Since 1958, the University of Ghent has conducted research and teaching in Arabic and Islamic Studies, the field of research concerned with the study of the Arabic language and literature and Islamic history, religion, and culture. Nationally and internationally renowned Arabists and Islam scholars associated with UGent in this context include professors Armand Abel, Geert Jansens, Marc Plancke, and Urbain Vermeulen.

Since the 1980s, this field of study has developed considerably. Following the development of the humanities and driven by critical post-modernism, it has diversified and been integrated further into the main branches of the humanities and social sciences (linguistics, literature, history, the arts, religious studies, anthropology, political science, law, etc.). At UGent, this evolution toward an increased diversification and specialisation has occurred as well, and is ongoing.

Today, the research of this unit at the Faculty of Arts and Philosophy at UGent focuses on the following subjects:

There is furthermore close collaboration with our colleagues of 'The Middle East and North Africa Research Group', at the Faculty of Political and Social Sciences, Department of Conflict and Development Studies (