BA Arabic and Italian / Course details

Year of entry: 2023

Course description

BA Arabic and Italian is a four-year degree with a year of study abroad divided between a Middle Eastern country and Italian-speaking country.

The course combines compulsory language elements on both sides, delivered by native-speaker staff and with the possibility of pathways in business language, translation and interpreting.

Alongside this, you will study the culture, politics, history, literature, popular culture, linguistics and religion of the areas in question.You will become proficient enough to live and work effectively in both environments.

Arabic

  • You have the opportunity to achieve near-native proficiency in modern Arabic while studying the language within its cultural and historical context.
  • You will also look more widely at Arab culture and literature from the medieval period to the present day, and be introduced to social and cultural trends in the Arab Middle East and beyond.
  • The range of culture units offered across all years of the programme combine the study of the history, politics, literary, and visual culture of the Arab world and are taught by a range of specialists within these fields.
  • The course is carefully structured so you can measure your progress step by step. Learning modern Arabic also opens the door to the vast literature of classical Arabic, including religious and secular texts, and provides a perfect platform from which to learn one or more of the colloquial dialects.

Italian

  • The course units offered combine the study of history, politics, and the literary, linguistic and visual culture of the peninsula, and are taught by specialists in the fields.
  • We offer a linguistics pathway through the course for those interested in the history of the Italian language and its dialects.
  • Language courses, taught by native speakers at post A-level or beginners' level, involve comprehension, translation, grammar and oral work.
  • Our excellence in teaching and learning in Italian has been recognised internally and nationally: a colleague won a Teaching Excellence Award, and one has secured national funding to develop use of digital resources in teaching by bringing our libraries' special collections into the age of the app.
  • You will benefit from extensive interaction with Italian cultural agencies in the North West.
  • You will also benefit from the world-class Italian holdings of the John Rylands Library, including one of the largest collections of early Italian printed books in the UK.

Special features

Residence abroad

You can study and/or work for up to a year in a country or countries relevant to your chosen language(s) to improve your communicative language skills in a native-speaker environment.

Collaborations and partnerships

The University has links with language and cultural institutions across the city, including:

  • HOME - international and contemporary art, theatre and film

Societies

The University is home to over 30 international and language-related student societies offering a breadth of cultural activities and experiences.

Engage in cultural activities

Manchester is a multicultural city that provides excellent general opportunities for contact with speakers of Arabic and the pursuit of Arabic and Islamic interests outside of the University (eg public lectures, societies, cultural events).

Teaching and learning

You'll learn through a mixture of formal lectures, seminars and tutorials, spending approximately 12 hours a week in formal study sessions.

For every hour of university study, you will be expected to complete a further 2-3 hours of independent study. You will also need to study during the holiday periods.

The individual study component could be spent reading, producing written work, revising for examinations or working in the University's Language Centre .

Our teaching, praised in the Teaching Quality Assessment and by external examiners, is backed up by an innovative Independent Language Learning Programme, enabling you to take control of your own learning experience.

Language courses, taught by native speakers at post A-level or beginners' level, involve comprehension, translation, grammar and oral work.

Our excellence in teaching and learning in Italian has been recognised internally and nationally: a colleague won a Teaching Excellence Award, and one has secured national funding to develop use of digital resources in teaching by bringing our libraries' special collections into the age of the app.

Coursework and assessment

You will be assessed in various ways, including:

  • written and oral examinations;
  • presentations;
  • coursework (which may include library research, linguistic fieldwork and data collection, or web-based research);
  • in your final year, a dissertation based on a research topic of your choice.

Assessment methods vary from course unit to course unit - see individual course unit listings for more information.

Course content for year 1

You will study 60 credits from both subjects. The first year equips you with a range of important skills such as linguistic expertise, the ability to read and analyse material, skills in presentation, group work and independent language learning.

First year study will concentrate on intensive language learning. It also features a core course unit on the contemporary Middle East and fosters the development of study and IT skills.

Arabic

  • In Year 1, you learn Arab language from complete beginner level - or `ab initio'. Ab initio students have seven contact hours per week with their nominated mother-tongue teacher as part of a course specifically designed to build confidence in comprehension, writing, speaking and listening skills.
  • The Arab culture units offer a range of courses from the filmic and literary to the historic and religious, all of which reflect academic staff research interests.

Italian

  • Post-A-level students have 3 hours consolidating and building competency on specific language points.
  • Culture units cover topics from the filmic and literary to the historic and linguistic, all of which reflect academic staff research interests.

Course units for year 1

The course unit details given below are subject to change, and are the latest example of the curriculum available on this course of study.

TitleCodeCredit ratingMandatory/optional
Italian Cultural Studies ITAL10300 20 Mandatory
Reading Italy: Medieval to Modern ITAL10500 20 Mandatory
History and Politics of the Middle East and North Africa MEST10711 20 Mandatory
Arabic Language 1 MEST51011 20 Mandatory
Arabic Language 2 MEST51022 20 Mandatory
The History and Sociopolitics of Palestine/Israel (1882-1967) MEST10042 20 Optional
Cultures of the Middle East and North Africa MEST10091 20 Optional

Course content for year 2

In the second year you will continue your language learning, increase your reading of authentic texts in both languages and choose from a wide range of optional units that cover the history, politics, literature and popular culture of the countries in question.

Arabic

  • In Year 2, the language component of the course includes three contact hours per week in addition to working on set assignments and undertaking private study.
  • Various options are available ranging from Arabic literature, Middle Eastern cinema, gender and cultural studies to the anthropology of Modern Islam as well as history and politics of the Arab World. The units are largely assessed by coursework.

Italian

  • The language component includes three contact hours per week in addition to working on set assignments and undertaking private study.
  • Course unit options range from medieval and Renaissance culture and literature, including Dante, Boccaccio, and women writers, to Italian Fascism, the Economic Boom (1960s), and the Years of Lead (1970s) studied through film. We also offer units on sociolinguistics and Italian dialects.
  • Most culture units involve three contact hours per week and are augmented by materials and content placed in the units' Blackboard virtual learning environment.
  • The units are mostly assessed using a variety of forms from coursework to essays, commentaries and book reviews to class presentations and blog posts.

Course units for year 2

The course unit details given below are subject to change, and are the latest example of the curriculum available on this course of study.

TitleCodeCredit ratingMandatory/optional
Italian Language 4 ITAL51040 20 Mandatory
Introduction to Post Colonial Arabic Literature MEST20002 20 Mandatory
Arabic Language 3 MEST51031 20 Mandatory
Arabic Language 4 MEST51042 20 Mandatory
Aesthetics and Politics of Italian Fascism ITAL20502 20 Optional
The Italian Renaissance ITAL21011 20 Optional
Themes in the Histories of Arab and Jewish Nationalisms MEST20271 20 Optional
Women and Gender in the Middle East and North Africa MEST20352 20 Optional
History of Modern Islamic Thought MEST20501 20 Optional

Course content for year 3

Your third year of study is spent abroad under approved conditions.

Course content for year 4

The fourth year covers advanced language course units, a variety of specialised thematic course unit choices in the two chosen cultures, and an optional dissertation on an approved topic of your choice.

Also available are course units that cover topics closely related to the research interests of individual members of staff, covering a broad range of linguistic, literary, historical and cultural topics.

As part of your final-year work, you can write a dissertation on a theme of your choice related to one of your course units.

Arabic

  • You will complete your Arabic language studies at a high level. There is also the opportunity to study Business Arabic as well as to choose from a variety of specialised final year course units covering the Arab world.

Italian

  • In Year 4, you build on the linguistic authenticity acquired abroad, and further your knowledge of Italy's society and culture with units delivered in the target language and focusing (for instance) on visual and literary expression in post-war Neo-Realism.
  • You will also be able to undertake a research-orientated dissertation in Italian (often using the primary sources held in the Rylands Library, which has outstanding Italian holdings), and can participate in the Italian department's mentoring and outreach work.
  • The language component of the course includes three contact hours per week in addition to working on set assignments and undertaking private study.

Course units for year 4

The course unit details given below are subject to change, and are the latest example of the curriculum available on this course of study.

TitleCodeCredit ratingMandatory/optional
Media and Business Arabic MEST30182 20 Mandatory
Arabic Language 5 MEST51050 20 Mandatory
Dissertation in Italian Studies ITAL30000 40 Optional
Introduction to the History of the Book ITAL30431 20 Optional
Travellers' Tales: Italy in the British Imagination ITAL30582 20 Optional
Topics in Romance Linguistics ITAL32001 20 Optional
Dissertation in Arabic and Middle Eastern Studies MEST30000 40 Optional
Contemporary Debates in Islam MEST30031 20 Optional
Nature, the Environment and Politics in Modern Arabic Literature MEST30122 20 Optional
Media and Business Arabic MEST30182 20 Optional
Historical Controversies in the Study of Israel/Palestine MEST30721 20 Optional
Displaying 10 of 11 course units for year 4

Scholarships and bursaries

Residence Abroad Support

We offer dedicated financial support packages of up to £2,000 for residence abroad students, based on household income. You will be automatically assessed for this, based on your Student Finance financial assessment - you just need to make sure you apply for a financial assessment in the academic year in which your residence abroad will take place.

Awards will be made according to a sliding scale, benefitting those who have achieved the highest marks relative to backgrounds. You will be automatically assessed for this after you have registered on your degree programme. You simply need to make sure you allow The University access to your records when applying for your Student Loan (we cannot otherwise assess your eligibility).

What our students say

'As my minor is in Italian, I went to Florence and attended a language course for the duration of my stay. This was a memorable experience and something that only happened because I chose to study here.'

Ausrine - BA (Hons) Linguistics and Italian Student

Facilities

The University Language Centre is home to language resources, including a new interpreting suite, purpose-built recording rooms, and resources for more than 70 languages.  

The Centre also offers multilingual word processing, language learning software, off-air recording and AV duplication, multilingual terrestrial and satellite TV, and extensive support and advice for learners. 

Learn more at facilities .

Disability support

Practical support and advice for current students and applicants is available from the Disability Advisory and Support Service. Email: dass@manchester.ac.uk