Persian has been taught at Penn since 1949, and our program continues to engage students in the language and culture of the Persian-speaking world. The Persian Language Program at the University of Pennsylvania offers courses at the elementary, intermediate, and advanced levels, as well as courses for heritage speakers. Based in the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, the Persian Program works in cooperation with the university’s Middle East Center and the Penn Language Center.
An Indo-European language, Persian (aka Farsi, Dari, or Tajiki) is spoken by over 100 million people, primarily in Iran, Afghanistan, and Tajikistan, and has been in use for over a millennium. In addition to being a historical lingua franca in much of the Middle East and South Asia, and an important language in Islamic studies, today Persian is a critical language. Proficiency in Persian is the key to unlocking access not only to an emerging market, but also to a cultural treasure trove of literature, cinema, music, and much more. Knowledge of Persian is also an asset in learning Arabic, Hindi/Urdu, Turkish, and other languages.