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Department of the Languages and Cultures of the Near and Middle East

BA Persian

Programme Code: T660 BA/P Duration: 3 years


2015 Entry Requirements

  • A Levels: AAB
  • A Level language preferred
  • IB: 35 (6/6/5)
  • Access to HE: Minimum of 30 Level 3 Credits at Distinction
  • Scottish Highers: AAABB
  • Scottish Advanced Highers: AAB
  • Irish LC: 340 points from 5 Higher level subjects at grade C1 or above
  • Advanced Placement: 4 4 5 (Two semesters - UCAS Group A) plus US HSGD with GPA 3.0
  • Euro Bacc: 80%
  • French Bacc: 14/20
  • German Abitur: 2.0
  • Italy DES: 80/100
  • Austria Mat: 2.0
  • Polish Mat: Overall 75% including 3 extended level subjects

Subjects Preferred: A good pass in a foreign-language A-level, or equivalent, is preferred

Interview Policy: Candidates with "non-standard" qualifications may be invited for interview

Start of programme: September annually

This three-year programme aims to provide a good grounding in the standard spoken and written language of contemporary Iran and to provide an introduction to the main forms of classical and modern Persian literature. The course structure allows students to take one non-Persian unit a year, presenting them with an opportunity to choose from a wide variety of options dealing with the historical, cultural and religious background of Iran and the Middle East, or to learn another regional language, for example Arabic or Turkish.


Learn a language as part of this programme

Degree programmes at SOAS - including this one - can include language courses in more than forty African and Asian languages. It is SOAS students’ command of an African or Asian language which sets SOAS apart from other universities.

The single-subject degree is a three-year programme. Candidates are expected to complete twelve course units, four in each year. In the first year students begin the study of Persian language with an intensive language-learning course. A survey course on literatures of the near East and a non-language course from the list of approved options complete the year's study. In the second year the learning of Persian language continues. Two other courses introduce the study of prose and poetry. A fourth unit is chosen from the list of approved options or from the School's list of other options ("open option units"). The third year continues the study of language and literature. A fourth unit is again chosen from the list of approved options or from the School's list of other options ("open option units"). Students who enrol with a competence in Persian already equivalent to Persian language I are permitted to make up the number of language units in the syllabus from a range of Old and Middle Persian language options, e.g. Bactrian, Pahlavi, Sogdian, subject to availability

NB: Permission to take any optional course is at the discretion of the course convenor and the undergraduate tutor.

Year 1
Core Course
Compulsory Course
Optional Course

Take the following course OR another approved non-language unit from the lists of Persian related options (Lists B and C).

Year 2
Core Course
Compulsory Course
Choose one of the following
Open Option

Choose one unit from the list of Persian related options (List B or C) OR an approved open option unit.

Year 3
Core Course
Compulsory Courses
Open Option

Choose one unit from the list of Persian related options (List A,B or C) OR an approved open option unit.

List A. List of Persian-language courses
Persian courses for students on other degrees (open options)
List B. Approved options in the NME department

Please note that some of these courses will be subject to pre-requisites.

List C. Other Persian and Middle East-related courses

These are taught by the Departments of History, Study of Religions, Art and Archaeology, Music, Law, Politics and International Studies, and Economics. Before selecting a course, student's must first check that the course is at the correct level. They must also ensure that they meet any pre-requisites.

Programme Specification

Teaching & Learning

Year abroad

Under review


As a graduate who specialised in Persian, you will have gained competency in language skills and intercultural awareness and understanding. Familiarity with the region will have been developed through a study of language in combination with literature, development studies, economics, geography, history, history of art and archaeology, law, linguistics, music, politics, social anthropology or religion.

Graduates leave SOAS not only with linguistic and cultural expertise, but also with a portfolio of widely transferable skills which employers seek in many professional and management careers, both in business and in the public sector. These include written and oral communication skills, attention to detail, analytical and problem-solving skills, and the ability to research, amass and order information from a variety of sources. Some recent students have found employment in governmental institutions in Britain and elsewhere, others in non-governmental organisations, for instance, the Red Cross. Some have continued in the academic world; others have entered teaching or other professions.

For more information about Graduate Destinations from this department, please visit the Careers Service website.

A Student's Perspective

Nothing can truly describe your own personal SOAS experience, but one thing I can say is that it will be something you will remember for a lifetime and learn from not only your classes, but through life experience while being here.

Farkhanda Mohiyuddin