Guidelines for Registrations

In order to facilitate registration in the Arabic language classes, accommodate the maximum number of students, and allow space for late registration, the following guidelines will be followed:

  • Each level of Arabic is taught as a two-semester sequence.
  • Students can start the sequence in the Fall or Spring semester for First and Second Year.
  • Those who take First, Second Year Arabic I in the spring take First or Second Year II the following Fall or in the summer (see our Summer program in NY).
  • Arabic For Heritage Speakers, Spoken Arabic, Third and Fourth Year classes begin only in the Fall and continue in the Spring.

All classes are capped at 15 students.


Students enrolling in First Year Arabic I do not need the instructor’s permission. Students enrolling in all other classes need permission, and may have to take a placement test (see below). For sections that do not list an instructor, please contact the Arabic program coordinator, Taoufik Ben-Amor.

Registration for the Fall semester:

To register, take a signed Add-Drop form to your registrar (University registrar for CU students, Barnard registrar for BC students). All students have to obtain the instructor’s signature in advance. Oral approval is not sufficient. For sections that do not list an instructor, please contact Prof. Ben-Amor. Add Drop forms are available in the department or here or for Barnard students at this site.

Registration for the Spring semester:

Pre-registration in all classes will be capped at 12 students for First, Second and Third Year and 15 for Fourth Year. Three additional places will be kept in each section for late registration. There is no waiting list for these places. They will be allocated according to the following order of priority:

  1. MESAAS graduate students, seniors, and majors, and Barnard students majoring in Asian & Middle Eastern Cultures.
  2. GSAS and SIPA students.
  3. CC and GS students starting with juniors for First Year Arabic and seniors for Second Year Arabic.
  4. TC, JTS, and Continuing Education students.

In September, students who have not yet registered should attend the section that fits their schedule best and indicate in the Arabic Language Questionnaire, distributed in class, other sections that fit their schedule. All prospective students, including those who pre-registered, must attend every session during the first week of classes. Those who miss attendance the first week forfeit their chance to enroll.

Instructors will keep an attendance list for the first week of classes. The list will include the following information: Name, School, Department, Graduate/Undergraduate, year of study, major, email, and most recent Arabic course grade.

Students enrolling in First Year Arabic II and Second, Third, and Fourth Year Arabic:

Students who have not taken Arabic the previous semester at Columbia, or have studied for a semester or the summer abroad or in other institutions, need to take a placement test before they can enroll. The placement test must be completed at the latest by Thursday of the first week of classes. (The placement exam is generally given the week before classes start. Check here for dates and location.) Students who are waiting for the placement results should attend a section in the level they are hoping to place into until they are notified of the results.

Students Enrolling in Third and Fourth Year Arabic:

Continuing Students must have received an average grade of B in the Second Year Arabic to move on to Third Year and B+ to continue in Fourth Year.

By Friday afternoon of the first week of classes, the team of Arabic instructors will meet and finalize the roster for each class. Students will be informed of their status by email.

Students do not register by themselves. They will be registered internally by the department. It takes at least two days for names to appear on the online rosters.

For any questions on the placement test, please contact: Taoufik Ben-Amor.

  Address:  401 Knox Hall, MC9628
606 West 122nd St,
New York, NY 10027
  Tel: (212) 854-2556