Once a student is accepted into the program, they begin by enrolling in the UMD Summer Institute prior to starting their academic year in the fall semester. This intensive domestic study program offers content level instruction, giving students a solid foundation in moving forward to complete the rigorous requirements of the Capstone academic year and getting a full year of intensive instruction in total.
Below is a sample schedule for a typical semester during a student’s Capstone Year. Classes take place each morning, and afternoons are for cultural workshops, time with language partners, homework and research.
The content level courses represent a variety of topics including Contemporary Iranian Youth Culture, Social Issues in Contemporary Iran, and Persian for Professional Purposes. Shorter modular courses will be taught by Persian-speaking faculty and focused on their specific area of expertise, such as Architecture or Women’s Studies. This allows students to learn vocabulary specific to different topic areas.
The Capstone Research Project gives each student a chance to design their own research project with guidance from Persian faculty. Students are able to connect with the local Persian community in order to do their field work, gaining important experience in communication as well as academic research.
During the spring semester, the Capstone Research component is replaced by an internship experience. Students are placed at an organization or business where they communicate primarily in Persian, allowing them to gain professional experience in a Persian-speaking environment. Internships are scheduled one day per week in the spring session.
Capstone students participate in weekly cultural workshops that allow them to develop skills in an area of Persian art or culture. Past cultural workshop topics have included Persian calligraphy and Persian art and animation, where students created illustrations for a classic Persian fable and then animated their drawings in a final video.
To view some of the student projects from these courses, please visit our Student Projects page.