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Course and Year Abroad

Persian Studies at Cambridge

At Cambridge, Persian Studies may be taught as part of the BA in Middle Eastern Studies, or in combination with a Modern European language.

First Year (Part IA)

During your first year, the following papers are offered as part of the BA in Middle Eastern Studies: Elementary Persian Language , Introduction to the History and Culture of the Middle East, Introduction to the Contemporary Middle East.

You may choose to take all of these papers, or you may opt to combine your studies in Persian with another Middle Eastern Language. Options for combining study of the Persian language with a Modern Language are outlined [here].

Second Year (Part IB)

In your second year, the following papers are offered as part of the BA in Middle Eastern Studies: Intermediate Persian, Literary Persian, The Formation of Islam, The Formation of the Middle East and Contemporary Middle Eastern Politics and Society.

You may combine a selection of these papers with other options from the Middle Eastern Studies Tripos offered by the Department of Middle Eastern Studies, the Department of Linguistics and the Faculty of Divinity. Options for continuing your Persian language studies alongside papers from the Modern Languages Tripos are outlined [here]

Third Year (Part II: Year Abroad)

The object of the year abroad is to greatly develop your competence in the language and your understanding of the society and culture within which it is used. It is also the time to start work on a dissertation, on a topic of your choosing within the range that the Department can supervise. All year abroad plans need approval by the Faculty Board. Please note students for 2017 entry exact details of the year abroad are still being finalised.

If you are studying towards the BA in Middle Eastern Studies, you are normally required to spend eight months in a Middle Eastern country. If you are studying Persian as a whole subject, you are required to spend eight months in a Persian-speaking country. If you are combining Persian with Arabic or Hebrew, you are required to spend at least four months in an Arabic-speaking country and at least three months in Israel or Iran, or an equivalent deemed appropriate, unless you are from a Hebrew- or Persian-speaking background.

Most commonly, students spend three months at a university in Iran, either Tehran or Esfahan. It is often hard to get a visa for more than three months, and students combining with Arabic or Hebrew spend the rest of the year in a country relevant to those languages. Occasionally, entry into Iran is impossible, so students then spend time in Tajikistan, or sometimes study Persian elsewhere.

If you are combining a Middle Eastern language with a Modern language, you are normally required to spend the full eight months in the Middle East. You are not required to spend any time in a country relevant to your European language.

Fourth Year (Part II: Dissertation and Finals)

The two-year course in Part II consists of advanced-level language teaching, plus a number of special subject options. These options reflect the research interests of the teaching staff, and will give you an opportunity to study a particular subject within Persian Studies at a high level of detail. A dissertation of 12,000 words, usually connected with your special subject paper, is also a requirement.