Undergraduate study - 2022 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 250 million people in a huge swathe of land extending from the Atlantic to the Persian Gulf. Apart from opening the door to a fascinating and varied region, knowledge of Arabic provides access to the rich intellectual heritage of Islam.

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

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 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.

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 world-renowned authors such as Molière, Montaigne and Baudelaire, alongside fascinating 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, giving 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'll 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'll 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'll 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 and will write your honours dissertation. 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.

Programme structure

Find out more about the compulsory and optional courses in this degree programme.

To give you an idea of what you will study on this programme, we publish the latest available information. However, please note this may not be for your year of entry, but for a different academic year.

Programme structure (2021/22)

Our facilities

Teaching takes place in and around the University of Edinburgh's Central Area, where we have excellent:

  • computing and audiovisual resources
  • support services
  • social spaces

You will also have access to over 23,000 Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies resources in our collections, including Islamic manuscripts.

Events and activities

There is plenty to see and do throughout the year, including at the nearby Institut Français d’Écosse.

Edinburgh's world cinema scene is particularly strong, with annual festivals such as the French Film Festival and Africa in Motion.

We are also the proud home of the student-led French theatre society, Les Escogriffes.

French in the city

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

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 and French-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.

Studying languages to degree level, especially when you spend a year abroad as part of your studies, gives you a set of skills and life experiences highly prized by employers.

More than 250 million people are native speakers of Arabic, the sixth most widely spoken language in the world, and more than 75 million speak French, which is an official language in 29 countries.

An understanding of Arabic and French, and the cultures to which they open doors, is an excellent primer for a range of careers in:

  • media
  • industry
  • civil service
  • diplomatic service
  • non-governmental organisations

Increasing migration and changing global dynamics have created high demand for Arabic and French graduates, both at home and abroad. This includes roles in:

  • translation
  • interpreting
  • education

Further study

There are opportunities to continue studying at postgraduate level. Year 4 will help you to develop the research skills needed if you choose this path.

Standard entry requirement

The standard entry requirement is:

  • SQA Highers: AAAA-AABB by end of S5 or AAAA-AAAB 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
  • SQA Intermediate 1 at A
  • SQA Intermediate 2 at C
  • GCSE/IGSCE at C or 4
  • Level 2 Certificate Grade 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 module overall 6.5 with 5.5 in each component.
  • TOEFL-iBT (including Special Home Edition) 92 or above with 20 in each section. We do not accept TOEFL MyBest Score to meet our English language requirements.
  • Cambridge English: Advanced or Proficiency overall 176 with 162 in each component.
  • Trinity ISE: ISE II with a distinction in all four components.

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, TOEFL, or Trinity ISE, in which case it must be no more than two years old.

English language requirements

This information is part of a government initiative to enhance the material that higher education institutions provide about their degree programmes.

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

If international travel restrictions allow, Year 3 includes study abroad, both in the Middle East and in a country where French is spoken.

Your costs will depend on where you decide to go and how you spend your time. You will be responsible for associated travel costs such as flights and visas.

Universities may charge you a fee for courses, but we will reimburse you for this provided the course has been approved.

You will be informed about the cost implications as you plan your year abroad, during Year 2.

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