• Orientate Yourself
  • Inform Yourself
  • Online Test
  • Degree Programmes
  • Begin Studies

Arabic, Islamic, and Semitic Studies (MA)

What is the degree programme about?

The Master's degree programme in AIS (Arabic, Islamic, and Semitic Studies) at FAU focuses on exploring Arabic as a language and text culture. Particular attention is paid to the role of the Arabic language and culture in the early development of Islam. Studies are based on examining four different perspectives:

  • The first perspective considers the language family to which Arabic belongs (Semitic). The second perspective examines the cultures of the Semitic language (e.g. Aramaic, Hebrew) with which the Arabic intellectual world – including the birth and development of Islam – mutually interacted over the course of history.
  • The third perspective looks at the Quran and its historical context, Quranic hermeneutics and the interpretation of the Quran (classical and modern).
  • The fourth perspective focuses on text and literature in the Arabic-Islamic world of culture, including prose and works of poetry which are not strictly categorised as Islamic religious works. Here, particular importance is attached to Arabic philosophy and the Christian and Jewish text cultures of the Arabic language.

The Master's degree programme in AIS comprises the following specialisations which can be combined via contextualisation modules:

  • Arabic literature (compulsory module): in-depth philological study of classical and modern Arabic poetry and prose, cultural-historical and political context, text history and text critique.
  • Arabic and Semitic studies (elective module): native Arabic grammar and modern linguistic approaches to Arabic; the Arabic language in its Semitic and Afro-Asian context; introduction to Hebrew (biblical and modern) and linguistic comparison of Arabic and Hebrew; linguistic and cultural analysis of Arab-Jewish texts.
  • Islamic studies (elective module): The Quran and Quranic hermeneutics – in-depth philological analysis of the text of the Quran and its historical-critical contextualisation; examination of historical and modern interpretations of the Quran; social and cultural history of the Arabic-Islamic world with particular focus on Arabic philosophy; training in mediating between internal Islamic perspectives and external secular and academic perspectives in interdisciplinary courses.
Prerequisite knowledge
In principle, this degree programme is open to graduates of Bachelor's degree programmes with topical relevance to the Arabic world, Islam or the Orient in the wider sense, e.g. Arabic studies, Oriental studies, Middle Eastern studies, religious studies with specialisation in Islam, linguistics with specialisation in Arabic, Semitic studies, languages and cultures of the Islamic world, African studies with specialisation in Arabic/Islam. Providing applicants have a solid knowledge of Arabic (see admission requirements), graduates from the field of Jewish studies may also be granted admission. If you are interested in this degree programme and have a degree in a different subject or a degree from abroad, please contact the degree programme coordinator. More information about admission requirements is available below.
Modules and degree programme structure

Students select one of two specialisations (compulsory elective):

  • Specialisation in Arabic and Semitic Studies or
  • Specialisation in Islamic studies

There are also a number of interdisciplinary compulsory modules. Via contextualisation modules (see 2nd and 3rd semesters) modules can be taken from the other specialisation field or from other study programmes.

1st semester
Research methods and source analysis

Specialisation: Arabic and Semitic Studies
Arabic linguistics; second Semitic language

Specialisation: Islamic studies
The Quran and context; social and cultural history

2nd semester
Classical Arabic literature; contextualisation module I

Specialisation: Arabic and Semitic Studies
Semitic linguistics

Specialisation: Islamic studies
The Quran and the modern age

3rd semester
Modern Arabic literature; contextualisation module II, project module

4th semester
Research seminar; Master's thesis

Good to know

Potential challenges:
To avoid disappointment and frustration during studies, applicants should ensure they have the personal qualities listed under Specific conditions.

What job will this qualify me for?
Graduates will be able to work in the following areas:

  • In intercultural fields involving economics, politics and culture (tourism, public relations or national/international institutions)
  • In administration, associations and companies, particularly in areas concerned with intersecting European and Middle Eastern aspects
  • In development aid, business or politics consulting, security policy, migration and integration
  • As a regional analyst in public institutions, private foundations, companies, banks, international organisations and in journalism
  • In the diplomatic service
  • In language teaching and politics education
  • In research

Specific conditions
For the Master's degree programme in AIS the following personal qualities are of great advantage:

  • You enjoy learning, advancing and maintaining your knowledge of languages
  • A certain talent for languages
  • You enjoy intensive philological work with original texts and have the necessary stamina
  • Interest in exploring a culture through its written records
Admission requirements

Applicants require a completed Bachelor's degree (or equivalent) in one of the following subjects: Arabic Studies, Oriental studies, Middle Eastern studies, religious studies with specialisation in Islam, linguistics with specialisation in Arabic, Semitic studies, languages and cultures of the Islamic world, African studies with specialisation in Arabic/Islam. Provided applicants have a solid knowledge of Arabic (see below), graduates from the field of Jewish studies will also be granted admission.

  • Applicants with a minimum grade of 'gut' (good – 2.5) in their previous degree qualify for admission; applicants with an average grade of 2.51 to 3.00 will be required to attend an individual admission interview.
  • For applicants in the final semester of a Bachelor's degree programme proof of 140 ECTS credits is sufficient.
  • Arabic proficiency of at least level B1 according to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (proof of Arabic courses amounting to 40 ECTS credits or UniCert Level II).
Degree programme start date and application deadlines

Please find more detailed information on how to apply for a Master or advanced degree programme on the following website:

Compare degree programs

Open comparison on a new page


Please note: Despite careful checks, we cannot rule out errors or omissions. For this reason, all prospective students are advised to seek detailed information from FAU's Student Advice and Career Service (IBZ) before commencing their studies.

Back to degree programmes


Degree type: Master of Arts (MA)
Type of study: Master
Location: Erlangen
Standard duration of study: 4 Semester
Start date of degree programme: Winter Term
Language: German
Admission: No Admissions Restrictions
Early entrance programme: no
Part-time study: yes
Faculty: Faculty of Humanities, Social Sciences, and Theology