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Department of Arabic and Islamic Studies

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Studying in Bayreuth

Our study program

Our department consists of two disciplines, Arabic Studies and Islamic Studies. The study program we offer at Bayreuth University is a multidisciplinary program. Our study programs either consist of a combination of Arabic Studies and Islamic Studies or one of the subjects is studied together with another discipline. This applies for both the Bachelor and Master programs. With these multidisciplinary programs, students benefit from the broad range of disciplines in linguistics, literature, social sciences and cultural studies that are united at two faculties of the University of Bayreuth: The Faculty of Linguistics and Literature (Faculty IV: SpLit), to which the department of Arabic and Islamic Studies is also assigned; and the Faculty of Cultural Studies (Faculty V: KuWi).

All Bachelor programs start with the acquisition of the Arabic language. In Arabic Studies, equal emphasis is placed on the acquisition of oral language skills. In more advanced courses, linguistic knowledge is acquired on the basis of Arabic language examples. In Islamic Studies, on the other hand, basic knowledge of the history, society, world of ideas and cultural practice of the communities influenced by Islam is acquired at the beginning of the program in addition to language acquisition. At the end of the program, the focus is also on working with original language sources. In some study programs, regional knowledge of African societies influenced by Islam can also be acquired, and students can learn another African language influenced by Islam.

What is Arabic Studies?Hide

Arabic Studies is a linguistic and literary discipline with a practical and contemporary orientation. Its subject is the Arabic language with all its varieties: classical High Arabic, modern Standard Arabic and the various dialects. There is a strong functional differentiation between Standard Arabic and dialect. Thus, Standard Arabic is the language of the media, formal situations and written texts; the dialects, on the other hand, represent the language spoken in everyday life. From a didactic point of view, it is necessary to start with the acquisition of modern Standard Arabic and then continue the study with a dialect. Courses in linguistics and sociology of language round out the pure language studies.

What is Islamic Studies?Hide

Islamic Studies is a multidisciplinary subject that requires not only sound philological language training in Arabic, but also knowledge of historical and empirical methods in order to address its diverse research questions. Islamic Studies is interested in the history, cultures, languages, literatures and social developments that were influenced by Muslims, especially in parts of Asia and Africa. Arabic sources play a special role as the connecting language of the Islamic world, but sources in other languages can also be the starting point for questions in Islamic Studies. The subject is less characterized by its own theory formation, but contributes with its case studies to theoretical debates of neighboring disciplines depending on the focus of interest.

How do students benefit from Bayreuth's research focus on Africa?Hide

At Bayreuth, the focus of Arabic and Islamic Studies is on cultures, languages, modern and contemporary history, religious believes and practices, and socio-political issues in Africa that are influenced by the Arab-Muslim World. Depending on the course of study, it is possible to combine the contents of Arabic Studies with those of Islamic Studies and thus acquire a sound philological basic knowledge of the Arabic language while at the same time placing it in its Islamic-influenced cultural context. The combination of both disciplines enables students to grasp and analytically present literary, religious, social and historical topics of the Arabic-speaking world in their complexity.

Arabic Studies and Islamic Studies fit into the Africa-oriented research of the University of Bayreuth. This regionally oriented research focus, in addition to the general basic education of the two disciplines, flows into the study program and offers the unique opportunity in Germany to engage with Arabic-speaking communities and Islamic societies across the entire African continent during the course of studies. This view beyond the Arabic-speaking Mediterranean region enables students on the one hand to better understand the multidimensionality of transregional interdependencies within the Islamic world and on the other hand to grasp the complexity of relations between the Middle East, Africa, and Europe.

What career prospects does a degree in Arabic Studies / Islamic Studies open up for me?Hide

After graduation, students of Arabic and Islamic Studies can work in many different fields. In addition to an academic career, there are numerous professional fields in which graduates can apply their acquired knowledge and skills. These range from development policy cooperation, political consulting for associations, parties, foundations and NGOs to the field of media, journalism and publishing, cultural institutions and the tourism industry, to the diplomatic service or security agencies.

Students are advised to think about which direction interests them during the course of their studies and to make initial contacts and orient themselves for the time after their studies by means of a longer or one or two shorter professional internships. At the University of Bayreuth, it is possible to pursue both research-oriented and more practice-oriented consecutive Master's degree programs following a Bachelor's degree program.

Graduates of Arabic Studies acquire the following professional competencies:

  • Language skills of Standard Arabic on at least B2 level (CEFR).
  • Active knowledge of at least one Arabic dialect
  • Knowledge of linguistic methods and theories
  • In-depth knowledge of the role of language in communication and development of culture
  • Ability to conduct basic academic research
  • Ability to write and present academically
  • Intercultural skills

Graduates of Islamic Studies acquire the following professional competencies:

  • Language skills of Standard Arabic on at least B2 level (CEFR)
  • Regional and historical knowledge of the Islamic world
  • Knowledge of Islamic traditions of thought and cultural practices
  • Knowledge of debates in cultural studies and the humanities
  • Ability to analyze and classify developments in the Islamic world
  • Ability to conduct basic academic research
  • Ability to write and present academically
  • Intercultural skills

Webmaster: Univ.Prof.Dr. Britta Frede

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