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Arabic Studies

- Master´s programs

Department of History and Cultural Studies
East Asia and the Middle East
Seminar for Semitic and Arabic Studies
Prof. Dr. Beatrice Gründler, Victoria Mummelthei
Fabeckstr. 23-25
14195 Berlin

For admittance to the master’s program applicants need to fulfill the following admission requirements:

  • bachelor’s degree in history and culture of the Middle East from the Freie Universität Berlin or its equivalent from a program that is similar in terms of content and structure;
  • proof of written Arabic language skills (level B1 CEFR);
  • proof of language skills in one of the following languages: Ancient Greek, French, Hebrew, Italian, Latin, Modern Persian, Russian, Spanish, Syriac-Aramaic or Turkish (level B1 CEFR), or oral skills in a modern Arabic dialect (level C2 CEFR);
  • proof of English language skills (level B2 CEFR), if the university degree was not obtained at an educational institution where English is the language of instruction.

The DSH - or German Language University Entrance Exam for Foreign Students - is obligatory for all applicants whose first language is not German and who have earned their initial degree from a university (or equivalent institution) where the language of instruction is not German.

Students do not pay any tuition fees, the university only charges semester fees and contributions each semester.

The master’s programme provides an in-depth insight into current research as well as into the contemporary and classic research discussions and enables students to participate in discussions on a wide range of topics in the field of Arabic Studies. The students take an exemplary look at selected texts of classical and modern Arabic literature, as well as essential texts of Arabic-Islamic culture such as Qur’an, Hadith and Tafsir. Subjects of study are e.g. questions of genre and literary form as well as questions of symbolism, intertextuality and intermediality. Various research methods and working techniques from the area of literary and cultural studies are applied and practiced. The interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary area offers students the opportunity to approach neighbouring disciplines. Research areas of Arabic Studies:

  • Classical Arabic literature in its social environment
  • History of the Arabic language
  • Arabic palaeography and book culture
  • Transmissions of knowledge in Arabic literature
  • Arabic scholarship
  • Literature from al-Andalus
  • Folklore and traditions of the Arabic-speaking world
  • Contemporary and popular Arabic culture
  • Modern Arabic prose and poetry

Arab Studies at Freie Universität Berlin is involved in numerous ongoing research projects, including the Corpus Coranicum project at Berlin-Brandenburgische Akademie der Wissenschaften as well as the collaborative research center Episteme in Motion. The Seminar for Semitic and Arabic Studies cooperates with other disciplines of Freie Universität Berlin, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin and Universität Potsdam in the field of the modern Near East, with Zentrum Moderner Orient as well as the interdisciplinary centre “Bausteine zu einer Geselslchaftsgeschichte des Vorderen Orients” at Freie Universität Berlin. Furher co-operation exists with various liaison offices of Freie Universität Berlin, in particular in Cairo. Freie Universität Berlin furthermore offers a unique network of scientific and cultural institutions with reference to the Arabic-speaking world, e.g. the Museum of Islamic Art, the Oriental Department of Staatsbibliothek Preußischer Kulturbesitz (it offers the largest collection of Arabic manuscripts in Germany), Haus der Kulturen der Welt as well as Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin. Moreover, the Seminar for Semitic and Arabic Studies is involved in the Berlin Graduate School Muslim Cultures and Societies, Friedrich Schlegel Graduiertenschule für literaturwissenschaftliche Studien, Dahlem Humanities Center as well as Dahlem Research School.

1st Semester Admissions
Unrestricted admission
Admission for Higher Semesters
Unrestricted admission
Program Start
Winter and summer semester
English, German
Master of Arts (M.A.)
4 semesters

The Master's programme is divided into four areas: basic area, specialisation area, interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary area and the master thesis.

Basic area


Arabic literature and its social dimensions


Cultural and intellectual history of the Arabic-speaking world


Arabic literature and its aesthetic dimensions


Qur’an, Tafsir, Hadith


Advanced Arabic

Specialisation area


 Arabic Literature Specialisation OR Qur’an, Tafsir, Hadith Specialisation


Research Perspectives of Arabic Studies OR Arabic Linguistics and Dialectology

Interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary area


The master’s degree in Arabic Studies qualifies to take up doctoral studies in the same respectively neighbouring fields such as Semitic Studies, Oriental Philology,
Oriental Studies, Middle East Studies, Islamic Studies. The acquired knowledge and skills qualify for activities in state institutions and non-governmental organisations dealing with the Arabic-speaking world and with Arabic-speaking population groups. Amongst others, the following professional fields can be considered: international organisations, non-governmental organisations, German branches of companies in the Near and Middle East, public authorities, policy counselling, media, publishing, museums, adult education and training, institutions and organisations caring for migrants and refugees, tourism.

  • Allen, Roger: The Arabic Literary Heritage. The Development of Its Genres and Criticism. Cambridge 1998.
  • Gelder, Geert Jan van: Classical Arabic Literature. A Library of Arabic Literature Antholgy. New York 2013.
  • Heinrichs, Wolfhart (Hrsg.): Orientalisches Mittelalter. Neues Handbuch der Literaturwissenschaft. Bd. 5. Wiesbaden: Aula 1990.
  • Neuwirth, Angelika/Pflitsch, Andreas/Winckler, Barbara (Hrsg.): Arabische Literatur postmodern. München 2004.
  • Wagner, Ewald: Grundzüge der klassischen arabischen Dichtung. 2 Bde. Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft 1987-88.
Starting your study program