Persian (also known as Farsi) is the official language of Iran, and originates from the Indo-European family of languages. As one of the world’s ancient languages, Persian is also spoken in Afghanistan (called Dari) and Tajikistan (called Tajiki). Centuries-old Persian poetry from mystical poets Rumi and Hafez, and epic poet Ferdowsi, has inspired poets across the globe. The Persian Program at Duke offers elementary through advanced level language courses as well as courses in literature and culture. Our language courses are designed to develop students’ proficiency in all four skills (listening, speaking, reading and writing), and to promote their communicative and intercultural competency through task-based and interactive approaches to language teaching. Students can study Persian to fulfill their language requirement.

Placement in a Persian language class follows the AMES department placement policy.

These guidelines are to help you choose a proper course. Please note that self-placement has to be approved or corrected by the instructor. If you have studied Persian prior to Duke, you must take a placement test to be officially placed into the right course. Contact courses instructor Shahla Adel,

Self-Assessment Guidelines

Find the statement that best describes your experience in Persian, and follow the instructions.

I have never studied or been exposed to Persian.
  • Enroll in PERSIAN 101 (Elementary Persian)
My parents mostly speak Persian to me. I understand them, but cannot read or write.
  • Enroll in PERSIAN 101 (Elementary Persian)
I understand Persian, but cannot speak. I am familiar with the script.
I can communicate about basic things in Persian with some effort, and mostly can read, but I don't understand everything I read.  
  • Enroll in PERSIAN 102 (Elementary Persian)
I can speak colloquial Persian fairly fluently, and am able to read and write simple passages.
  • Enroll in PERSIAN 203 (Intermediate Persian)
My parents are Iranians. They mostly speak Persian with me. I attended Iranian children school for more than 2 years.
  • You must take an advanced placement test. Contact the courses' instructor, Shahla Adel,
I attended an Iranian elementary school for 3 years.
  • You must take an advanced placement test. Contact the courses' instructor, Shahla Adel,

Persian Language Program Coordinator

Shahla Adel

Persian Program Faculty

Persian Class Dinner

Class at Dinner


Class at dinner