The Persian language program at the University of British Columbia offers courses at different levels of proficiency for learning to speak, read, and write in Persian/Farsi and to develop Persianate cultural awareness as well as courses in Iranian studies, where it dives deep into the historical and socio-cultural impact of the country.


Spoken today primarily in Iran, Afghanistan, and Tajikistan, Persian was historically more widely understood in an area ranging from the Middle East to India and exerted a strong influence on languages such as Hindi, Urdu, and Punjabi. Persian culture, religion and literature has had an extraordinary impact on Central, Southern and Western Asia as well as other cultures globally.


The program generally aims at helping learners to develop such a command of language that.

  1. Enables them to communicate with contemporary speakers in Persian speaking countries in a natural and culturally appropriate manners
  2. Enables them to read and understand Persian classical and modern literature

To meet these general aims, variety of courses are available which are suitable for the following learners:

The graduate and undergraduate students of Middle and Near Eastern Studies, or the students in other fields and majors

  1. Who are conducting research in this language or are aiming to work with Persian speakers in future.
  2.  The second and third generation speakers of Persian who are proficient in speaking and listening Persian but have various levels of proficiency in writing and reading.
  3.  Anyone interested in Persianate culture, literature (contemporary and classical), cinema with different levels of proficiency.
  4. Students who are aiming to take Persian to meet their language requirements.

N.B. 1

All our courses offer a proficiency-based curriculum based on an eclectic communicative approach which introduces students to both colloquial and formal Persian from the beginning.

N.B. 2

Students who would like to take Persian to meet college language requirements need to complete either PERS 104 (Elementary reading and Writing for Heritage Learners) or PERS 201 (Intermediate-Low Persian II).

Note that being able to speak Persian does not automatically exempt one from taking Persian language courses. To meet the requirement for graduation, one needs to take a placement test and demonstrate the minimum pre-intermediate qualification in all 4 skills.

Other than the absolute beginner course (PERS100), students should take a placement test before choosing a course. To inquire about the Persian placement exam, take the placement and further inquiries about the Persian Program please contact Dr. Hessam Dehghani.

Placement Tests

Students are not required to take placement tests or interviews for the Persian language program.