Pennsylvania State Colleges Launch Online B.A. in Arabic

Osama bin Laden may be dead, but as President Obama made clear, U.S. involvement in the Middle East and other areas with radical Muslim factions is far from over. This means that Arabic, already the fastest-growing foreign language for U.S. university study, according to the Modern Language Association, will likely continue to be in high demand. Recently, Pennsylvania launched an innovative effort to develop an online bachelor’s degree program in Arabic for its 14 state colleges and universities, Inside Higher Ed reports.

The new program is a cost-effective way to diversify language offerings in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education, which faces severe budget cuts. The new major in Arabic language and culture would comprise 30 credits, 18 of which students would accrue in online courses using such technological tools as video chat, Inside Higher Ed reports. However, students would still have to venture offline to earn the final 12 credits, through study abroad or internship programs. If the Arabic degree program takes off, other online foreign language majors may follow, university officials say.