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Study Arabic language


Damascus University

Language Institute

Arabic Language Center

MSA Modern Standard Arabic
Regular Courses Program


The Arabic Language Center (ALC) is an outstanding department of the Language Institute at the University of Damascus that specializes in teaching Arabic to speakers of other languages (TASOL). Since the ALC's founding in 1995, hundreds of students of various nationalities and social, cultural, and academic backgrounds have studied Arabic at the Center. The ALC's international reputation is a result of the continuous sincere efforts of its highly qualified administration and the experienced teaching staff.


Students are placed into levels according to the placement test results. More information about the placement test is provided in the section about the placement test . The levels are as follows:






Beginner Low

80 hours


Beginner Intermediate

80 hours


Beginner High

80 hours


Intermediate Low

80 hours



80 hours


Intermediate High

80 hours


Advanced -1-

100 hours


Advanced -2-

100 hours


Beginner Level
This level consists of three sub-levels: Beginner Low, Beginner Intermediate and Beginner High. The distribution of the instruction hours that cover each linguistic skill differs from level to level depending on the each level's objectives. Most of the instruction at the beginner level is directed towards learning the language through reading, grammar, and listening. Students advance to the next level after acquiring the basic principles of each level.

a)  Beginner Low:
b) Beginner Intermediate:
c) Beginner High:


Intermediate Level
 This level consists of three sub-levels: Intermediate Low, Intermediate and Intermediate High. There are 80 hours of instruction in each sub-level. In the intermediate level, the student acquires higher proficiency, which enables her/him to use the language effectively. In this level, the student concentrates on speaking and listening skills. The student's knowledge of Arabic grammar is deepened via using variety of texts that contain commonly used vocabulary and expressions.
a)  Intermediate Low:
b) Intermediate:
c) Intermediate High:


Advanced Level
This level contains two sub-levels each containing 100 hours of instruction. This level aims at helping students be able to understand all Arabic texts, classis and modern as well as newspapers and magazines.
a)  Advanced 1:
b) Advanced 2:

Students attend classes five days a week. Levels 1-6 have class from 09:00 until 13:00 with three breaks of 10 minutes. Levels 7 and 8 have class from 09:00 to 14:00 with 4 breaks of 10 minutes. There are no classes at the ALC on Fridays and Saturdays. Weekly schedules are given to students at the beginning of the course. These schedules contain information concerning the lessons that will be covered in their course. The courses cover the skills of listening, reading and comprehension, grammar and its applications, and speaking. There may be some activities and exercises outside of class. These exercises are framed into cultural, social and civilization contexts and are used to enrich the teaching process.

Students take two exams in each course at the ALC. The first exam takes place in the middle of the course. Its purpose is to test the student's improvement and to diagnose the student's weak and strong points. This test helps the teacher, as well as the student, to better concentrate on the needs of the student. This test comprises 30 % to 35% of the student's final score, depending on the student's course level.

The second exam takes place on the last day of the course. This test comprises 55% to 60% of the student's final score, depending on the student's course level. The student's participation in the class, punctuality, homework and other activities comprise 10% of the final grade. In the higher levels there is a grade for research.

Students must pass each course before being allowed to advance. Success depends on the student's attendance and final grade from the tests, which differs from level to level. Students must attend at least 80% of the total teaching hours at any level to fulfill this requirement. Student who miss more than 20% of the teaching hours are not eligible to submit the final exam. They also fail the course, though they are allowed to continue attending the course as an auditor.


 • When the student passes a course, she/he can ask for a certificate of achievement . This certificate includes general information about the course that the student has completed, such as the date of the course, the level, number of hours, and the final score. Such a certificate is given for each course separately. The certificate is issued only in Arabic, and it is certified by the Language Institute Administration. The certificate of achievement can be also certified at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

• Students whose universities request more detailed information can get a transcript of his/her grades in Arabic or English. The transcript includes information about the levels and courses that the student has finished. The transcript is certified by the Language Institute's Administration. You can request these documents at the Office of Student Affairs in the Language Institute at the University of Damascus by providing the required information to the administration and paying the appropriate fees. The administration will tell you the time when your documents may be collected.

• The Language Institute, upon request, may provide an attendance certificate in Arabic or English.

• For students who would like to apply for temporary residence (Tourist visa) or who would like to extend their residency may request an official statement from the University of Damascus via the ALC. The student then takes this document to the Immigration Office ( Al-hijrah wa Al-jawazaat ) in Damascus to verify the student's registration. Students are advised to consult both the Office of Student Affairs in the Language Institute as well as the Immigration Office in Al Baramkeh (in front of the science department) for current information regarding options for staying in Syria .

(Note: This official statement is not issued for periods that exceed the length of the student's studies at the ALC. It is issued only when the student is currently enrolled in courses.)



If students have studied Arabic before, they must take a placement test before the course begins in order to identify their level of proficiency. The placement test fee is 500 Syrian pounds. This fee is paid when students register for the test during the specified dates. The administrative assistant will tell you the date and time of the test. The test lasts for two hours and is followed by a 10-minute oral interview. Applying for the placement test does not require the documents needed for the course registration.

Students who leave the ALC for more than four months have to retake the placement before registering for a new course.


Registering must be done in person: It cannot be done via travel agents or any other person. (The ALC does not employ third party representatives.)

Registration Procedures for Standard Arabic Regular Courses (SARC) and for Arabic for Specific Purposes (ASP) Program

Documents required for registration:

• Photocopy of passport (personal information and visa pages.)

• 4 passport photographs.

• Recommendation letter from the student's embassy in Damascus stating that there is no objection concerning the student's registration at the ALC.

• Certified copy of the AIDS test which is done at the AIDS Medical Testing Center- Zablatani Avenue ( Markaz Fahs Al-Aids )

• Completed application from the Office of Student Affairs in the Language Institute at the University of Damascus.

• Registration takes place after arriving in Damascus during the specified registration dates. Students must come personally with all the required documents to the Office of Student Affairs and pay all required fees in Syrian pounds. We apologize for not being able to accept applications that are missing any of the required documents. The Office of Student Affairs is open from 10:00 until 14:00, except for Fridays and Saturdays.

• New students must complete the placement test except absolute beginners.

• In order to avoid paying a fee at the AIDS Medical Testing Center, you may request a letter from the ALC directed to the AIDS Medical Testing Center . This letter states that you intend to register at the ALC.

• It is important to take into consideration that obtaining some of these documents like the embassy's recommendation letter and the AIDS test result may take few days. You are advised to have these documents before the end of the registration period. (We recommend that you arrive to in Damascus one week before the beginning of the course at least.)

• These documents are required when registering for the first time only. Students who would like to continue their courses at the ALC are only required to pay the tuition fees (during the appropriate registration period). However, if you leave the ALC for more than one year, you must redo the entire application procedure for registration at the ALC.

• For students whose countries do not have embassies or any other official representation in Syria , recommendation letters may be replaced by a document from the Central Office of Student Affairs at the University of Damascus . This office is located at Baramkeh , across from the College of Law . This document states that the University of Damascus does not have any objection concerning the student's registration at the ALC.


* Photo-copy of the passport (Personal data page & Visa page)

* 4 Passport photos

* A letter from your home embassy in Damascus certifying that the embassy has no objection that you register in the Centre.

* Certified Photo-Copy of your AIDS test results from AIDS Laboratory in Damascus*.

* Filling in the application form provided by the office of registration & Students’ Affair (ORSA) in the Centre, room Nr. B-23, ground floor


Please inquire for any modification in the fees amount before any course plan to take

Each level can be completed in one course

You can begin your level in any of the courses of the 2008 schedule (classes are available every course for levels 1-6)

Note: the weekly hours may differ from the above in a course but the total hours remain the same



 The fees are paid at the Office of Student Affairs in the Language Institute.

 Fees are paid in cash for one course at a time.

 after payment, there are no refunds, no option to postpone your course, and no exchanging with another student. This policy is not negotiable.

 Fees for books and other materials are not included in the registration or placement exam fees.

 Tuition fees are subject to change. Please confirm the correct amount with the Office of Student Affairs in the Arabic Language Center before registering.

Land arrangement

Above mentioned land arrangement including & Instructions for Registration:

- Accommodation in SGL or sharing room, for One month will be in Host family or Host House.

- Other registration formalities will be arranged and liaised with our representative

- Pick up from Airport to the House (R/T) Allied tour representative will meet & transfer (with Air-Conditioned car) the student upon arrival and departure to & from Damascus Airport.

- All passports should not have visas neither to Israel nor an exit stamp of Taba.

- Allied tours Services during whole your stay in Syria.

- The student must have visa from Italy "Syrian Embassy" before arrival to Damascus Airport.

- The student must arrive in Syria 07 days, or few days only, before the official start of course. The cost of each extra night spent before his accommodation will be paid in advance.



SGL or sharing room ((Subject to available)), couch, table, a chair and a closet. A washing machine is also available with permanent running hot water and a shared telephone, only incoming line, is also available. Shared WC / Shower on each floor and private Kitchen with all the equipment for cooking. The house built in the classical. House is built out of mud bricks and wood with a courtyard and a fountain. Rooms are furnished simply but clean. These houses are located in the old town, in Bab Touma and Bab Sharqi areas, walking distance or short ride from the city center. The students will live with a family; the occupancy will be with 2 – 3 other students. We only deal with families that welcome students into their homes and treat them as member of the family.

Bab Touma and Bab Sharqi areas are the more famous area between all most important monuments, the Ancient Churches, Ancient Mosques, Palaces, Internet Café, Restaurants, “Al Noufara Café” which is the most famous local and traditional café in the world.


Other accommodation to be extra (Incase the arrival is before the course)

- Allied tours can offer a student accommodation in cheaper hotel, with or without meal.
- Rooms are simply furnished and one should not expect any luxury or special services. Shared showers and toilets,  very helpful staff   and friendly atmosphere. Backpacking travelers frequently use this hotel.