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 Persian program is comprised of those interested in classical and modern Persian language and culture, professionals who need to communicate in Persian in their jobs, and heritage learners (individuals who have familial or cultural ties with Persian-Speaking countries who would like to know more about their own language and culture). To address the needs of such a diverse body of students the Persian language program offers two streams, heritage and non-heritage, as well as regular proficiency, and placement tests.

New students*

  • Non-heritage students should register in PERS 100.
  • Heritage students should register in PERS 104 or attend a placement interview to see what course they qualify for.
  • Those who have studied Persian in high school in Iran or Afghanistan, can take any 400-level course. Do not register for a 300-level course.
    • These courses are all in Persian and no English papers or assignments are required for them.
  • Those who can speak Persian and can read and write well, but have not done high school in Iran can take PERS 300 or attend a placement interview.
  • Those who can speak Persian, know the alphabet and have a very basic reading and writing skills, should register for PERS 200 or attend a placement interview.

*Please note well that if you do not follow the placement procedure, it will be at the discretion of the instructor to ask you to change your class.

UBC Continuing Students

Students who have successfully completed a Persian language course should proceed with the next level course(s). We strongly recommend taking the following pairs of courses consecutively in the same academic year:

  • PERS 100/101, PERS 200/201, PERS 300/310

Placement Tests

Some students are required to take an Oral Proficiency Interview (OPI) and attend an advising session both hosted by the Persian Language Program for placement purposes. Otherwise, some students may register for a course appropriate to their level without the interview.

For all questions specifically for booking an OPI, Persian courses (PERS), and if you have any doubts about your proficiency level or need advising regarding the best course for you and your course schedule, please do not hesitate to contact Dr. Hessam Dehghani through email at

Emails should include your full name and student number in the title. If your inquiry is about a certain course, add the course code in the title as well. You may experience delays if the email title convention is not followed.

Please allow between 2 -5 business days before sending in another email with the same inquiry.

You are REQUIRED to take an OPI and attend a placement advising session if you:

  1. Can hold some conversations with family and friends in Persian.
  2. Have prior knowledge in the Persian language (through self-study, living or studying in Iran or Afghanistan for an extended period, watching movies and shows in Persian, reading news or stories, etc.)

The OPI and advising will be held online lasting between 15-30 minutes. When you have your appointed time, you can join the advising session using the following link.

Students will be seen on a first-come, first-served basis.
Test your mic and camera while you are in the Zoom waiting room.

You are NOT REQUIRED to take a placement test if you:

  1. Are a continuing UBC student who has successfully completed a PERSIAN (PERS) prerequisite course. In that case, you may proceed to register for the next higher level.
  2. Are a new student that has studied Persian at a BC high school. In that case, you may skip PERS 100/101/200 and register for PERS 201. If you have completed PERSIAN 12, you may skip PERS 100-201 and register for any course at 300 level.
  3. Are a new student with no prior Persian language background in which case you should register for PERS 100.

Important notes

  1. To ensure that you register yourself in a course appropriate for your level, make sure to attend an advising session/placement test before your registration date.
  2. Although a recommendation will be given by the advisor on the advising/placement test day listed above, a student may be placed at another level at the discretion of the course instructor after classes have begun. In such a case, space will be guaranteed in the appropriate course.
  3. If you are unable to attend any advising session or take a placement exam during the summer, you should try to register into a course you think is most appropriate for your level. However, if you are referred to another course at the discretion of the instructor at the beginning of term, a space will not be guaranteed.