Department of Middle Eastern Studies
Department of Middle Eastern Studies

New Online Persian Institute Course to be Offered this Fall

Fri, August 10, 2012

The Middle Eastern Studies program at UT Austin will launch the Online Persian Institute in fall of 2012, in partnership with University Extension.  The institute will expand on the curriculum of UT’s Persian Summer Institute, using a combination of proficiency-based communicative language instruction and discipline-based content on Iranian history and politics. This thirty-week, three-credit-hour institute, includes two levels. The superior level will be taught by Kamran Scot Aghaie, associate professor of Iranian history and Persian Studies at UT Austin, and the advanced level will be taught by Blake Atwood, lecturer of Persian at the University of Pennsylvania, and academic coordinator for the UT Persian Summer Institute.

While a number of universities offer first-year and second-year Persian, and in some cases third-year, it has become increasingly difficult for universities to offer advanced and superior courses in Persian language. This challenge is compounded by the near-universal inability of American students to study Persian within Iran. 

“The Online Persian Institute grew out of a national need for rigorous Persian courses at the advanced and superior levels. After several years of success with our Persian Summer Institute, we saw the need to expand our Institute to include a year-long online component,” said Aghaie.

“There is finally technology available that will allow us to maintain our high standards in language instruction online. We hope to share the methodologies and practices that we have been developing to teach Persian at UT Austin,” said Atwood.

Middle Eastern Studies at The University of Texas at Austin strives to make the less commonly taught languages of the region more accessible to people across the nation and around the world. 

“We hope that this online course will be the meeting place for advanced Persian students from all different backgrounds. We anticipate that it will especially appeal to graduate students and working professionals whose busy schedules require that they maintain and develop their language skills in a low-intensity but pedagogically sound online environment,” said Aghaie. 


For more information, contact: Denise Beachum, 512-471-6132 or

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