NEWS: PSU offers Oregon's first Persian minor

Persian is spoken by over 100 million people in Iran, Afganistan, and Tajikistan as well as neighboring countries. It's one of the world's ancient languages and once the lingua franca of central Asia, so Persian is a gateway to this fascinating part of the world. The region's strategic importance and U.S.-Iranian relations give our students an advantage when seeking jobs in government, journalism, and political or strategic analysis. 

Programs offered: BS foreign language requirement, BA foreign language requirement, Classical Studies Minor, MA foreign language requirement. 



Persian is an official language of Iran, Afghanistan, and Tajikistan with almost 110 million native speakers. It is also widely spoken in neighboring countries. 

Recent diplomatic advancements between the U.S. and Iran have created a need for Iran experts as possibilities for trade and exchange between the two countries are emerging.

The March 2015 issue of the Foreign Service Journal was devoted to Iran with 4 editorials that discuss the lack of knowledge and experts on Iran. The issue also includes a list of Iran-related career opportunities in: Economic & Business Affairs, Energy Resources, Policy Planning, NEA, Mission to the United Nations, Educational & Cultural Affairs, Public Affairs, International Organization Affairs, Department of Defense, Intelligence& Research, Consular Affairs, Human Rights & Labor, National Security Council, Voice of America, and NGOs.


Persian Minor

The Persian program at PSU offers the only Minor in Persian within the entire State of Oregon. We also offer a wide range of courses on Persian language, literature and culture (in Persian and English). The Persian Minor is open to both non-native and native speakers of Persian.

The requirements for the Persian Minor are 20 upper-division credits in Persian language, literature, or culture and 4 credits in general linguistics (or Languages of the World).

Click on the links below for brochures explaining the Persian Minor. 



The Middle East Studies Center and the Persian Program in the Department of World Languages & Literatures announce:

PARSA Lecture Series


Iranian Women: A Film Series


Women Without Men: Iranian Women film series


The Persian program at Portland State University presents




PSU offers Oregon's first Persian minor - Leading scholar Dick Davis to join program in Winter 2013

(Portland, OR) – This fall, Portland State University (PSU) will launch the state’s first minor in Persian language and literature.

Persian has been spoken for centuries throughout Asia and is an official language of Iran, Afghanistan and Tajikistan. Today there are approximately 110 million Persian speakers.

Students earning a minor in Persian at PSU gain proficiency in oral and written communication while learning about  Iran and its diverse perspectives, traditions and culture. Persian has been identified as a critical language due to the demand for (and lack of) English-Persian bilingual speakers within the U.S. Students studying Persian find professional opportunities in business, communications, education and government.

"Iran is among one of the least understood countries in the world,” says Anousha Sedighi, associate professor and Persian section head at PSU. “For example, few people know that the first charter of human rights was written by Cyrus the Great of Persia, in 539 BC. The Persian minor provides an opportunity to learn about Iran through its beautiful language, literature, and culture.”

Professor Dick Davis, a renowned Persia scholar, joins the program this winter as a visiting scholar to teach “Introduction to Persian Literature” and “Iranian Women Writers.” In spring, Davis will teach “Persian Literature in Translation” and “Persian Mythology and Folklore.” Davis is an accomplished poet in his own right, and is recognized as the preeminent translator of Persian poetry. His translation of Ferdowsi’s eleventh-century epic Shahnameh: The Persian Book of Kings was chosen as one of the “ten best books of 2006” by the Washington Post.

Davis’ residency at PSU is supported by a $150,000 grant from the PARSA community foundation ( promoting Persian Studies at PSU.

Portland State University’s Department of World Languages and Literatures offers language and literature courses in more than two dozen languages, including Arabic, Hebrew and Turkish. The department also offers several bachelor’s and master’s degree programs. Students develop strong oral and written competencies, as well as cultural background and connections to the languages. For more information visit

The Persian program works closely with PSU’s Middle East Studies Center and  community organizations such as Persia House to promote better understanding of Persian culture and heritage.

Usage note: Farsi is the native name of the Persian language (similar to German/Deutsch, French/Français, Spanish/Español). The Academy of the Persian Language and Literature indicates “Persian” rather than Farsi as the preferred term.