Shapoorji Pallonji Institute of Zoroastrian Studies

Zoroastrianism Summer Course

Key information

One week
Attendance mode
Norwegian Institute, Rome
Entry requirements

An undergraduate or postgraduate student, or a graduate, at the time of attending the summer school, and 18+ years of age. The course is open to those wishing to take credit towards a Master’s programme. For this reason we will prioritise students who are currently enrolled in a degree programme.

See English language requirements

Course overview

The third Zoroastrian Summer School took place last from 26 to 30 June 2023.

A collaboration between SOAS and the University of Bergen, we welcomed 15 students to the Norwegian Institute in Rome for a week of lectures, seminars and workshops. The course was taught by Dr Sarah Stewart (SOAS), Professor Michael Stausberg (University of Bergen) and Dr Jenny Rose (Claremont University). The lectures covered topics including Zoroastrianism and modern Iranian nationalism, the rediscovery of ancient Iran in the modern period, and Zoroastrian themes in Persian literature.

The course also involved an excursion to the Mithraeum, a temple dedicated to the Indo-Iranian god Mithras, deep below the Basilica San Clemente. The students and lecturers also enjoyed a traditional Persian meal at the Taberna Persiana.

The students included undergraduates, postgraduates and graduates from around the world. We would like to thank all of them for the experiences, insights and enthusiasm that they brought to the course.

We hope to hold another summer school next year. If you are interested in attending, please sign up to our mailing list to be the first to hear about how to apply!


Undergraduate students are required to complete the free online course (MOOC) Zoroastrianism: History, Religion, and Belief prior to attending the summer school. Postgraduate students are required to complete the MOOC as well as essential reading (details of which will be provided to successful applicants).

How to apply

Applications for next year's course have not opened yet. Please sign up to our mailing list to be the first to hear details for next year's course.

Teaching and learning

Convenors and tutors

Professor Michael Stausberg (Univ. of Bergen) and Dr Sarah Stewart (SOAS) are the course convenors and share the teaching together with one other academic, Dr Jenny Rose from Claremont University, California.


This course offers 15 UK credits (7.5 ECTS) towards a SOAS master’s degree.

If you intend to claim credits from your home institution, please check the requirements with them before you enrol. We will be happy to assist you in any way we can, however please be aware that the decision to award credits rests with your home institution.

Contact hours

30 hours comprising 13 hours of lectures, 13 hours of seminars and 4 hours of practical classes and workshops.


  • Assignment 1: Classroom presentation of an essay in English of 1,000 words. The essay/ presentation will be based on an assigned interview from Vol. 2 of Voices from Zoroastrian Iran that will be sent to students in May. The presentation should be written prior to attending the teaching sessions..
  • Assignment 2: 2,000 (undergraduate) or 2,500 (master’s/graduate) word essay in English on a different topic than the classroom presentation. The topic will have to be approved by the convenor. The paper will be submitted five weeks after the end of the course.

Learning outcomes

By the end of the course, the participants shall have gained the following learning outcomes in terms of knowledge, skill, and general competence.


  • gained knowledge on a selected aspect of Zoroastrianism
  • obtained knowledge on matters of theory and method related to the study of Zoroastrianism.


  • ability to present results of reading to the class.
  • ability to write a coherent analytical text on a given topic.
  • able to use the standard techniques of academic writing.

General competence

  • able to interact with students from other countries
  • able to actively participate in classroom discussions on unfamiliar topics.

Fees and funding


There are no tuition fees, and only a £40 registration fee for successful applicants.

We are pleased to offer three bursaries of up to £1,000 to help with the costs of travel and accommodation. In order to apply for a bursary, please complete the bursary section of the course application form.