Mode of Attendance: Full-time or part-time
Among all universities in Europe and North America SOAS host the biggest concentration of research and teaching staff working on Iranian history, politics, economics, religions, art and archaeology, linguistics, Persian language and literature, media, film, anthropology and music. SOAS has the resources to offer a comprehensive, critical perspective on a variety of aspects of Iranian society and culture and go beyond the contemporary public debates around this country.
The MA in Iranian Studies enables students to critically assess the historical development of Iranian society, economics and culture within the context of the wider west Asian area and to appreciate the complexity of the history and cultural make up of Iran.
The flexible study programme and interdisciplinary curriculum will enrich students knowledge about the religious and politico-cultural influences affecting contemporary Iran and the region it is embedded in. Students will develop a critical understanding of the literature and/or of Iran and the diaspora and gain an understanding of Iran in the context of the Middle East with respect to gender, politics, Islam, music, and migration (minor module options). Persian language and literature will also be studied.
This is an intensive language programme and, as a result, a large bulk of the module credits are assigned to the language component of the degree. The programme also involves a compulsory opportunity to study abroad and a dissertation on a chosen area of specialism.
As a postgraduate student specialising in Iranian Studies, you will gain competency in language skills and intercultural awareness and understanding. Familiarity with the region will have been developed through a combination of the study of language, literature and culture (which can include literature, film, music, art and religion) of various parts of the Middle East.
Graduates leave SOAS not only with linguistic and cultural expertise but also with a portfolio of widely transferable skills which employers seek in many professional and management careers in both business and the public sector. These include written and oral communication skills, attention to detail, analytical and problem-solving skills, and the ability to research, amass and order information from a variety of sources.
Students must take 315 credits in total, comprised of 255 taught credits (45 of which are taught abroad as part of a Summer School) and a 60-credit dissertation as outlined below.
In their first year, students on the two-year Intensive Language programmes take 60 credits of intensive language instruction and 60 credits in the discipline. During the summer, they participate in a Summer School abroad. In the second year, they take another 30 language credits as well as 60 credits in the discipline; they also complete their dissertation in the discipline.
Year 1 (two years full time)
- Iran: History, Culture, Politics
- A module(s) from List A below to the value of 30 credits.
- Intensive Persian Language
Students participate in 15PNMC431 Intensive Upper Intermediate Summer Persian abroad.
Year 2 (two years full time)
- Modules from List A or B below to the value of 60 credits.
- Dissertation in Iranian Studies
List of modules (subject to availability)
- Zoroastrianism: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives
- Directed Readings in Persian Studies
- Classical Persian Poetry: Texts and Traditions (PG)
- Avestan I
- Pahlavi Language
- Modern Trends in Islam
- Gender in the Middle East
- International politics of the Middle East
- Islam and political ideologies
- Culture and Society of Near and Middle East
- Problems of Development in the Middle East and North Africa
The information on the programme page reflects the intended programme structure against the given academic session.
Admissions and Applications
You can apply for this course via the online application form.
We aim to assess a complete application and provide a decision within a 5-week time frame. Overseas students who require a Tier 4 visa and wish to join SOAS should bear in mind visa applications can take several weeks, so you should apply as soon as possible.
Consideration of Application
The whole application, including transcript and references, is considered before a decision is reached. You are therefore advised to submit a complete application including references and transcript (where required). An incomplete application will add considerable delays to the decision-making process.
Students will receive an acknowledgement of their application. Each application is carefully considered and although we try and respond as quickly as possible, we do ask that students should expect to receive a response within five weeks of receipt.
Candidates who are available in the United Kingdom may be called for an interview. The absence of academic members of staff (or instance on study leave) may affect the timing of decisions.
Applicants should have a first or good second class honours bachelors degree from a UK university, or equivalent, in a subject appropriate to that of the programme to be followed. As an approximate comparison, an equivalent BA from a US university would have a Grade Point Average of either 3.3 or 3.5 depending on the awarding university. If an applicant does not have a bachelors degree in an appropriate field s/he may be required to complete a qualifying year or a one-year diploma before entering the master's programme. Relevant work experience may also be taken into consideration. Individual courses may have specific entry requirements, so you are advised to consult the postgraduate prospectus for further information.
English Language Entry Requirements
You must be able to show that your English is of a high enough standard to successfully engage with and complete your course at SOAS. Please note that we take our English language requirements seriously and failure to meet them exactly may well result in your application to SOAS being rejected. It is not possible to negotiate if your scores are below our required levels, with the expectation that because they are 'close enough' they will be accepted. It is important that you plan appropriately, well in advance, so that your English language test comes in good time and so that you have time to retake the test if necessary. We do not accept reasons of inconvenience or financial hardship for not submitting or retaking an English test.
For EU and International students who need a visa, if unconditional entry scores are achieved we accept qualifications from several countries, as well as a range of international qualifications and tests.
If a Tier 4 entry visa is required then a SELT, such as UKVI IELTS may be needed. For this reason, we recommend all Tier 4 visa students to choose the UKVI IELTS Academic test as the test of first resort.