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:

1Beginner Low80 hours
2Beginner Intermediate80 hours
3Beginner High80 hours
4Intermediate Low80 hours
5Intermediate80 hours
6Intermediate High80 hours
7Advanced -1-100 hours
8Advanced -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.