is the main language of more than 350 million people inhabiting a huge swathe of land extending from the Atlantic to the Persian Gulf. Knowledge of Arabic provides access to the rich intellectual heritage of Islam and opens the door to a fascinating and varied region.

French is a major world language, spoken in many parts of Europe, Africa and the Americas. French art and thought have played a central part in creating our modern civilisation. Alongside intensive study of the language, you will explore French culture - its literature and cinema, but also its political history and philosophical ideas.

The School of Literatures, Languages & Cultures at the University of Edinburgh is recognised in the UK and internationally as a leading institution for the research-led study of languages.

A year spent studying Arabic and French abroad provides complete immersion in both.

Year 1

You will study elementary Arabic to learn basic grammar and develop your vocabulary.

If you have a limited knowledge of French, you will take French 1A, an intensive language course that also introduces you to French culture.

If you have studied French beyond National 5 (SQA) or GCSE level, you will typically take French 1B, which, as well as developing your written and spoken linguistic skills, engages intensively with modern French literature, culture and civilisation.

You will also take courses in Islamic history and modern Middle Eastern history.

Year 2

You will continue with your language studies in Arabic and take a course in the religion of Islam or Islamic and Middle Eastern cultures.

Your French courses will build on your knowledge of the language and French literature and culture. The focus now shifts to exploring the 16th to the 19th centuries, including authors such as Molière, Montaigne and Baudelaire, alongside writers whose work has been considered marginal to French culture for reasons of gender or colonial politics.

Finally, you will choose a further course from a range of options. This gives you the chance to explore European literature, film and theatre in themed and comparative contexts, for example, or to study French politics.

Year 3

International travel restrictions permitting, you will spend Year 3 abroad, dividing your 30 weeks between Arabic and French, and spending at least eight weeks in a country relevant to each language.

For your study abroad in Arabic, you can choose between at least two different countries in the Arabic-speaking world.

For French, you can choose to study at a university - we currently have exchange places in France, Belgium and Switzerland. Alternatively, you may be eligible to do a teaching assistant placement - or other work placement - instead.

During your year abroad, we will aim to ensure your experience is as beneficial as possible to your final year, as well as to your wider language learning, cultural awareness and skills development. For example, you will take an e-learning course in French, which will count as part of your third year mark and prepare you for your fourth year French language courses.

If international travel is not possible, you will be offered alternative ways of engaging with your subjects. This will allow you to meet your learning outcomes and prepare for your final year.

Year 4

You will continue to develop your language and translation skills.

You will also choose from a range of specialist option courses dealing with different aspects of Islam and the Middle East and French literature and culture.

You will write your honours dissertation.

Our facilities

On campus

When you are on campus, you can expect to spend most of your time in the University of Edinburgh's Central Area - in class, in the library, or in one of the University’s many social spaces.

The Central Area is located on the edge of Edinburgh's historic Old Town, surrounded by lots of green space.

Take a virtual tour of the Central Area

Libraries, collections and centres

The University holds over 23,000 resources in Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies (IMES). These include the Serjeant & Watt Collections and some of the world’s most precious Islamic manuscripts, such as Rashid al-Din’s History of the World and al-Biruni’s Chronology of Ancient Nations.

Resources for the study of French include over 118,500 books and over 25,500 journals, as well as films, newspapers and other media.

As well as looking across a beautiful garden to the Main University Library, IMES has its own library in 19 George Square. This building also neighbours the Alwaleed Centre for the Study of Islam in the Contemporary World.

Events and activities

The Edinburgh University Students' Association (EUSA) supports more than 300 student-led societies and clubs, and promotes opportunities with local charities through its volunteering centre.

From making friends in language cafes to campaigning on global issues, these student-led groups offer lots of ways to engage.

The French theatre society - Les Escogriffes - typically stages a play in French each year, with opportunities to direct, act, produce and promote.

Staff and student editors publish creative writing in nine European languages – including French – in the online magazine, Babble. Launch nights typically include readings and performances.

A number of our students have volunteered for a tutoring and educational programme for teenage Syrian refugees in Edinburgh. This programme has won an Outstanding Global Citizenship Impact Award and a Sir William Darling Memorial Prize.

In the city

Edinburgh is a world-leading festival city filled with cinemas, theatres, galleries, libraries and collections. The National Library of Scotland has one of the best French collections in the UK.

There is plenty to see and do throughout the year, including events at the annual French Film Festival, and at the nearby Institut français d’Écosse.

Study abroad

If international travel restrictions allow, you will spend Year 3 abroad, dividing your 30 weeks between Arabic and French. You will spend at least eight weeks in a country relevant to each language.

This is your chance to immerse yourself in Arabic, French and Francophone language and culture. It will allow you to develop broader life experience and skills that you can use after university.

What are my options for going abroad?

How will I learn?

Experienced lecturers and language instructors will teach a combination of:

  • lectures
  • tutorials
  • language classes

How will I be assessed?

You will be assessed using a combination of exams and coursework, including:

  • essays
  • exercises
  • presentations
  • oral language examinations

You will also complete a dissertation in your final year.

Skills and experience

Studying languages to degree level demonstrates that you are a good communicator, a resilient problem solver, and someone open to other cultures and new ideas – what employers value as Intercultural Competence.

Beyond the language skills you will develop on this joint honours programme, and the nuanced understanding you will gain of other cultures and societies, graduating with a four-year Master of Arts degree from the University of Edinburgh shows high-level intellectual strength and flexibility.

The skills you will be able to demonstrate to employers when you graduate include the ability to understand, analyse and articulate key concepts, and to work to varied briefs to deadline, both independently and in groups.

Opportunities at home and away

Arabic and French are two of the most widely spoken languages in the world. Between them, they are the lingua franca of over 50 countries in Europe, Africa, and the Middle East.

With increasing migration in response to changing global dynamics, there is demand for our graduates both at home and abroad. Wherever you are based in the world, the ability to communicate in these global languages, and to understand the cultures to which they open doors, will make you stand out.

Within the private, public, not-for-profit, and for-benefit sectors, previous graduates have gone on to work in:

  • business, finance and commerce
  • communications, marketing, advertising and public relations
  • education, outreach, advocacy and training
  • journalism, broadcasting and media
  • leisure, tourism and travel
  • politics, policy work, diplomacy, civil service and law
  • publishing, culture, heritage and the arts
  • research, development and venture acceleration
  • translating and interpreting

Further study

The enhanced research skills you will develop on a four-year programme, particularly in your honours years, are a valuable asset if you wish to continue studying at postgraduate level. At the University of Edinburgh, for example, we typically offer Masters by Research degrees in Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies and in French. Our interdisciplinary taught Masters programmes typically include:

  • The Globalised Muslim World
  • Comparative Literature
  • Intermediality
  • Translation Studies

Careers advice

We have an excellent Careers Service. Throughout your time with us, we will encourage you to identify and hone your employability skills, including through peer initiatives such as Life After LLC (Literatures, Languages and Cultures) where you can draw inspiration from our graduates.

Be inspired by our alumni

Standard entry requirement

The standard entry requirement is:

  • SQA Highers: AAAB-ABBB by end of S5 or AAAA-AABB/ABBBB by end of S6. BBB must be achieved in one year of S4-S6.
  • A Levels: AAB - ABB.
  • IB: 36 points with 665 at HL - 34 points with 655 at HL.

Minimum entry requirement

The minimum entry requirement for widening access applicants is:

  • SQA Highers: ABBB by end of S6. BBB must be achieved in one year of S4-S6.
  • A Levels: ABB.
  • IB: 34 points with 655 at HL.

More information for widening access applicants

Required subjects

The grades used to meet our entry requirements must include:

  • SQA: Highers: French at B. National 5s: English at C.
  • A Levels: French or Arabic at B. GCSEs: French at B or 6 (if not at A Level) and English at C or 4.
  • IB: HL: French or Arabic at 5. SL: French at 5 (if not at HL) and English at 5.

Additional requirements

Native speakers

Please note that the Arabic degrees involve beginners language study and are not suitable for native or near-native speakers.

Find out more about entry requirements

International applicants

We welcome applications from students studying a wide range of international qualifications.

Entry requirements by country

Mature applicants

We welcome applications from mature students and accept a range of qualifications.

Mature applicant qualifications

You must demonstrate a level of English language competency at a level that will enable you to succeed in your studies, regardless of your nationality or country of residence.

SQA, GCSE and IB

For SQA, GCSE and IB students, unless a higher level is specified in the stated entry requirements, a pass is required in English at the following grades or higher:

  • SQA National 5 at C
  • SQA Standard Grade at 3
  • GCSE at C or 4
  • Level 2 Certificate at C
  • IB Standard Level at 5 (English ab initio is not accepted for entry)

English language tests

We accept the following English language qualifications at the grades specified:

  • IELTS Academic: total 6.5 with at least 5.5 in each component.
  • TOEFL-iBT (including Home Edition): total 92 with at least 20 in each component. We do not accept TOEFL MyBest Score to meet our English language requirements.
  • C1 Advanced (CAE) / C2 Proficiency (CPE): total 176 with at least 162 in each component.
  • Trinity ISE: ISE II with distinctions in all four components.
  • PTE Academic: total 62 with at least 54 in each component.

We also accept a wider range of international qualifications and tests.

English language qualifications must be no more than three and a half years old from the start date of the degree you are applying to study, unless you are using IELTS, PTE Academic, TOEFL or Trinity ISE, in which case it must be no more than two years old.

English language requirements

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It is one of many sources of information which will enable you to make an informed decision on what and where to study.

Please note that some programmes do not have Discover Uni data available.

Tuition Fees

Tuition fees for MA Arabic and French

Additional costs

As long as international restrictions allow, Year 3 will involve study abroad, both in the Middle East and in a country where French is spoken. The costs incurred will depend on where you decide to go, and how you spend your time.

Some study placements at language schools may charge a fee, but we will normally reimburse you for tuition costs as long as your activity has been approved. You will be responsible for associated travel costs such as flights and visas.

Funding

For more information on how much it will cost to study with us and the financial support available see our fees and funding information.

Fees and funding