Department of Middle Eastern Studies
Department of Middle Eastern Studies

Online Persian

PRS 329: Iranian History and Historians - An Advanced Course in Persian 

MAY 27, 2015 - AUGUST 19, 2015


Kamran Scot Aghaie, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Iranian and Islamic History
The University of Texas at Austin

Course description

This course ("module" if you're British), taught entirely in Persian, aims to introduce students to major trends in Iran’s modern history and Historiography. This innovative content-based program aims to push students toward advanced- and superior-level proficiency in Persian (on the ACTFL scale) through a combination of proficiency-based communicative language instruction and discipline-based content on Iranian history and historians. Students will gather in a “virtual classroom” and work in small groups and pairs and they receive individualized attention just as they would in a normal language class. This approach will provide students with the opportunity to express themselves in increasingly complex ways. The course will help students build a vocabulary base and repertoire of useful expressions, so that by the end of the course, they feel confident using the language in a variety of contexts. 

This course has four main goals in order to prepare students to become academics focused on Modern Iranian history.

First, this course will provide students with a broad sampling of academic scholarship on Iranian History, in the form of scholarly articles in Persian. After reading and discussing these articles students will understand some dominant trends in historical scholarship and historiography on Modern Iran.

Second, students will learn how to read, understand, and analyze primary historical documents in the Persian language (some of them being hand-written texts), such as unpublished manuscripts, memoirs, treaties, religious letters, treatises, government communiqués, chronicles, and other selected archival materials.

Third, students will learn to give academic conference-style presentations in Persian. Fourth, students will learn how to research and write academic-style papers in Persian. Students will analyze and discuss primary documents and secondary sources related to these topics. They will also be responsible for writing short essays and giving regular presentations. A long-term research project will give students the opportunity to pursue their own interests and to undertake serious scholarly inquiry in Persian. All assignments and all activities associated with the class will be conducted in Persian.


This course runs from May 27, 2015 through August 19, 2015.  

Classes will be held on Wednesdays at the following times: 

Eastern (US), 7 - 9 PM
Central (US), 6 - 8 PM
Mountain (US), 5 - 7 PM
Pacific (US), 4 - 6 PM

An additional weekly 1.5 hours of independent group work will be scheduled once the class is assembled.

Who should apply?

We welcome applications from students and working professionals, UT affiliates and non-UT affiliates. Students' skills should range from intermediate-high through superior levels on the ACTFL scale (equivalent of ILR1+ through ILR3), at the beginning of the program. Informal OPI tests will be conducted at the beginning and end of the program. Heritage learners whose language skill levels are appropriate for this program are encouraged to apply.

The program is not open to native speakers who were educated in Persian, or who are fluent or near-fluent native speakers.

I'm not in the United States. Can I still apply?

Yes! In the past we have had students from the UK and Australia enroll.

What sort of credit do I get for this course?

Students will receive three hours of credit through UT Extension.

What are the technology requirements?

Personal Computer (Windows or Macintosh) with:

  • Sound card
  • Good quality headphones with microphone capability (note: earbuds with microphones generally do not provide high enough quality. We have a list of inexpensive headsets to recommend).
  • Webcam (the better the quality, the clearer your video stream will be)
  • Internet connection (Broadband/Ethernet; Wi Fi is usually too slow)
  • 1.4GHz Intel® Pentium® 4 or faster processor (or equivalent) for Microsoft® Windows® XP, Windows 7 or Windows 8
  • Windows 8.1 (32-bit/64-bit), Windows 8 (32-bit/64-bit), Windows 7 (32-bit/64-bit), Windows XP
  • 512MB of RAM (1GB recommended) for Windows XP, Windows 7 or Windows 8
  • Microsoft Internet Explorer 8, 9, 10, 11; Mozilla Firefox; Google Chrome
  • Adobe® Flash® Player 11.2+

Mac OS

  • 1.83GHz Intel Core™ Duo or faster processor
  • 512MB of RAM (1GB recommended)
  • Mac OS X 10.7.4, 10.8, 10.9
  • Mozilla Firefox; Apple Safari; Google Chrome
  • Adobe Flash Player 11.2+

Some Linux operating systems are supported - please contact us for more information.


The tuition for this course is $1,200. 




The online application can be found here.

Before You Begin Your Application

You cannot save an application once it has been started. Please do the following before you begin:

  1. All applicants should have a University of Texas Electronic ID (EID). If you don't have an EID or have forgotten it, go here first. Remember your EID and password, as you will need it for all class activities!
  2. Have the following materials ready to upload: statement of purpose (up to 500 words), and transcrlpt(s).

All documents must be uploaded as PDFs. Please do not include a dash (" - ") in the file name; this will prevent the PDF from uploading properly.

Please name your PDFs as follows:

Smith, Jane TRANSCRlPT #1

Smith, Jane TRANSCRlPT #2 (If applicable, applicants may submit more than one transcrlpt)


UT students may submit an academic summary from the Office of the Registrar to document UT coursework, but should also submit transcripts from any other colleges or universities attended.

Notable dates

3/2, Priority application deadline
4/13, Final application deadline
5/4, Notifications of final admissions
5/20, Payment due
5/27, Class begins

Refund schedule

Official withdrawal prior to the first class day = 100% refunded
Official withdrawal prior to June 3 = 75% refunded
Official withdrawal prior to June 10  = 50% refunded
Official withdrawal after June 17 = No refund

For questions, please contact

Christopher Rose,

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    Calhoun Hall (CAL) 528
    Austin, TX 78712