Master of Arts in Oriental Languages and Cultures (Middle East Studies)

Quality assurance

People who dare to think about the challenges of tomorrow, that is what we aim for. That is why education at our university is firmly anchored in six major objectives.

  1. Think broadly. Thinking as broadly as possible and offering the opportunity to question oneself. Not only Dare to Think, but also dare to change the way of thinking.
  2. Keep researching. Research is the foundation of our education. Ghent University keeps linking its way of educating to the dynamics of science.
  3. Support Talent. Everyone starts with equal opportunities. All students get the opportunity to develop their talents, regardless of gender, cultural or social background.
  4. Build with us. Students, staff, the government and the corporate world all get the chance to contribute to the contents and form of our high quality education. Ghent University is known for its particularly active students in student participation, of which we are very proud.
  5. Push boundaries. We want to prepare our students internationally and interculturally. We give them the opportunity to gain experience across borders. We also open our doors for students from all over the world and welcome teachers and academic staff from abroad.
  6. Choose quality. Constant quality assurance and improvement is an integral part of our culture and we communicate about it openly. We are proud of the level of our university.

Ghent University sees the quality of education as an internal self-evaluation process, in which faculties and programmes compare the goals they have set themselves to the results and adjust the policy accordingly. The monitors constitute an important link in this process. The achieved results are based on quantitative and qualitative information from relevant stakeholders (students, teachers, professional field, international experts, alumni, etc.).The ‘peer learning visits’, the yearly quality meeting and the Education Quality Office (‘OKB’) make sure the PDCA cycle is closed at various policy levels and help to keep the improvement policy sharp. A detailed description of how Ghent University is constantly paying attention to quality assurance and quality culture can be found in the Ghent University Conduct of Educational Quality Assurance (ERGO).

Quality of this study programme

This quality assurance system provides information on the assets, the strengths and the points for improvement for every study programme. A summary for this study programme can be found below:

Assets of the study programme

  1. Language through culture and culture through language: The programme of Oriental Languages and Cultures rests on two equal pillars: language and culture. You opt for one cultural area, with an accompanying package of language courses: Arabic, Chinese, Indian or Japanese. You gradually acquire expertise in modern and classical language varieties, giving you access to and as such a thorough knowledge of the area's culture (society, history, religion/philosophy, literature).
  2. Area specialists in diversity: The programme also comprises some other courses, next to the linguistic and cultural courses of the chosen cultural area. Certain general course units provide you with the skills to proceed in a creative and problem-solving way. You also follow a number of courses in a minor or diversification module, giving you the opportunity to acquire specialised knowledge in a certain direction, to broaden it and/or to join a consecutive programme or the labour market.
  3. Internationalisation: A programme like Oriental Languages and Cultures clearly has an international component. Students and lecturers are encouraged to gain international experience. The Bachelor's programme gives you the opportunity to spend a semester at a university in the cultural area you study. The (largely) English two-year master comprises a second stay abroad, either in the same cultural area, or at another European university, and an obligatory internship that can also be done abroad. These experiences abroad do not only deepen your linguistic skills, they also broaden your view on the society, the culture, etc. of your cultural area.
  4. Talent development: The programme integrates general courses and methodology and research or practice-oriented courses from the very beginning. You learn to observe the world from a critical and scientific point of view and to think in a creative and problem-solving way. The minor programme (economics, politics, teacher's programme, multiculturalism) gives you the opportunity to develop a study programme based on your personal interests and your vision of the future.
  5. Broad employability: As the programme of Oriental Languages and Cultures pays special attention to methodological and practice-oriented courses, graduates not only possess an advanced knowledge of their own field, but they are also employable in other domains. Thanks to your internship, adapted to your choice of the minor or the diversification module, you can gain a first work experience.

Quality assurance: strengths

  1. Lecturers with practical experience and expertise: The classes are taught by lecturers performing high-standing scientific research on one or more aspects of the cultural domain of their expertise. They often have quite a lot of experience with their cultural domain by having resided there for longer periods. They are supported by teaching assistants, tutors, and native speakers, who will be closely supervising and monitoring you in the intensive course units, especially in language acquisition.
  2. Multiperspectivism and room for diversity: You study the cultural area of your choice from a broad range of perspectives (social, religious, literary, philosophical, linguistic …). The diversity of the students' interests and talents is thus reflected in the programme.
  3. Practical experience in the cultural area: In the third year, the programme offers you the possibility to stay for a longer period abroad at one of our partner institutions (within the cultural area or at a European university). During the two-year Master you can go abroad for a second time and you may also do the compulsory internship abroad.
  4. Scientific knowledge and skills: Special attention is paid to integrating scientific research in education. During the methodological courses you gradually learn to create scientific knowledge. The programme triggers critical thinking and specialisation.
  5. Future prospects: By implementing a compulsory internship in the master, you already have a first work experience when graduating. This is an excellent starting point to apply for national and international positions in the public and private sector. Your advanced linguistic skills, your in-depth understanding of your cultural area and your broad critical-scientific knowledge and proficiency prepare you particularly well for the labour market or advanced studies.

Quality assurance: focus points with action plan

  1. Involvement of stakeholders: We aim at better involving our present students, alumni and stakeholders in the reflection on and the development of the study programme. This more specifically implies that we need to foster our contacts for these three groups. When doing this, we are looking for ways (1) to incite our students to actively take part in information sessions, (2) to stimulate close contacts with our alumni, and (3) to maintain our contacts in the professional field to guarantee a better access to the labour market.
  2. Dissemination of information: We need to improve the intake of new students by disseminating correct information about the programme through all possible means (SID-ins, welcome days, brochures, websites, web classes, open classes, children's university, lecture series, classes for secondary education …). During such events it is important to better highlight the social value of the programme. The visibility of the members of our programme in the broader social field should contribute to that, e.g. by participating in cultural events, activities, think tanks …
  3. Benchmarking: We should compare the programme and the main subjects with parallel programmes at home and abroad, and integrate good practices in the programme as much as possible.