Last updated: 1 year ago

Studying Arabic is an opportunity to study both the vast 'classical' and modern literature of Islamic civilization as well as the language and culture

Application Resources

Here are some general resources related to Arabic. These should be a useful introduction, regardless of which Arabic related course you’re interested in and where you might want to study it.


Here are some books you might find useful:

  • ‘Islamic History: A Very Short Introduction’ - If you’re interested in having some background knowledge of Islamic History, this “Very Short Introduction” book is perfect
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  • ‘A History of the Arab Peoples’ by Albert Hourani - An incredibly useful introduction to Arab and Islamic history. It is absolutely not essential to read the whole book but can provide valuable inspiration during the admissions process, as well as a useful background to the course.
  • ‘Night and Horses in the Desert: An Anthology of Classical Arabic Literature’ by Robert Irwin - A fantastic introduction to classical Arabic prose and poetry. Again, not essential for the course but good inspiration for the admissions process.
  • ‘Season of Migration to the North’ by Tayeb Salih - A classic example of post-colonial Arabic literature and an enjoyable read.
  • ‘The Cairo Trilogy’ by Naguib Mahfouz - A remarkable trilogy of novels detailing life in Egypt during the struggle for independence from British rule. Absolutely not necessary to read all three books.
  • ‘The Koran: A Very Short Introduction’ by Michael Cook - A handy book exploring the significance of the Koran both in the modern world and in traditional Islam.


‘In Our Time’ 🔗 🌟 The ‘In Our Time’ podcast series with Melvyn Bragg offers countless interesting podcasts related to Arab and Islamic culture. Such podcasts include ‘Islamic Law and its Origins’ 🔗, ‘Sunni and Shia Islam’ 🔗, ‘The Arab Conquests’ 🔗, ‘Antarah ibn Shaddad’ 🔗 and ‘The Arabian Nights’ 🔗.
Real Arabic 🔗 Learn spoken Arabic with engaging episodes covering culture, history, politics and stories of people from the region. The episodes are in slow, simplified Arabic with helpful English interjections and transcripts available in both languages.
Arabic with Imran Lum 🔗 A range of beginner and intermediate lessons, from basic phrases to conjugation.


Duolingo 🔗 Duolingo offers Arabic if you are a beginner - the main thing is interest in the history/culture and you might want to learn the alphabet just so you feel comfortable.