Five College Persian

Application review for spring 2021 courses begins November 2.
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Persian is spoken by over 100 million people in Iran, Tajikistan, and Afghanistan. There is also a large population of Persian speakers in "Tehrangeles" in California. Persian for centuries was the lingua franca from Central Asia to India and Iran. It has strongly influenced Urdu and Turkic languages, and because of that, it is easy for a Persian speaker to learn Urdu and Turkish. Though they belong to different language families, Persian has borrowed thousands of words from Arabic. 

Our Persian program is led by a graduate student teaching assistant, Mohsen Jalali, and supported by native/fluent speaker conversation partners.


Spring 2021 Persian Course Offerings


Persian is offered through the Mentored Language Program, which uses a combination of regular independent study, one-on-one tutorials, and small group conversation sessions to cover all four primary language skills (speaking, listening, reading, and writing). Courses follow a flexible, student-driven scheduling model and take place on all five campuses. 

The Persian course sequence is:

  • Introductory: Levels I, II, III, IV
  • Intermediate: Levels V, VI, VII, VIII
  • Advanced: Special topics (students choose topics of interest)
  • Speakers track: For students who already speak Persian at a high intermediate or early advanced level and need to develop reading and writing skills and/or more advanced or specialized spoken language. Speakers students should contact the Center for placement.

Students can take Persian as a half course, or the equivalent of 2 credits/one level (e.g., Persian I) per semester. All levels are available every semester.

View recent Persian syllabi.

Half courses

Mentored half courses cover one level of the language. They comprise:

  • One 30-minute individual tutorial per week
  • One 60-minute conversation session per week (individual or small group)
  • 1 hour per day of independent study
  • Weekly homework
  • Final oral evaluation
  • Final writing skills assessment
  • Weekly check-ins with Center staff via self-assessment reports

Credits:

As with all interchange classes, credit varies by campus. For a mentored half course, you will receive the equivalent of: 

  • Amherst: half course
  • Hampshire: half course
  • Mount Holyoke: 2 credits
    In general, Mount Holyoke students cannot use Center language courses to fulfill the their language requirement.
  • Smith: 2 credits
    Smith students must take at least two levels (two half courses or one full course) to receive credit. Completion of four levels satisfies the Latin Honors language requirement.
  • UMass: 2 credits
    For UMass graduate students, courses will appear on student transcript but will not earn credit.

Speakers courses

The speakers track allows students who are high intermediate or early advanced heritage speakers to learn to read and write in the language. Heritage speakers who already know how to read and write can take courses through the standard track to develop advanced or specialized speaking skills. All heritage speakers should contact the Center to discuss appropriate placement.

Speakers half courses comprise:

  • One 60-minute individual tutorial per week
  • 1 hour per day of independent study
  • Weekly homework
  • Final writing skills assessment
  • Weekly check-ins with Center staff via self-assessment reports

Credits:

As with all interchange classes, credit varies by campus. For a speakers half course, you will receive:

  • Amherst: half course
  • Hampshire: half course
  • Mount Holyoke: 1.5 credits 
    Mount Holyoke students cannot use Center language courses to fulfill the their language requirement.
  • Smith: 1.5 credits 
    Smith students must take at least two levels (two half courses or one full course) to receive credit. Completion of four levels satisfies the Latin Honors language requirement.
  • UMass: 1.5 credits
    For UMass graduate students, courses will appear on student transcript but will not earn credit.

About tutorials

During one-on-one tutorial sessions, you will discuss grammatical questions and get feedback on written homework from your language mentor. Tutorial sessions can be geared to meet your specific language learning needs. 

When possible, students are scheduled for tutorials on their home campus. In some cases, students will have to travel to a different campus. 

About conversation sessions

During a conversation session, you will engage in activities, conversations, and role plays designed by your conversation partner to help you practice the structures and vocabulary you studied in a given week. Your conversation session will have no more than 4 students to allow constant participation and engagement by all. 

Conversation sessions are led by mentors, post-baccalaureate teaching assistants, or other native/fluent speakers who are hired and trained by the Center. Your conversation partner is not a teacher and will not present grammar lessons; rather, their expertise lies in speaking the language.

When possible, students are scheduled for conversation sessions on their home campus. In some cases, students will have to travel to a different campus.