SOAS University of London

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

BA Persian and ... (2019 entry)

Select year of entry: 2019

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At SOAS the study of Persian can be combined with an unparalleled range of disciplines and languages. All combined-honours degrees in Persian expose students to at least three years' intensive study of Persian language.

Since its foundation Persian and Iranian studies have been a mainstay of the academic profile of SOAS. As a major centre of Middle Eastern Studies in the UK, SOAS provides an ideal and unique environment for the study of not only the official languages of Iran but many disciplines that together provide the students with a comprehensive overview of the country and its neighbours.

The four-year two subject honours degree in Persian and Another Subject at SOAS offers the students the opportunity to achieve an advanced level of linguistic competence in Persian in combination with a selection of other disciplines or languages listed above.

Furthermore, the introduction of the year abroad in Iran will enable the students to become fluent in the formal and learned as well as the modern Persian vernacular, while experiencing the culture and traditions of one of the most vibrant and significant countries of the middle east. The presence of expertise in Iranian studies related disciplines at almost every other academic department at SOAS, as well as an active Centre for Iranian Studies further enhances this programme.

Key Information Set Data

The information for BA, BSc, or LLB programmes refer to data taken from the single subject degrees offered at SOAS; however, due to the unique nature of our programmes many subjects have a separate set of data when they are studied alongside another discipline.  In order to get a full picture of their chosen subject(s) applicants are advised to look at both sets of information where these occur.

Venue: Russell Square: College Buildings

Start of programme: September annually

Mode of Attendance: Full-time

Entry requirements

  • Languages at SOAS are taught ab initio, and no prior knowledge is required. A foreign language at A-level or equivalent is preferred but not essential.
  • Subjects Preferred: A-level or equivalent in a foreign language is preferred
  • Interview Policy: Candidates with "non-standard" qualifications may be invited for interview

Featured events

4 years


Please see the Unistats data for the various combinations of this programme under the Combinations tab.


May be combined with:

+ Compulsory Year Abroad is split between 2 countries
* Taught at University College, London (Apply to UCL only)

Key Information Set data

Click on a combined programme to load KIS data


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.

BA Persian and Another Subject is a 4-year degree that gives students the opportunity to study the language of Iran and a wider Persian speaking world from ab initio to advanced levels in four years and to learn about the literary traditions of the Persianate sphere of influence, in parallel with learning either another language, such as Arabic or Turkish, or a discipline that will give them a broader context of, for example, the History of Art and Archaeology, Religions and Philosophies, History, Politics, Music, Law, Economics and Anthropology of the region.

The programme structure varies depending on whether Persian is combined with another language or a discipline.

When combined with a discipline, students take an equal number of modules in both named subjects, i.e. Year 1 students begin with the module for the intensive study of modern Persian language (known to native, Iranian speakers as Farsi), while taking two other modules in their second subject.

Year 2 will be spent in Iran under the Compulsory Year Abroad Programme, currently in partnership with Ferdowsi University, Mashhad, where students will continue to study Persian intensively, as well as taking advantage of the many comparative literature and art history modules available to them.

In Year 3, back at SOAS, students will continue with the study of advanced Persian language and will take a literature module in addition to two modules in their other subject.

In Year 4 students will consolidate their Persian proficiency by taking the Translation into and From Persian module and a further three modules from a list of options related to Persian or Iranian studies, or to their second subject.

Year 1
Core Module

This module must be passed in order to proceed to the following year of study.

Module Code Credits Term
Intensive Persian Language 155901242 60 Full Year
Other Subject

60 credits are taken in the second subject.

Year 2
Language Year Abroad in Iran (Compulsory)

Students will spend their Year Abroad at Ferdowsi University in Mashhad.

Year 3
Core Module

This module must be passed in order to proceed to the following year of study.

Module Code Credits Term
Persian 3 155900802 30 Full Year
Compulsory Module
Module Code Credits Term
Classical Persian Poetry 155901372 15 Term 1
Year 4
Core Module

This module must be passed in order to proceed to the following year of study.

Choose module(s) to the value of 30 credits from List B or List C

Optional Modules

Choose one of the following modules:

Guided option

Module(s) to the value of 30 credits from List B or C or other approved module


30 credits are taken in the second subject.


Either 30 credits are taken from the second subject or an open option.

  • Language Open Option Modules
  • Non-Language Open Option Modules
List A: List of Persian-language modules
Module Code Credits Term
Intensive Persian Language 155901242 60 Full Year
Persian 3 155900802 30 Full Year
Classical Persian Poetry 155901372 15 Term 1
List B: Approved options in the NME department

Please note that some of these modules will be subject to prerequisites and availability. Always check with the programme convenor.

Module Code Credits Term
Introduction to Arabic Culture 155901205 15 Term 1
Contemporary Middle East Fiction A: Identity and Belonging 155906727 15 Term 1
Introduction To Israeli Culture 155900947- 15
Islamic Philosophy 155901338 15 Term 2
Cinemas of the Middle East and North Africa 1 155905000 15 Term 1
Cinemas of the Middle East and North Africa 2 155905001 15 Term 2
Middle Persian 158000183 30 Full Year
List C: Other Persian and Middle East-related modules

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 module, student's must first check that the module is at the correct level. They must also ensure that they meet any pre-requisites.

Module Code Credits Term
H130 Introduction to the Early History of the Middle East 154800230 15 Term 2
Islam: Religion and Rationality 158000189 15 Term 2
The Zoroastrian Flame 158000187 15 Term 2
Developments in Muslim Religious Thought 158000188 15 credits (0.5 unit)
Messianic Movements in Muslim History 158000149 15 credits (0.5 unit)
R490 Zoroastrianism in the Ancient and Modern Worlds 158000029 30 Full Year
Shi'a Islam: Religious Authority and Community Identity 158000147 30 credits
Themes in the Art and Archaeology of the Near and Middle East 154900101 15 Term 2
Islamic Art and Architecture of Medieval Iran and Central Asia (10th-13th centuries) 154900188 15 Term 2
Mosque and Palace in the Muslim World 154900187 15 Term 1
Islamic Law 155200037 30 Full Year
Government and politics of the Middle East 153400060 30 Full Year
International Relations of the Middle East 153400081 30 Full Year

Programme Specification

Important notice

The information on the programme page reflects the intended programme structure against the given academic session. If you are a current student you can find structure information on the previous year link at the top of the page or through your Department. Please read the important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules.

Teaching and Learning

Year abroad

SOAS Persian Language Year Abroad

Year 2 will be spent in Iran under the Compulsory Year Abroad Programme, currently in partnership with Ferdowsi University, Mashhad, where students will continue to study Persian intensively, as well as taking advantage of the many comparative literature and art history modules available to them. (Full name of the institute: Ferdowsi Centre for Teaching Persian to Non-Persian Speakers, Ferdowsi University, Mashhad (

For students studying Persian with Turkish or Arabic, please visit the relevant webpage for details on the Year Abroad.

Teaching & Learning

Contact Hours

All full-time undergraduate programmes consist of 120 credits per year, taught in modules of 30 credits (taught over 20 weeks) or 15 credits (taught over 10 weeks). The programme structure shows which modules are compulsory and which optional.

As a rough guide, 1 credit equals approximately 10 hours of work. Most of this will be independent study (see Approaches to teaching and learning at SOAS). It will also include class time, which may include lectures, seminars and other classes. Some subjects, such as learning a language, have more class time than others.

In the School of Languages, Cultures and Linguistics, undergraduate modules take various forms. Modules may be taught through 1 or 2 hours of lectures a week, and some may have an additional 1-2 hours of weekly seminars. Languages classes may be 4-5 hours per week in the first and second year, typically less at higher levels.

More information is on the page for each module.


  • Advanced Knowledge of written and spoken Persian and another Language if applicable.
  • A coherent, in-depth and detailed knowledge of Persian culture in its historical and contemporary context
  • An in-depth knowledge and understanding of history, politics, societies and traditions of the region.
  • Intercultural awareness and understanding.
  • Key methods and concepts of linguistic, literary and cultural analysis.

Intellectual (thinking) skills

  • Ability to identify, describe and analyse problems and devise and sustain appropriate strategies for their resolution.
    Communicate information, ideas and arguments cogently and coherently both orally and in writing with due regard for the target audience.
  • Oral and written application of linguistic and literary concepts and methods of inquiry.
    Gather, process and evaluate information, critically and from a non-Eurocentric perspective.
  • Ability to structure and manage independent learning and to make use of scholarly and other primary sources related to Iran, Persian and the wider Persianate world.
  • Appreciate the uncertainty, ambiguity and limits of knowledge

Subject-based practical skills

  • Gather, sift, process and evaluate information from a variety of print, audio-visual and electronic sources.
  • Communicate orally and in writing in Persian, fluently, effectively and appropriately with grammatical accuracy and idiomatic knowledge with native and other competent speakers.
  • Read and understand modern Persian to an advanced level of proficiency.
    Contextualize and comment satisfactorily on Persian texts from a variety of sources from medieval to modern print and digital media.
  • Demonstrate a good level of knowledge and understanding of the structures, registers and varieties of Persian.
  • Demonstrate a broad knowledge and, using appropriate methodologies, a critical understanding of the culture, politics, history, religion and society of Iran and other Persian speaking countries.
  • Demonstrate an in-depth knowledge and useful understanding of the linguistic principles required to analyse Persian.
  • Plan, undertake and produce a bibliographically based piece of research on a topic within the broader spectrum of Persian language, literature or culture if the option of an ISP is selected.
  • Adapt to diverse situations, customs and traditions by living and studying in Iran.

Transferable skills

The programme will encourage and equip students to:

  • Gather, process and evaluate information efficiently from a variety of paper, audio-visual and digital sources.
  • Structure and communicate ideas effectively and with clarity, both orally and in writing.
  • Use IT effectively both as a means of communication and as an aid to learning.
  • Manage time and work to deadlines.
  • Work independently.
  • Be self-reliant, confident and make judgments on complex issues.
  • Assess the relevance and importance of others’ ideas and develop an understanding of relativity of cultures and traditional attitudes.
  • Participate constructively in groups.


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. Choosing to study a joint degree programme will increase the breadth of your knowledge, and will develop additional skills with which to further your studies of the region, or to make comparative study with other areas. The study of Persian may be combined with a huge range of other disciplines. For more information on the extra skills you will gain from your second subject, please see the relevant departmental page.

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

A Student's Perspective

My course and the department is fantastic, and the lecturers go the extra mile to help you out

Yumna Islam

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