Two-subject Bachelor’s degree in Iranian Studies (B.A.)




What does the B.A. program of Iranian Studies entail?

The B.A. program provides students first with a sound knowledge of modern Persian. The aim is to ensure that they acquire good oral skills by the end of the course, but are also capable of working on Persian texts unaided. The language training places emphasis on practical skills so that graduates can hold an everyday conversation in Persian as well as talk about specialist topics. Acquiring reading and text comprehension skills is equally important, as they are essential for a further academic career. Besides modern texts on everyday topics, this includes reading works of literature from the pre-modern age.

Secondly, basic knowledge about Iran and adjacent areas is gained in the program. The introductory lecture gives an overview of Iran‘s history and religions stretching from its beginnings up to the present. In seminars, examples of specific aspects of the society, religion, politics, history, the media and literature will be discussed. Excursions also take place at irregular intervals for students to experience Iran live.

An important third learning objective is acquiring methodological and theoretical knowledge. This enables students to examine texts critically and contextualize them against the historical background independently. They learn to use the most important tools for this and are given practical guidance in writing their own texts and presenting results.

A specialization in B.A. studies according to interests is possible through the choice of the subject combination, the focal topic in term and seminar papers, by the corresponding combination of elective and imported modules, and in self-study.

Moreover, the PONS program provides the opportunity to study at another German university for one to two semesters, and thereby to pursue interests or foci that are not offered in Göttingen: pons-geisteswissenschaften.de/iranistik


How is the study program structured?

Studies start in the winter semester only. The standard period of study is six semesters. At the end of each semester, the courses taken conclude with an exam and, if passed, credits are awarded for the workload. During the program, altogether a minimum of 66 credits must be obtained in the subject Iranian Studies; a further 66 credits in the combination subject; 36 credits, for example, for specialized profile development and key competencies modules; and 12 credits for the bachelor’s thesis. A total of 180 credits is therefore needed to complete the studies.


What do I have to study?
(compulsory modules)

  • Introduction to Iranian Cultural History (12 C) – Outline of the history, culture and religions of the Iranian peoples in the pre-Islamic and Islamic periods.
  • Introduction to Modern Persian I (9 C) – Basic knowledge of Persian grammar, ability to read and translate simple texts, and general knowledge of the region; acquiring active spoken and written language skills.
  • Introduction to Modern Persian II (9 C) – Basic features of the Persian vernacular and the main differences in grammar between the written and spoken language; acquiring practical language skills for everyday conversation in Persian.
  • Advanced Course Persian I (9 C) – Intensified Persian language skills, knowledge of Persian grammatical expressions, introduction to modern Persian literature.
  • Advanced Course Persian II (9 C) – Writing more complex texts in Persian, advanced oral skills, introduction to pre-modern Persian literature.
  • Kurdish Language I (6 C) – Basic knowledge of Kurdish grammar, ability to read and translate simple texts.


What else should I study?
(elective modules)

Additional modules must be selected from the following electives and successfully completed to earn a total of 12 credits:

  • Analytical Methods in Iranian Studies (12 C)
  • Literature and the Media in Iranian Societies (12 C)
  • The Religious Traditions of Iranian Peoples (6 C)
  • Contemporary Iranian Culture, Media and Society (6 C)
  • Kurdish Language II (6 C)
  • Kurdish III: Kurdish-language Media (6 C)

This basic program is supplemented by additional courses that are not held regularly. They include instruction in an Old or Middle Iranian language and an introduction to the art and archaeology of Iran. Excursions also take place occasionally.

Instead of these modules, you can also take courses from other fields, such as Islamic Studies, Ancient Oriental Studies, Ethnology, Indology, Sociology or Linguistics. But not if they are already a component part of the second B.A. subject.


What further options do I have?

In addition to the core curriculum, students can earn another 18 credits in the area of Iranian Studies as a specialized profile by selecting further modules totaling 18 credits from the electives named above; and for students with a very good command of Persian, the following modules are offered besides:

  • Didactics of Persian (3 C)
  • Technical Language/Translation I (6 C)
  • Technical Language/Translation II (6 C)

Moreover, numerous key competencies can be acquired in external subjects, e.g. other languages like Hindi, French or Russian, and many more.


Which other subject can I combine with Iranian Studies?

There are no specifications regarding the combination of subjects studied in the two-subject Bachelor program. Subjects frequently combined with Iranian Studies are, for example: Cultural Anthropology, Ethnology, Gender Studies, Arabic Studies/Islamic Studies, Turkology, Indology, Egyptology, Religious Studies, General Linguistics, History, Political Science, Sociology, Archaeology, Ancient Near Eastern Studies… and many others!


What are my career options after graduation?

A wide range of opportunities is open to our graduates in areas such as journalism, diplomatic service, business, in libraries and museums or as a translator. Following the B.A. degree, you can also continue to specialize by doing an M.A. Students are advised to show initiative early on by organizing internships, stays abroad, voluntary work and student jobs to qualify them for a career.


What are the requirements for commencing studies?

The general university entrance qualification is required for admission to the program. Good English reading skills are an advantage. There are no further restrictions.


What are the conditions for students with prior knowledge of Persian?

Prior knowledge of Persian can be very varied. Students with a native-language background who have grown up in Germany are often proficient in spoken Persian but do not have a sufficient command of the written language; many of them also have deficits in grammar. Students who have grown up in Iran, on the other hand, often have difficulty translating texts into German appropriately and describing them with the grammatical terms used here. In the first four semesters of Persian study, the aim is therefore to bring students with and without prior knowledge to the same level in order to create equal conditions for them both to attend the advanced seminars. In the language classes, students with prior knowledge are deliberately encouraged to take part in the teaching through group work with beginners and similar activities.

For students already highly proficient in Persian, there are additionally the two key competencies modules “Didactics of Persian” and “Technical Language/Translation".