Have questions about Persian courses, placement tests, or study abroad?  Email Persian Language Coordinator, Sassan Tabatabai (stabat67@bu.edu), to set up a Zoom meeting with a faculty member in the program.

At BU, students can study five semesters of Persian language in small classes and pursue further study on an individual basis. Studying Persian has been a valuable and fun experience for many students at BU. There is a Persian Student Cultural club that organizes various cultural activities on campus and acts as a liaison to other local organizations

Persian is one of the important languages of the Middle East and Central Asia. It is known as Farsi in Iran, Dari in Afghanistan and Tajik in Tajikistan. It has about 62 million native speakers, ranking it among the world’s 20 most widely spoken first languages; another 50 million or more speak it as a second language.

As an Indo-European language, Persian is not related to Arabic, though it is written in a variety of the same alphabet. Its relatives are the languages of northern India and, more distantly, major European languages including English.

Studying Persian provides an entry into a rich and diverse culture that has produced major epic and Sufi poets such as Ferdowsi, Rumi and Hafez, exquisite miniature painting, fine carpets and world-class films. Since Persian has not changed significantly in over a millennium, the basic grammar for the classical and modern forms of the language is virtually the same and is relatively easy to learn.

In the program, students can begin to read both classical poets and modern short stories and poetry in the original, and watch Iranian films. Both BBC and VOA have extensive Persian programs and reports online that allow students to practice their listening and reading skills and become acquainted with the three main varieties of the language: Farsi, Dari and Tajik.

Until just a century ago, Persian was also the cultural lingua franca in South Asia and is thus important for the study of the history of that region.

A complete list of Persian language, literature and culture courses is available on the CAS Bulletin or on our all courses webpage.

While there is no freestanding Persian major, students are encouraged to build a major around their Persian language studies through Middle Eastern and South Asian Languages and Literatures or the Pardee School’s MENA Studies.


Persian Degree Program

Persian in the HUB

Placement Test and Language Credit

Past Events