Home / The University / Faculties / Faculty of Classical and Modern Philology / Departments / Arabic and Semitic Studies


Head of Department: Prof. Dr. Simeon Evstatiev

Room 18, Centre for Oriental Languages and Cultures
79 Todor Alexandrov Blvd, 1303 Sofia
Phone: (+359) 2 829 37 85 / int. line 110

e-mail: s.evstatiev@uni-sofia.bg


Our history: Began in 1964 as a minor for the Teaching of Arabic in the Program of Oriental Studies
  Became a major and separate Program in Arabic Studies in 1974

The Department of Arabic and Semitic Studies at Sofia University St. Kliment Ohridski is the only academic unit of its kind in Bulgaria. For five decades, it has offered programs for the study of the Arabic language, history, literature, culture, and politics taught in a close relationship with Islamic studies as a classical European scholarly field. Having gained international recognition, the Department offers programs at the Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Ph.D. degree levels. Together with the Bachelor’s Program in Arabic Studies and the Master’s Program in Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies, the Department has developed doctoral programs in Arabic Linguistics, Arabic Literature, and Arab Society and Culture (Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies).

The teaching of Arabic in the curriculum of Sofia University St. KIiment Ohridski was launched in 1964 as a minor in the then Program of Oriental Studies, where Arabic Studies in Bulgaria was offered along with Turkic Studies. Arabic Studies as a separate program was introduced as major in 1974. By 2000, Sofia University established a separate Department of Arabic and Semitic Studies. The programs in Arabic Studies offered by the Department prepare highly qualified specialists with proficiency in written and spoken Arabic, possessing in-depth knowledge of Arabic literature, culture, and the social and political history of the Arab Middle East, as well as Islamic doctrine and religio-political currents.

The Department of Arabic and Semitic Studies takes an active part in international academic life and exchange. Faculty members work on individual and collaborative projects internationally – with academic institutions and colleagues from Western and Eastern Europe, the United States, the Middle East, and Central Asia. Many of its professors participate in the activities of prestigious international scholarly organizations of Islamicists and researchers of Arabic language and literature, Middle Eastern culture and politics. Some of the faculty have experience as visiting professors, research fellows and language instructors in the United States, Europe, and the Middle East. Faculty and students have various opportunities to specialize and gain fieldwork experience in countries such as Kuwait, Jordan, Tunisia, Morocco, Qatar, and Egypt. The students have conducted their internship and practicum in state institutions such as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Bulgaria, and nongovernmental and international organizations, including the UN Refugee Agency.

Throughout the last five decades, hundreds of graduates have obtained their degrees at the programs in Arabic and Middle East Studies at Sofia University St. Kliment Ohridski. Over the last years, the programs in the Department of Arabic and Semitic Studies continue to be among the most selective at Sofia University, which allows for applying a demanding approach that keeps the high educational level. The graduates of the departmental programs find a successful career in Bulgaria and internationally – in state institutions and the private sector, where command of Arabic is a requirement in combination with skills based on a knowledge of the history, culture, politics, and the religious situation in the Middle East. The specialists, who obtain degrees from the Department, are usually employed by agencies and companies in the fields of education and research, international relations and diplomacy, translation and interpretation, media and journalism, public administration, international trade and private businesses, as well as by organizations in the nongovernmental sector.