Undergraduate study - 2021 entry

MA Persian and Middle Eastern Studies

UCAS code: T63H

Duration: 4 years

Delivery: Full-time

School: Literatures, Languages and Cultures

College: Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences

Study abroad

Introducing MA Persian and Middle Eastern Studies

Known as Farsi in Iran, Dari in Afghanistan and Tajik in Tajikistan, Persian is one of the major languages of Middle East and Central Asia. It has over 120 million native speakers, ranking it among the world's 20 most widely spoken first languages.

To study Persian is to enter into a rich and diverse culture that has produced major epic and Sufi poets, exquisite miniature painting, fine textiles and world-class cinema. It is also a gateway to modern Iran, a dynamic society at the crossroads of Europe and Asia.

Our programme is designed to give you a thorough grounding in both classical and modern Persian, enabling you to access a wide range of original material. As well as developing your language skills, you'll also study the historical, literary, cultural and political life of the Middle East, as well as the rich intellectual heritage of Islam.

The School of Literatures, Languages & Cultures at the University of Edinburgh is recognised in the UK and internationally as a leading institution for the research-led study of Persian and the Middle East, together with Arabic, Turkish and Islam.

Year 1

In Year 1 you will study basic Persian grammar, vocabulary and conversational skills.

You will also take courses in Islamic history, the religion of Islam and/or Islamic and Middle Eastern cultures and courses from other subject areas.

Year 2

You will continue with your language study and take courses in the religion of Islam, Islamic and Middle Eastern cultures, and courses from other academic areas.

Year 3

You may have the option of spending Year 3 in a Persian-speaking country, or at an approved institution elsewhere, improving your language skills and undertaking independent study.

If this is not possible, you may choose either to stay in Edinburgh for the year or to spend one semester at a Middle Eastern university. In both of these cases, you will study Intensive Persian in Semester 2.

Year 4

You will continue to develop your translation and conversational skills and will write your Honours dissertation.

You will also choose from a range of option courses dealing with different aspects of Iran (including pre-Islamic Persia), Islam and the Middle East.

Programme structure

Find out more about the compulsory and optional courses in this degree programme.

To give you an idea of what you will study on this programme, we publish the latest available information. However, please note this may not be for your year of entry, but for a different academic year.

Programme structure (2019/20)

Our facilities

Teaching takes place in and around the University of Edinburgh's Central Area in a world-leading festival city bursting with cinemas, theatres, galleries, libraries and collections, including the National Library, Museum, and Galleries of Scotland.

As well as the University's excellent computing and audiovisual resources, support services and social spaces, you'll also have access to over 23,000 Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies resources in its collections, including Islamic manuscripts. We also have our own library in 19 George Square.

Study abroad

You will have the opportunity to apply for an exchange in Istanbul.

In addition, you may have the possibility of study abroad in a Persian-speaking country.

What are my options for going abroad?

How will I learn?

Experienced lecturers and language instructors will teach a combination of lectures, tutorials and language classes.

How will I be assessed?

You will be assessed by a combination of exams and coursework, including essays, exercises, presentations and oral language examinations. You will also complete a dissertation in your final year.

Programme details

Find out more about this programme's aims, what you will learn, how you will be assessed and what skills and knowledge you will develop.

To give you an idea of what to expect from this programme, we publish the latest available information. However, please note this may not be for your year of entry, but for a different academic year.

Programme details (2019/20)

Persian is the main language of more than 120 million people in the Middle East and Central Asia, ranking it among the world’s 20 most widely spoken.

An advanced understanding of Persian (known as Farsi in Iran, Dari in Afghanistan and Tajik in Tajikistan), and the cultures to which it opens doors, is an excellent primer for a range of careers in the diplomatic and civil services, non-governmental organisations, and industry.

With increasing migration in response to changing global dynamics, there is demand for Persian-speaking graduates both at home and abroad, including in translation, interpreting, the media and education.

There are also opportunities to continue studying at postgraduate level, with the honours years in particular developing the research skills you’ll need if you choose this path.

Standard entry requirement

The standard entry requirement is:

  • SQA Highers: AAAA-AAAB. BBB must be achieved in one year of S4-S6.
  • A Levels: AAB - ABB.
  • IB: 43 points with 776 at HL - 37 points with 666 at HL.

Minimum entry requirement

The minimum entry requirement for widening access applicants is:

  • SQA Highers: ABBB by end of S6. BBB must be achieved in one year of S4-S6.
  • A Levels: ABB.
  • IB: 34 points with 655 at HL.

More information for widening access applicants

Required subjects

The grades used to meet our entry requirements must include:

  • SQA: Highers: no specific Higher subjects required. National 5s: a language other than English at A and English at C.
  • A Levels: no specific A Level subjects required. GCSEs: a language other than English at A or 7 and English at C or 4.
  • IB: HL: no specific subjects required. SL: a language other than English at 6 and English at 5.

Additional requirements

Native speakers

Please note that the Persian degrees involve beginners language study and are not suitable for native or near-native speakers.

Find out more about entry requirements

International applicants

We welcome applications from students studying a wide range of international qualifications.

Entry requirements by country

International Foundation Programme

If you are an international student and your school qualifications are not accepted for direct entry to the University you may be eligible for admission to this degree programme through our International Foundation Programme.

International Foundation Programme

Mature applicants

We welcome applications from mature students and accept a range of qualifications.

Mature applicant qualifications

You must demonstrate a level of English language competency at a level that will enable you to succeed in your studies, regardless of your nationality or country of residence.

SQA, GCSE and IB

For SQA, GCSE and IB students, unless a higher level is specified in the stated entry requirements, a pass is required in English at the following grades or higher:

  • SQA National 5 at C
  • SQA Standard Grade at 3
  • SQA Intermediate 1 at A
  • SQA Intermediate 2 at C
  • GCSE/IGSCE at C or 4
  • Level 2 Certificate Grade C
  • IB Standard Level at 5 (English ab initio is not accepted for entry)

English language tests

We accept the following English language qualifications at the grades specified:

  • IELTS Academic module overall 6.5 with 5.5 in each component.
  • TOEFL-iBT 92 or above with 20 in each section. We do not accept TOEFL MyBest Score to meet our English language requirements.
  • Cambridge English: Advanced or Proficiency overall 176 with 162 in each component.
  • Trinity ISE: ISE II with a distinction in all four componens.

We also accept a wider range of international qualifications and tests.

English language qualifications must be no more than three and a half years old from the start date of the degree you are applying to study, unless you are using IELTS, TOEFL, or Trinity ISE, in which case it must be no more than two years old.

English language requirements

This information is part of a government initiative to enhance the material that higher education institutions provide about their degree programmes.

It is one of many sources of information which will enable you to make an informed decision on what and where to study.

Please note that some programmes do not have Discover Uni data available.

Tuition Fees

Tuition fees for MA Persian and Middle Eastern Studies

Additional costs

When possible, Year 3 will involve study abroad in a Persian-speaking country or at an approved institution elsewhere.

You will incur associated travel costs (flights, visas etc).

Funding

For more information on how much it will cost to study with us and the financial support available see our fees and funding information.

Fees and funding