Yale College Programs of Study 2024–2025

Persian and Iranian Studies Certificate

Certificate director: Samuel Hodgkin

This certificate recognizes the work of undergraduates who combine the study of Persian language and literature with a wider engagement with the art, philosophy, religion, history, politics, and culture of the Persian-speaking world. Students seeking to earn the certificate will develop a strong sense of community with peers interested in this area of study. These students will typically fall into three categories: 1) non-humanities majors (and pre-meds) with a strong interest in Persian and Iranian studies; 2) social science and humanities majors in non-NELC departments wishing to formalize their particular focus on Iran or Persian culture; and 3) Persian heritage students and students of Turkish, South Asian, Armenian, Central Asian, or other post-Persianate cultural backgrounds, for whom the certificate provides a way for them to explore their heritage.


Students must successfully complete 5 course credits and attend 3 events. Events include, but are not limited to Iran Colloquium lectures, sessions of Persian Circle, or screenings of Persian-language films by the language program. Students submit a 1-2 page write-up about each event to the certificate director. Events will be announced through the Certificate e-mail list and will appear on the CMES events calendar.

Courses are drawn from a list of approved courses and must be taken for a letter grade of B or above. The 5 required courses are divided between 3 content courses and 2 language courses. Courses that do not appear on the approved list may be approved by permission of the certificate director.

The content courses are concerned with the art, philosophy, religion, history, politics, and culture of the Persian-speaking world, and are identified by the attribute, YC: Persia & Iran Content, in Yale Course Search. Only two of the content courses should originate in the same department. Courses in premodern Iranian languages (e.g. Old Persian, Middle Persian, Soghdian) count as content courses. Many L5 courses are content-oriented and may count either as a content course or a language course.

To complete the language requirement, students must complete two courses in Persian language (L1-L5).

Graduate and professional school courses may count toward the certificate. No more than two course credits fulfilling the requirements of the Persian and Iranian Studies Certificate may overlap with a major, a simultaneous degree, or another certificate. Additionally, no course credit may be applied toward the requirements of more than two curricular programs. For example, the same course credit may not be used to fulfill the requirements of two certificates and a major.

Yale Course Search Searchable Attribute: YC: Persia & Iran Content

Declaration of Candidacy

Students must submit a Declaration of Candidacy for a Certificate form, as early as possible, but at the very latest, before the start of the student’s last semester at Yale. The form can be found on the University Registrar’s Office website. Once declared, Degree Audit tracks students' progress toward completion of the certificate.  

Summary of Requirements 

Number of courses 5 course credits 

Distribution of courses 3 content courses and 2 language courses

Additional requirements attendance of 3 events, and submission of a 1–2 page write-up for each