Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies

MA Honours in Persian Studies

Persian is one of the major languages of Middle East and Central Asia.

Sheikh Lotfollah mosque

The MA Honours Persian degree programme at Edinburgh offers students the opportunity to attain proficiency in the Persian language as well as the study of historical, literary, cultural and political aspects of Iran, Afghanistan, Persian-speaking Central Asia, and the Persian diaspora.

Starting at beginner’s level, in Persian 1a course, students are trained to reach near-native proficiency by the end of their four years of study. Students spend part of the third year studying Persian at an approved institution or in Edinburgh, where students have the opportunity to study the language intensely.

Besides the core language studies, the department offers a range of courses designed to put the language into cultural and historical context and to provide an insight into the vast treasury of Persian literature. These include courses in classical and modern Persian literature, Iranian history and cultural studies.

Degree structure

Year 1 and 2

The first and second year of the Persian MA Honours degree provide a thorough grounding in the vocabulary and grammar of written Persian, as well as basic competency in the spoken language. In addition, students study the history of the Middle East from the advent of Islam to the present day.

Years 3 and 4

During the third year students spend part of their time studying Persian intensively either in Edinburgh or at an approved language institution.

For the rest of the third year and fourth year, Persian students continue to develop their written and spoken language skills and take optional courses in small seminar groups on the culture, literature, history, religion and politics of the Islamic world and the Middle East. Most of the courses are taught in the department of Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies, but students may also choose relevant options from Classics, Divinity, History, History of Art, Politics and Social Anthropology.

Study abroad

IMES is currently exploring options for intensive Persian study abroad and in Edinburgh.


How to apply

Entry requirements

The programme's degree finder entry has details of entry requirements and information on learning outcomes, teaching and assessment methods, fees and career opportunities.

Joint honours options

Persian is offered as joint MA degree courses with Arabic, English Literature, Middle Eastern Studies, Politics or Social Anthropology.