The study of Arabic is compulsory in the first two years of the programme for all students not proficient in this language. The programme runs three levels of Arabic (Beginners, Intermediate and Advanced) and students are placed in a class based on their prior knowledge and experience. The overall aim is to equip students with the skills needed to read primary texts in Arabic in different disciplines and from different historical periods.
Prior to the start of the first year, students undertake a pre-sessional, four-week intensive language course at the IIS. At the end of the first year, students participate in a summer Arabic language immersion programme in an Arabic speaking country.
Students who are already fluent in Arabic will be required to study Persian in order to read and understand core Persian texts. Persian language study includes participation in a summer Persian immersion programme in Iran or Tajikistan. Students may also have the opportunity to study other languages used in Muslim societies.