Modern Persian is a creative, flexible language which has established itself as the national language of such geopolitically and economically important countries as Iran, Afghanistan and Tajikistan. It is also spoken in several neighbouring countries and in major migrant communities.

Persian studies at St Andrews emphasise modern language, literature, drama, visual culture and cinema, but students are also given the opportunity to familiarise themselves with classical literary and historical texts.



Although St Andrews does not offer a single Honours degree in Persian, you can take Persian as part of a joint Honours degree with a vast range of other subjects. Find out more about studying Persian at undergraduate level at St Andrews.

Postgraduate - 2020 entry


Modern Languages MLitt
Iranian Studies MLitt
Middle East, Caucasus and Central Asian Security Studies MLitt 
Middle Eastern History MLitt

Research degree

The School of Modern Languages offers a Master of Studies by Research (MSt (Res)). Find out more about the MSt (Res)


Please contact a supervisor in your research area to inquire about PhD opportunities.

Student life

The Department of Arabic and Persian has approximately 90 to 100 undergraduate students joining the Department each year with growing postgraduate numbers. The student-run Middle Eastern Society hosts regular social events including dinners, themed nights, shisha evenings and film screenings. 

Visit St Andrews


If you are interested in studying at St Andrews, join us at a visiting day or talk and tour to explore the town, find out about our courses and meet current students.

Upcoming visiting days:

  • Wednesday 1 April 2020
  • Wednesday 8 April 2020
  • Wednesday 15 April 2020

Visit us


Upcoming visiting days:

  • Wednesday 11 March 2020

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Persian research areas

The Department of Arabic and Persian has well-established links throughout the University, and especially with the undergraduate degree programme of Middle East Studies within the School of History.

The Department also has research collaborations with the School of History in the Institute of Iranian Studies and with the School of International Relations in the Centre for the Study of Terrorism and Political Violence and the Institute of Middle East, Central Asia and Caucasus Studies.

Research staff:

  • Dr Saeed Talajooy: translation, postcolonial, performance and film theories; comparative studies of Persian literature and world literature in English.

Careers for graduates in Persian

Students of Persian pursue careers in:

  • government
  • international relations
  • the private sector
  • the oil industry
  • banking
  • multinational companies
  • journalism
  • peacemaking
  • academia
  • museum curatorship.

The Careers Centre offers one-to-one advice to all students and offers a programme of events to assist students to build their employability skills.

Employable skills

By studying a degree in Persian, you will gain the following skills:

  • read, write, listen to and speak in the Persian language
  • effectively use reference materials
  • develop analytical, critical and specialist skills that can be used in other contexts
  • appreciation and openness towards other cultures
  • deploy skills in ICT, note taking and summarising, library research, mediation, analysis and problem solving.

Funding opportunities

The University of St Andrews offers a range of funding opportunities at every level of study.


Various scholarships are available to prospective undergraduate students. 

Undergraduate scholarships


Santander Universities scholarships

The School of Modern Languages is offering two £5,000 scholarships, awarded on the basis academic merit and financial need, to those applying for an MLitt programme in Modern Languages.

Forum for Modern Languages Studies Scholarship

The School of Modern Languages is offering two £9,000 scholarships in an open competition to applicants who have been admitted to any one of the MLitt programmes offered by the School.

Postgraduate taught scholarships

PhD students

The School of Modern Languages offers a number of PhD scholarships and funding opportunities

Funding for PhD students


University league tables

The School of Modern Languages was ranked top in Scotland by the Guardian University Guide 2020, and Middle Eastern Studies at St Andrews was ranked top in the UK by the Complete University Guide 2020

REF 2014

In the most recent Research Excellence Framework assessment, the School of Modern Languages was ranked first in Scotland on the quality of publications, with over 70% of research work rated as world-leading and internationally excellent.


Department of Arabic and Persian
University of St Andrews
Buchanan Building
Union Street
St Andrews
KY16 9PH

Phone: +44 (0)1334 46 3563

Persian website  Persian research portal