Although it is more commonly offered as a doctoral program, there are a couple of master's degree programs available in Iranian studies. Typically titled 'Persian and Iranian Studies', these degree programs explore the history, culture, language and other factors of the Iranian- and Persian-speaking societies. Here we discuss the master's degree program and common characteristics.
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Information for Master's Degree Programs in Iranian Studies
Usually offered as a Master of Arts degree program, master's degree programs in Persian and Iranian studies commonly require a thesis in addition to coursework. Specific course titles may vary by institution, but here we look at some of the common core courses that explore topics in Iranian literature, history and language.
Media in Middle East
Courses in various areas of media from the Middle East typically focus on further developing students' reading, writing and critical thinking skills. These courses may have students analyze Persian newspapers, movies and broadcast media to further explore the culture and society of the Middle East. Students may also discuss the media's role and influence in social change.
Some classical literature courses may be tied in with history courses that cover a particular time period, while others perform a large overview of historical writings and authors. Students may explore Persian Sufi literature and/or works from Hafiz and Rudaki. Due to the heavy emphasis on reading, some of these courses may require advanced Persian language abilities.
Society in Middle East
Students typically learn about the society and culture in the Middle East through courses that discuss various writings and modern films. These courses are designed to further develop students' writing, critical reading and analysis skills as they evaluate writings and research performed by different professionals concerning the culture. Students may explore a variety of topics, including religious beliefs, gender roles, social structures and more.
Students in the program are usually required to take multiple courses at the elementary, intermediate and advanced levels in the Persian language. These courses help students further develop their vocabulary in the Persian language and practice their reading, writing and grammar skills. Students also practice listening and speaking the language through class discussions and practice conversations.
Modern Literature of the Middle East
As the name implies, students in these courses explore modern pieces of literature, including poetry, novels and short stories. Some of these courses may be broken into specific topics, like gender issues or literature of identity, and may also examine the influence of Western culture in literature. Students may need advanced language skills to read works from authors like Nima, Hedayat and Forugh.
Common Entrance Requirements
Most master's degree programs in Persian and Iranian studies require applicants to include a statement of purpose, letters of recommendation, a writing sample, GRE scores and official transcripts in their application. Some programs may also like to have students submit a current resume or CV. Programs may require students to have a minimum undergraduate GPA in the 3.0 to 3.4 range. Although it is not usually required, some programs may recommend that applicants already have at least two years of study in the language.
Master's degree programs in Iranian studies are not very common, but are available as Master of Arts in Persian and Iranian Studies degree programs. Students in the program usually complete a thesis and study the Persian language and literature in depth.