MA Admissions and Plan of Study

The Graduate School's Plan Code for MA degree is: PRIRSMA

You can apply through the Graduate College or MENAS coordinator.

Please see the deadline for admission and financial support here.

Application:

Your application should show evidence that you have the potential to succeed in our graduate program and the evidence that our program and faculty's expertise match your research project.  Online Application (available via here)

Your application should include:

Statement of Purpose (4,500-character limit, including spaces):

It should highlight your academic preparation and motivation; interests, specializations and career goals; and the reason you think our program is the best place to pursue your graduate studies and research project. You may identify specific faculty within your desired program with whom you intend to work and explain how their interests match your own.

Personal History Statement (4,500-character limit, including spaces):

This essay can tell us more about you as an individual and potential graduate student, describing how your personal background informs your decision to pursue a graduate degree in any of fields related to Persian and Iranian studies. You may include any educational, familial, cultural, or social experiences, challenges, community service, outreach activities, and/or any other opportunities relevant to your academic journey.

Sample of Written Work:

The written sample should be a research paper or critical/analytical essay. It can be a work previously submitted as a course requirement or a published work. 

Three letters of recommendation (from Professors):

Provide contact information for three references including your former or current professors. They will be contacted to submit their recommendations electronically

Transcripts:

Academic records from each college-level institution you have attended previously are required.  You will be instructed to upload your transcripts after you have submitted your application. For international applicants, certified English translations of the transcripts must be submitted along with the original-language transcript.

Graduate Record Exam (GRE) Scores:

University of Arizona Institution Code: 4832

Financial Support:

You will be considered for fellowships and/or Teaching Assistant (TA) if you complete the applications. 

TOEFL Scores:

International Applicants must submit TOEFL Scores. The minimum requirements for admission are a total score of 90 in the internet-based test. Applicants must score at least 26 on the speaking section to be considered for Teaching Assistant positions.  Please request OFFICIAL SCORES from ETS using University of Arizona Institution Code: 4834.

ACADEMIC PROGRAM (PLAN OF STUDY)

Try another way of looking. Try you looking and the whole universe seeing.

 ~Rumi, Persian poet

Description

The College of Social and Behavioral Sciences and the School of Middle Eastern and North African Studies (MENAS), as well as that of the School’s affiliated Title VI Center for Middle Eastern Studies (CMES) and international, Tucson-housed Middle Eastern Studies Association (MESA), support the development of a GIDP in Persian and Iranian Studies MA program that will specialize in the languages, literatures, and histories of Iran and other Persians speaking communities as distinct and unique geopolitical and sociocultural spaces.

PROGRAM REQUIREMENTS – The Persian and Iranian Studies degree will focus specifically on either modern or classical Persian literature and culture, or Iranian (or other Persian speaking societies’) history, religion, social organization, and politics. For either, superior language competency in Persian is expected.

MA in Persian and Iranian Studies

The MA in Persian and Iranian Studies will consist of 30 units of coursework that will include 12 units of required core courses, one research methods course (3 units), one to four elective courses (3-12 units), a Master’s Thesis (3-6 units) in the final semester(s), and a fourth-year Persian language proficiency, which may include taking 6 units in Persian language courses.

Core Courses (12 units total): MENA/GWS 563, PRS/MENA 571PRS 571, MENA 580, MENA 595D

Method options (choose 1; 3 units total): ANTH 609, ENGL 596B, ENGL 596L, HIST 695K, LING 503, LING 696A, MENA 530A, MENA 596S, MENA 696J, PRS 5XX

Language Proficiency (complete proficiency assessment or take these 2 courses; 0-6 units total): PRS 507, PRS 508

Thesis Research (choose 1; 3-6 units total): PRS 910

Electives options (choose 1-3; 3-12* units total): See Appendix A

*Note: The student would need only 3 elective units if the student takes the two courses to demonstrate the Persian language proficiency (PRS 507 and PRS 508) and the student opted to take 6 units of Thesis (PRS 910) credit, instead of 3 units.  The student would need up to 12 elective units if the student passes the Persian language proficiency assessment and opted to take only 3 units of Thesis (PRS 910) credit.

A.     CURRENT COURSES AND EXISTING PROGRAMS -- list current courses and existing university programs which will give strengths to the proposed program.  If the courses listed belong to a department that is not a signed party to this implementation request, please obtain the department head’s permission to include the courses in the proposed program and information regarding accessibility to the course(s) for students in the proposed program.

MA in Persian and Iranian Studies Core—30 minimum, 24 must be non-thesis

Please refer to Appendix B for letters of support from the department heads of the home department of these courses.

Active Core Courses

Students are required to take these 4 of these core courses: MENA/GWS 563, PRS/MENA 571PRS 571, MENA 596, MENA 580, MENA 595D.  All 4 of these courses are currently active in the catalog.

MENA 595D - Middle East (3 units)

The exchange of scholarly information and/or secondary research, usually in a small group setting. Instruction often includes lectures by several different persons. Research projects may or may not be required of course registrants.

Home department: MENAS

MENA 596- Iranian Culture and Society (3 units)

This course considers Iranian society and culture from the point of view of the social sciences, supplemented by insights provided through fiction and film.  Course content focuses on twentieth-century and contemporary Iran.  Topics include tribal society, rural society, urban life, and their interactions; social structure; Iranian identity; gender; minority groups, language; religious beliefs and rituals; and political movements.  The class pays particular attention to how Iranian society and culture have been studied, by whom, and how these have changed over time.    The course emphasizes the subject of diversity in Iran, and has a particular focus on the large body of social science research conducted in and around Fars province and the city of Shiraz.

MENA 580- The Middle East in the Twentieth Century (3 units)

The modern Middle East in the age of imperialism, world wars, state formation, decolonization, and Islamic resistance.  Graduate-level requirements include additional readings on selected topics and an extensive research paper.

Home department: MENAS

MENA/GWS 563- Gender Issues and Women's Literature in the Middle East (3 units)

This course introduces Middle Eastern women's issues through a critical reading of literary works written by women in the major languages of the Near East (Arabic, Hebrew, Persian, and Turkish) that are available in translation. Readings include poetry, short stories, and novels all analyzed within their social context.  Graduate-level requirements include additional reading from the suggested bibliography, longer written papers, an oral presentation and bi-weekly meetings with instructor. Theoretical issues will be addressed and presented in additional material.

Home department: MENAS

PRS/MENA 571- Iranian Cinema, Gender Issues, and Social Change (3 units)

Iran has been lauded as one of the great exporters of cinema during the last two decades. During this time, Iranian films have won countless international awards and enjoyed great reviews. Through the analysis of movies, the history of Iranian cinema, cinematic criticism, and historical texts, this course helps students understand the process of social change in that society and the ways such changes influence the production of art.

Home department: MENAS

Active Methods Courses

Students must take at least one of the following methods[1] courses as part of their core:  ANTH 609, ENGL 596B, ENGL 596L, HIST 695K, LING 503, LING 696A, MENA 530A, MENA 596S, MENA 696J, MENA 596, PRS 5XX.  With the exception of PRS 5XX, all of these courses are currently active in the catalog.  Please refer to Appendix A for course descriptions.

Active Language Proficiency Courses

Prior to writing a Thesis, MA students must demonstrate superior proficiency in Persian, or complete PRS 507 and 508 with a B or better.  To demonstrate superior proficiency in Persian, students will have to take an exam as determined by the Executive Committee of the GIDP.

PRS 507- 4th Year Persian I (3 units)

This course offers advanced students the opportunity to study professional, academic, technical, and creative texts. It will help them develop superior level proficiency by improving their vocabulary, reading ability, writing skills, and knowledge of the nuances of the language. Reading skills will be acquired through the use of texts and media. Listening skills will be acquired through discussions and exposure to news broadcasts, interviews, songs, and audio-visual materials. Writing skills will be improved though writing assignments followed by feedback from the instructor and fellow students. Superior speaking skills will be practiced in class discussions, group activities, presentations, and through the simulation of cultural and linguistic contexts. Graduate-level requirements include translation and incorporation of primary sources use in the course in research projects (25%).

Home department: Persian

PRS 508- 4th Year Persian II (3 units)

Graduate-level requirements include translation and incorporation of primary sources use in the course in research projects (25%).

Home department: Persian

Active MA Elective Courses

MA students would choose 3-12 units of electives courses from the list on Appendix A.  Please refer to Appendix A for the course descriptions and home departments.

With permission from the Director of the GIDP, students may include electives from other departments not listed on Appendix A.

B.     OTHER COURSES

PRS 595- Special Topics in Persian and Iranian Studies

This course aims to address the interests of students in Persian and Iranian studies who have a variety of academic goals. Based on their needs, the topics vary from year to year. They can include: Modern Persian Literature in English Translation; Modern Persian Literature in the Original Language; the Contemporary Cultural and Political History of Iran, Ideology and Revolution in Iran, and Women and Gender Issues in Contemporary Iran. The course emphasizes student-faculty discussion/interaction and exchange of scholarly information, in order for students to engage in research activities about their desired subject and the exchange of the results of such research through discussion, reports, and/or papers. Requirements for graduate students include class participation, a class presentation, and a term paper.

PRS 910- Thesis (must complete a minimum of 3-6 units)

Research for the master's thesis (whether library research, laboratory or field observation or research, artistic creation, or thesis writing). Maximum total credit permitted varies with the major department.

C.     FUTURE COURSES (These courses can be offered under MENA/PRS 596A or a house number)

PRS 5XX- Persian as a Global Language (3 units)

Persian as a Global Language focuses on Persian language as a lingua franca and its different cultural contexts. As an Indo-European language, Persian is spoken in Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, and many communities in Central and South Asia. However, the languages spoken and written in these societies vary to some degree. This course introduces students to all these varieties. 

PRS 5XX- Modern Persian Literature in Translation (3 units)

This graduate /upper-undergraduate course will study modern Persian literature in translation from the late nineteenth century to the present. It will engage in a theoretical analysis of these literary texts to understand the literary products of any one period of modern Persian literature especially in regard to their ideological representation of socio-political issues. Readings (select novellas, short stories, and poetry in English translation) will be discussed within nationalist, Marxist, feminist, and Islamic paradigms to provide a comparative theoretical context, generate class discussion, and provide a better comprehension of modern Persian literature. In addition to these literary analyses, we also read the texts in their historical, social, and political contexts to gain a thorough understanding of the modern history of Iran and the way culture is produced. Readings include the fiction and poetry major authors. In addition to class participation, students will write a research paper based on the literary and theoretical readings.

PRS 5XX- Classical Persian Literature in English (3 units)

This course will investigate classical Persian poetry and prose. It presents a history of Persian literature from Rudaki to Hafiz through the study of Persian poetic genres as well as through the analysis of didactical and historiographical texts. The epics of Ferdowsi, love poetry of Nezami, mystic poetry of Rumi, and epigrams of poets such as Amareh will provide examples of how themes such as religion, love, and wine are constructed. The course is conducted in English but readings may include poetry in Persian. Students not familiar with the Persian language may consult the professor about the readings and requirements.

PRS 5XX- Theory and Methodology in Iranian [and Middle Eastern] Studies

This course is designed primarily for graduate students majoring or minoring in Persian and Iranian studies interested in broader theoretical issues in the study of different aspects of Iranian society. Advanced undergraduate students who are planning to pursue graduate studies in similar fields (and with a plan for a final project) might also participate. It will help students develop and exchange scholarly information related to their interests or ongoing projects. Class will meet every week to discuss the state of issues in such fields as politics, sociology, cinema, gender studies, arts, history, media, journalism, literature, web blogging, etc., and their relation to the other participants' projects. In addressing these issues, theories and methodologies will be applied. Outside scholars may at times be invited to participate in the discussion. Students will provide critical responses to the readings every week. They will also present in class and submit a written work related to a final research project. The list of readings will be provided at the outset of the course.

STUDENT LEARNING OUTCOMES AND ASSESSMENT

A.     STUDENT OUTCOMES -- describe what students should know, understand, and/or be able to do at the conclusion of this program of study.

After completing a MA 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.

B.     STUDENT ASSESSMENT -- provide a plan for assessing intended student outcomes while the students are in the program and after they have completed the degree.

Following the practices in MENAS for graduate student evaluation, each semester MA 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.

The specific guidelines include:

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.

Thesis

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. 

Let the beauty of what you love be what you do.      ~Rumi

Appendix A: Methods, Electives, and Minor Courses

All courses listed here are 3 units.

Academic Organization: Anthropology

ANTH 609- Mixed Methods in Applied Anthropology

Introduction to the fundamental principle of the scientific method and demonstration of qualitative and quantitative methods used in contemporary applied anthropology.

Academic Organization: English

ENGL 596B- Studies in Colonial and Post-Colonial Literature and Theory

The development and exchange of scholarly information, usually in a small group setting. The scope of work shall consist of research by course registrants, with the exchange of the results of such research through discussion, reports, and/or papers.

ENGL 596L- Theories of Criticism

The development and exchange of scholarly information, usually in a small group setting. The scope of work shall consist of research by course registrants, with the exchange of the results of such research through discussion, reports, and/or papers.

Academic Organization: History

HIST 545- Women in Islamic History

Examination of the roles women have played throughout Islamic history and of the changing discourse in the Islamic community about women and their roles.  Graduate-level requirements include additional readings and meetings with the instructor and an additional research paper.

HIST 573- History of Modern India and Pakistan: 1750-Present

Survey of political, social and economic developments in South Asia from the mid-18th century to the present. Writing emphasis for India-Pakistan specialization.  Graduate-level requirements include additional research or writing; see instructor for details.

HIST 577- Comparative History of World Revolutions

This course examines the historical context against the theoretical, cultural, political, social, and economic elements of sudden revolutionary upheaval.  Revolutions from the French Revolution of 1789 to the Cuban Revolution of 1959 will be studied.  Graduate-level requirements include additional reading material, some in the original language; additional writing; meeting separately with the instructor for more level appropriate discussion and analysis.

HIST 585A- History of the Iranian Plateau: Authority, Religion, and Literature, 633-1501

This course examines the history of the Iranian plateau from the rise and spread of Islam until the establishment of the Safavid Empire (1501). Thematically, it focuses on the impact of geography and the environment on social and political history; the conversion and Islamicization of local populations; the proliferation of communities and institutions of Islamic knowledge; the development of Persian Sufi literature and brotherhoods; state legitimization through the patronage of literature, court chronicles, and art; the rise of Shi`i messianic movements; and the role of women at court and in society. This course examines the history of the Iranian plateau from the rise and spread of Islam until the establishment of the Safavid Empire (1501). Thematically, it focuses on the impact of geography and the environment on social and political history; the conversion and Islamicization of local populations; the proliferation of communities and institutions of Islamic knowledge; the development of Persian Sufi literature and brotherhoods; state legitimization through the patronage of literature, court chronicles, and art; the rise of Shi`i messianic movements; and the role of women at court and in society. Graduate-level requirements include a final paper 20-25 pages including 15-20 sources. You are expected to write a historiographical paper that engages seriously with the secondary literature.

HIST 585B- Social, Cultural and Political History of Iranian Plateau: 7th Century – Present

The Iranian plateau in the modern era of western imperialism and nationalistic Islamic responses.  Graduate-level requirements include additional readings and an extensive research paper.

HIST 595E- Struggle and Survival: Modern Mid East and North Africa, c. 1850 – Present

The exchange of scholarly information and/or secondary research, usually in a small group setting. Instruction often includes lectures by several different persons. Research projects may or may not be required of course registrants.

HIST 695K- Historiography

The exchange of scholarly information and/or secondary research, usually in a small group setting. Instruction often includes lectures by several different persons. Research projects may or may not be required of course registrants.

Academic Organization: Linguistics

LING 503- Foundation of Syntactic Theory

An introduction to syntactic theory with an emphasis on data analysis, critical thinking, and theory development. Taught within the generative Principles and Parameters approach to syntax.   Graduate-level requirements include a greater number of problems.

LING 696A- Topics in Syntactic Theory

The development and exchange of scholarly information, usually in a small group setting examining in depth topics in syntactic and semantic theory. The scope of work shall consist of research by course registrants, with the exchange of the results of such research through discussion, reports, and/or papers.

Academic Organization: Middle East and North African Studies

MENA 503- Art and Architecture of the Islamic World

Principal achievements in Islamic architecture 680-1600, AD/CE, understand the achievements in social/cultural contexts, become familiar with vocabulary and basic methodologies of the field, and consider historical evolution of our knowledge and understanding of this architecture.  Graduate-level requirements include a 6-10 page comparative essay on a set group of readings designed for each group.

MENA 508A- Islamic Movements in the Contemporary Muslim World

The course's objectives are (1) to acquaint students with traditional literature and contemporary research on Islamic movements, and 2) to introduce students to the historical and ideological basis of an emerging globalized political Islam. Graduate-level requirements include a 12 page student essay and final paper 25-30 pages.

MENA 530A- Language and Society in the Middle East

Explores the social and linguistic aspects of the languages and cultures of Middle Eastern countries with the central goal of introducing students to the correlation between social and linguistic variables from a contemporary sociolinguistic perspective.  Graduate-level requirements include additional readings and meeting with the instructor biweekly to discuss the readings of which written critiques will be submitted.

MENA 544- Islamic Mysticism

Origin and development of Sufism and its impact on Muslim and non-Muslim worlds.

MENA 590- Women in Middle Eastern Society

Middle Eastern society viewed from the perspective of women. Examines the extent to which formal definitions of women's nature and roles coincide with women's self-images and activities.  Graduate-level requirements include an additional paper.

MENA 596H- Shi'ism

This graduate seminar explores the rich legal, theological, and political traditions of Shi'ism.

MENA 596S- Colonialism and the Critique of Modernity

What modernity is and how it came about have long been hotly contested questions. The relationship between modernity and colonialism has often been central in these debates. The course considers this relationship by investigating how intellectuals in colonized lands have understood and critiqued modernity in comparison with Western theories.  Graduate-level requirements include reading secondary articles, a five-page paper for discussion, lead weekly readings, a more substantial final paper.

MENA 696J- Ethnography of the Middle East: Issues and Methods

This course presents an overview of issues in Middle East ethnography and ways in which they have altered over time. The course has a dual focus: to examine key issues in the field of Middle Eastern ethnography, and to provide experience in the development of research projects and writing of grant proposals.

Academic Organization: Persian

PRS 595- Special Topics in Persian and Iranian Studies (3 units)

The exchange of scholarly information and/or secondary research, usually in a small group setting. Instruction often includes lectures by several different persons. Research projects may or may not be required of course registrants.

PRS 596A- Topics in Classical and Ancient Persian Literature and Culture (3 units)

Topics vary, including Classical Persian Literature in English Translation; Classical Persian Literature in the Original Language; Medieval Cultural and Political History of Persia; and Ancient Persian Language, Literature and Culture. Focus on student-faculty discussion/interaction and exchange of scholarly information, students engage in research activities and exchange results through discussion, reports, and/or papers.  Graduate-level requirements include a class presentation.

PRS 596B-Topics in Modern Persian Literature and Iranian Culture (3 units)

Various topics including Modern Persian Literature in English Translation; Modern Persian Literature in the Original Language; Contemporary Cultural and Political History of Iran, Ideology and Revolution in Iran, and Women and Gender Issues in Contemporary Iran. Exchange of scholarly information, research by course registrants, exchange results through discussion, reports, and/or papers. Graduate-level requirements include a longer paper.

PRS 599- Independent Study

Qualified students working on an individual basis with professors who have agreed to supervise such work. Graduate students doing independent work which cannot be classified as actual research will register for credit under course number 599, 699, or 799.

PRS 699- Independent Study

Qualified students working on an individual basis with professors who have agreed to supervise such work. Graduate students doing independent work which cannot be classified as actual research will register for credit under course number 599, 699, or 799

Academic Organization: SLAT

SLAT  587- Assessment in Second/Foreign Language Learning

The primary objective of this online course is the development of language teachers' assessment literacy, which includes knowledge of key assessment principles and skill in creating or adopting assessment tools and procedures for the language classroom. Participants in this course will develop their knowledge and skills related to assessing all skill areas in the language classroom, including productive skills (writing, speaking), receptive skills (reading, listening), and assessing grammar and vocabulary. Grading and student evaluation will also be important topics of consideration and exploration in this course. Designed specifically for in-service (and pre-service) language teachers, the course combines theory with practice by covering essential principles of effective classroom assessment and the development of effective assessment tools for classroom use.  Participants completing this course will become more assessment literate and better able to evaluate student performance in their classrooms fairly and effectively. 

SLAT  615 - Second Language Acquisition Theory

 Survey of major perspectives on second language acquisition processes, including interlanguage theory, the Monitor Model, acculturation/pidginization theory, cognitive/connectionist theory, and linguistic universals. Analysis of research from the different perspectives includes consideration of grammatical, pragmatic, and sociolinguistic dimensions of language learning. 


[1] Descriptions and home departments for these courses are included in Appendix A.