Specialization in Ancient Iran and the Premodern Persian World

The Graduate Specialization in Ancient Iran and the Premodern Persian World is University of California, Irvine’s interdisciplinary program for graduate study in premodern Iranian Studies. It is designed to provide Ph.D. students the interdisciplinary training they need to conduct advanced research in the art, archaeology, architecture, history, literatures and religions of Iran, as well as those peoples, regions and empires whose destinies were intertwined with Iran, or impacted by its cultures (e.g. ancient Greece and Rome, Armenia, or Islamic Western or South Asia). Now supported by a $1.5 million grant by the Roshan Cultural Heritage Institute to establish PhD fellowships, the interdisciplinary Specialization will soon be complemented by the formation of a number of disciplinary PhD Concentrations in Iranian Studies in participating departments. While the Specialization will continue to provide the interdisciplinary program for premodern Iran, These concentrations will offer a course of study within the disciplinary PhD open to all time periods and will appear on a student's transcript upon graduation.  

The University of California, Irvine boasts unparalleled faculty and programmatic resources for the study of ancient Iran and the wider premodern Persian world, including the highest concentration of endowed chairs in ancient Iranian studies of any North American institution, soon to be joined by a new endowed chair in Zoroastrianism. With faculty strengths in ancient Iran and Persianate Western and South Asia, the specialization’s broader historical scope encompasses the Bronze Age cultures of the Iranian Plateau, Mesopotamia and Central Asia up to the early modern empires of the Mughals, Safavids and Ottomans (ca. 3500 BCE – ca. 1740 CE). The specialization’s broad conception of premodern Iranian Studies is paralleled in, and supported by, the extensive programming of UCI’s Samuel Jordan Center for Persian Studies and Culture, which provides the primary focus of the program's graduate workshop. 


Faculty Administration

Matthew P. Canepa Ph.D.
Director of the Specialization 
Professor and Elahé Omidyar Mir-Djalali Presidential Chair in Art History and Archaeology of Ancient Iran    
2000 Humanities Gateway 
Irvine, CA 92697-2785 
(949) 824-3532  matthew.canepa@uci.edu    

Staff Administration 

Liz Nguyen
Interim Graduate Office Director 
Office of Graduate Study, School of the Humanities 
143 Humanities Instructional Building 
Irvine, CA 92697-3390 

Saied Jalalipour 
Program Manager, Jordan Center for Persian Studies 
1st Floor Humanities Gateway 
Irvine, CA 92697-3370 
(949) 824-3638, sjalalip@uci.edu