Persian is spoken by over 100 million people in Iran, Afghanistan and Tajikistan as well as diaspora communities around the world.

Modern Persian is descended from Old Persian, the language of the Achaemenid Empire (550-350 BCE) and Middle Persian, the language of the Sasanian Empire (224-651 CE), and developed in the 9th century CE. This form of Persian became a major language of literature, philosophy, science, religion, history and politics around the time of the Ghaznavids, based in what is now Afghanistan, and eventually became the official language of the Safavid Empire, based in Iran, as well as a language of literature, politics and scholarship in the Ottoman Empire, based in Anatolia, and the Mughal Empire, based in India. As a result, the language of Ferdowsi, Rumi and Hafez played a major role in the pre-modern development of world culture from Bosnia to Bengal. In modern times, Persian features a thriving literary culture and a sophisticated intellectual tradition, while Iranian cinema has become well-known around the world.

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Language Placement Exam

ME/SA Studies and the Persian program require that students who have not previously taken Persian at UC Davis, but have prior experience or study of Persian elsewhere, take the Persian Placement Test at the UC Davis Language Center ( Students who have no experience of Persian or previous coursework do not need a placement test, and should simply enroll in Persian 001.

Grading in Beginning Language Courses