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.



St Andrews does not offer a single Honours degree in Persian. Find out more about studying Persian at undergraduate level at St Andrews.



Middle Eastern Literary and Cultural Studies MLitt
Comparative Literature MLitt
Cultural Identity Studies 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 East Society host regular social events including dinners, themed nights, shisha evenings and film screenings. In addition, the Iranian Cultural Society is a student-run society which hosts themed nights with music and film screenings.

Visit St Andrews

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


Autumn visiting days

Booking for our autumn visiting days will open in early September 2018.

  • Wednesday 26 September 2018
  • Wednesday 3 October 2018
  • Wednesday 17 October 2018
  • Wednesday 24 October 2018
  • Wednesday 31 October 2018

Sign up


Upcoming visiting days:

  • Wednesday 14 November 2018

Sign up

Persian research areas

The Department of Arabic and Persian has well-established links throughout the University as a whole, and especially with the degree programme of Middle East Studies within the School of History. The Department also has research collaborations with with the School of History in the Institute of Iranian Studies, and 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.

Persian research centres and institutes

There are three research centres and institutes at St Andrews related to Persian:

The IIS encourages and facilitates research and teaching in all aspects of Iranian civilisation and culture.

The Institute promotes a wider knowledge of the Middle East, Central Asia and Caucasus locales.

The CSTPV is dedicated to the study of the causes, dynamics, characteristics and consequences of terrorism and related forms of political violence.

The Forum aspires to encourage the application of the evolving approaches to the study of culture to the history of artistic production in Iran.

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 £7,500 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 at the University of St Andrews invites applications for one fully-funded PhD scholarship (fees plus £10,000 per annum maintenance) to be awarded from the beginning of session 2017-2018.

Funding for PhD students


University league tables

Middle Eastern studies at St Andrews was ranked top in the UK by The Times and Sunday Times University Guide 2017 and fourth in the UK by the Complete University Guide 2017 for teaching and research quality, student experience, and graduate prospects.

The School of Modern Languages was ranked top in Scotland by the Guardian University Guide 2017.


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