Undergraduate study - 2022 entry
Open to the world

MA Persian Studies

UCAS code: T633

Duration: 4 years

Delivery: Full-time

School: Literatures, Languages and Cultures

College: Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences

Study abroad

Introducing MA Persian 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 Iran's historical, literary, cultural and political life, 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, together with Arabic, Turkish, Islam, and the Middle East.

Year 1

You will study basic Persian grammar, vocabulary and conversational skills. You will also take courses in Islamic history, and in modern Middle Eastern history.

You'll complete your studies with two option courses, either from IMES or from other subject areas. You could, for example, opt to study an additional Middle Eastern language - Arabic or Turkish - as well as another course from a wide range offered by the University of Edinburgh.

Year 2

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

You could study, or continue to study, an additional Middle Eastern Language, and/or choose from a wide range of discursive option courses offered by IMES and the University of Edinburgh.

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. Options may include a semester on exchange at a Middle Eastern university.

If international travel is not possible, you will be offered alternative ways of engaging with Persian. This will allow you to meet your learning outcomes and prepare for your final year.

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.

Our facilities

Teaching takes place in and around the University of Edinburgh's Central Area, where we have excellent:

  • computing and audiovisual resources
  • support services
  • social spaces

You will also have access to over 23,000 Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies resources in our collections, including Islamic manuscripts.

We have our own library in 19 George Square, and our partnership with IMVBox.com gives you access to over 1,000 Iranian films.

The city

Edinburgh is a world-leading festival city filled with cinemas, theatres, galleries, libraries and collections, including the National Library, Museum, and Galleries of Scotland.

Study abroad

If international travel restrictions allow, you may have the option to study abroad in a Persian-speaking country, or at an approved institution elsewhere.

What are my options for going abroad?

How will I learn?

Experienced lecturers and language instructors will teach a combination of:

  • lectures
  • tutorials
  • language classes

How will I be assessed?

You will be assessed using a combination of exams and coursework, including:

  • essays
  • exercises
  • presentations
  • 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 (2021/22)

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, and the cultures to which it opens doors, is an excellent primer for a range of careers in:

  • industry
  • civil service
  • diplomatic service
  • non-governmental organisations

Increasing migration and changing global dynamics have created high demand for Persian-speaking graduates, both at home and abroad. This includes roles in:

  • media
  • translation
  • interpreting
  • education

Further study

There are opportunities to continue studying at postgraduate level. Year 4 will help you to develop the research skills needed if you choose this path.

Standard entry requirement

The standard entry requirement is:

  • SQA Highers: AAAA-AABB by end of S5 or AAAA-AAAB by end of S6. BBB must be achieved in one year of S4-S6.
  • A Levels: AAB - ABB.
  • IB: 36 points with 665 at HL - 34 points with 655 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.

Language requirement

For degrees that have a subject requirement of a language other than English, students may not use their own native language to meet this requirement. In these instances, English or an alternative language other than native will be acceptable.

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 (including Special Home Edition) 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 components.

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 Studies

Additional costs

If international travel restrictions allow, Year 3 will involve study abroad in a Persian-speaking country or an approved institution elsewhere. You will be responsible for associated travel costs such as flights and visas.

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