Persian Placement

Students requiring a Persian language proficiency exam should contact Shahrzad Shams, Assistant Teaching Professor of Persian and Iranian Studies at

Students must state in this initial outreach:

  • If they are a UW student
  • The reason for the proficiency exam (i.e. admission to a class, graduation requirements)
  • Their current level of proficiency or familiarity with the language
  • The date by which they need to have the results returned.

Proficiency exams are currently without charge.

The test takes 75 minutes to complete, but students should expect the entire process, including intake and review to last up to 90 minutes.

Results may take up to two weeks to be returned. The results will be emailed to the requesting office.

The 15-credit Elementary Persian sequence (Persian 411, 412, 413) is offered once annually, beginning in Autumn quarter. The class meets Monday-Friday at various times in the morning since there are different sections. An intensive version of this same course, also earning 15 credits, is sometimes offered in Summer quarter (Persian 401). For information on enrolling for the summer, consult the Summer Quarter website.

The 15-credit Intermediate Persian course (Persian 421, 422, 423) is offered once annually, beginning in Autumn quarter. The class usually meets Monday-Friday at 11:30-12:20. To enroll in the intermediate course, students must pass Persian 413, or pass an examination demonstrating equivalent knowledge, or have the permission of Shahrzad Shams.

Additional courses in Persian language and literature are offered annually. The selected courses are from the following: the 15-credit advanced Persian course (Persian 431, 432, 433); advanced topical courses in Persian on language and literature (451, 452, 453); topical courses in English translation. To enroll in the advanced courses in Persian, students must pass Persian 423, or have the permission of Shahrzad Shams.

Students who are native speakers of Persian cannot enroll in Persian 411, 412, 413; Persian 401; or Persian 421, 422, 423. Students who wish to study Persian and who are not sure if UW considers them native speakers should consult with Shahrzad Shams. Heritage students are not the same as native speakers. Persian classes are available to nonmatriculated students and to Access students only on a space-available basis. Priority in registration will always be given to MELC majors.

Grading Policies

To meet the University of Washington foreign language requirement, undergraduates must pass three quarters of an elementary language course, with a minimum grade of 2.0. Successful completion of Persian 413 with a 2.0 or higher grade meets the requirement.

Graduate students taking Persian classes must receive a minimum grade of 2.7 in order to earn credit toward their degrees.

Proficiency Exams

Students who wish to demonstrate knowledge of Persian sufficient to meet the University of Washington undergraduate foreign language requirement may take a “proficiency” exam. The exam is administered through the Testing Center in the Office of Educational Assessment, located in 440 Schmitz Hall. Information on fees and testing dates should be available from this source. Contact MELC for guidance if the OEA does not have the information you require.

Two exams are available

  1. An exam covering material from the first two quarters of Elementary Persian (Persian 411, 412). To be exempt from these courses, students must pass this test with a score of 75 or higher.
  2. An exam covering material from all three quarters of Elementary Persian (Persian 411, 412, 413). Students must pass this test with a score of 75 or higher to be exempt from University of Washington’s undergraduate foreign language requirement. By receiving a passing mark on this exam students qualify to enroll in Intermediate Persian (Persian 421).
  3. There is no proficiency exam for intermediate Persian.

Deficiency Exams

Individuals applying for admission to undergraduate programs at the University of Washington are required to have completed 2 years of high school foreign language classes. Those who have not met this requirement (and so have a "deficiency" in their application) may take the first proficiency test option to demonstrate sufficient knowledge of Persian.

Transferring Credit from Persian Programs in the United States

Students who wish to study Persian at other programs in the United States must consult with the Admissions Office at UW and also contact Shahrzad Shams before they leave to attend these programs. Returning students must bring official transcripts, curriculum and text information, etc., in order to receive transfer credit as well as request an official transcript be sent to Admissions.

Credit By Exam

Students who have learned Persian outside of the UW but do not have credits to transfer may pursue Credit By Examination by following these steps:

  1. During the First Week of the quarter, students should pick up the C.B.E. form in Schmitz 264.
  2. Students must receive permission from the Persian professor and the MELC department chair to take the exam. Students may contact the MELC Undergraduate Advisor for help obtaining signatures.
  3. Once the form is filled out and signed, students take it and pay a Credit By Exam fee at the Cashier’s Office in Schmitz. Then the form goes to the Graduation and Academic Records office. The form must be filed with GARS no later than Friday of the second week.
  4. Contact Testing Services to schedule the exam. Students may choose to take one of the two proficiency exams for credit. All exams taken for credit must take place during the fourth or fifth week of the quarter. Testing Center at the Office of Educational Assessment, located in 440 Schmitz Hall. Information on fees and testing dates should be available from those sources.

More information about Credit By Exam