M.A. Persian & Iranian Studies

The M.A. program in Persian and Iranian Studies at the University of Arizona offers a rigorous interdisciplinary curriculum.

M.A. students can focus on a) modern or classical Persian literature and culture or b) Iranian (or other Persian speaking societies') history, religion, social organization, and politics. They also engage in a critical examination of contemporary ideas and methodologies in the field of Persian and Iranian Studies.

Program Requirements

The M.A. in Persian and Iranian Studies consists of 30 units of major coursework that include 15 units of core courses, 9 units of elective courses, 3 units of a research methods course, and 3 units of thesis research. Intermediate proficiency in Persian is also required.

See all degree requirements

Student Outcomes

After completing a M.A. in Persian and Iranian Studies students will be able to:

  • Speak, read, and write with superior proficiency in the Persian language.
  • Analyze the historical, artistic, and political debates most relevant to Persian and Iranian culture.
  • Articulate clear and critical distinctions between certain historical, cultural, and literary practices in Persian and Iranian studies and their implications for current and future debates on the region.
  • Apply various methodologies to study the regional and global implications of Persian and Iranian history, culture, and language.
  • Formulate and pursue research projects of scholarly importance to the field of Persian and Iranian studies.
  • Contribute through presentations, publications, and scholarly projects to knowledge-making in Persian and Iranian studies

Student Assessment

Following the practices in MENAS for graduate student evaluation, each semester M.A. students will complete a self-evaluation. Students will meet for a face-to-face evaluation with the student’s faculty advisor and each student is ranked on a 1-4 scale. The evaluation ranking and justifications are then communicated to the student.

Annual Self-Evaluation

The faculty in the Persian and Iranian Studies GIDP will meet yearly to consider the progress of students. Students are informed of the results of these discussions by email. Students must submit a self-evaluation in advance of this meeting each year so that the faculty has the necessary information to reach a fair evaluation of each student’s progress.

Submission of the annual self-evaluation by the deadline announced by the advising office is one of the criteria defining Satisfactory Academic Progress. Student records do not reveal extenuating circumstances that may have resulted in a grade of ‘Incomplete,’ nor do they include information on awards, papers published, delivered at meetings, etc.

Forms needed for the self-evaluations will be provided online. First year students are not expected to fill out the form as completely as more advanced students do.

You should meet with your principal advisor to discuss your progress after receiving the evaluation result.

Satisfactory Academic Progress

We have developed a set of criteria for monitoring student progress through the program. These standards assist faculty in their annual evaluations of student progress toward degree completion and, equally important, they help students assess their own progress.

Criteria for satisfactory academic progress towards the completion of your post-baccalaureate degrees include the following:

  1. Submission of an annual self-evaluation;
  2. Regular meetings with your advisor(s) on a schedule negotiated between you and your advisors;
  3. Adherence to appropriate schedules (outlined below), including completion of MA thesis and written and oral exams, and timely filing of plans of study and dissertation proposals; and
  4. Fulfillment of all formal Graduate College requirements (GPA, etc.) as specified in the Graduate Catalog.


By the end of the second semester of enrollment, students must assemble a thesis committee of three faculty members, one of whom serves as the thesis advisor, and must also have filed their Master's Plan of Study (login to UAccess Student, then select GRADPATH to submit your plan online) in consultation with and approval of the Graduate Advisor. 

At least two members of this committee must be tenure-track professors in the GIDP, and the committee must be approved by the Graduate Advisor.

The student’s thesis advisor will approve the appropriate subject matter of his or her thesis. The thesis must include research that integrates primary sources in a Middle Eastern language. Primary sources can include historical works, media outlets, internet sources, survey data, or interviews.

The thesis should address a gap or problem in the scholarly literature, and be aimed at an academic audience. An appropriate thesis length is 75-90 pages. Students are responsible for scheduling an oral defense of their thesis and coursework with their committee.