Students complete their Capstone Year here at the University of Maryland during their fourth or fifth year of studies.
About The Capstone Year
This intensive year of Persian is designed so Advanced speakers of Persian can attain Superior level (3 on ILR scale) proficiency. To help students reach this goal, we offer many resources and different components through the Capstone program.
Components of the Capstone Year Include:
Intensive summer study at the UMD Persian Summer Institute – Content Level (4th Year)
Living/learning environment in the Persian House with a Persian Mentor
Content Level Courses and Modular Courses
Biweekly Cultural Workshops
Language Partners for 3 hours Each Week
Capstone Research Project
The location of the Persian Stateside Capstone Year allows students to take advantage of the close proximity to Washington, DC as well as all the resources that UMD has to offer. The DC metro area has one of the largest communities of Iranian-Americans in the United States, giving students the opportunity to participate in a rich calendar of cultural activities and also providing a great resource for students’ research and fieldwork.
Funding from The Language Flagship supports this innovative approach to language teaching and provides scholarship support to students.
Program and Curriculum
During their Capstone Year, students live in an innovative living/learning environment on or near campus, designed to simulate immersion. Each student signs a language pledge to speak only Persian in the house, and the media equipment in the home allows students to watch multiple TV channels and on-demand films in Persian.
There is a dedicated Persian Mentor who is with students in the Persian House leading cultural activities and encouraging conversations so students are able to experience a daily routine of dialogue and exchanging ideas in Persian. The cultural activities are designed to encourage high-level interaction and broaden vocabulary and expressions in topics beyond what students are learning in the classroom.
These activities may include:
- Shopping for groceries at a local Persian store and cooking Persian meals together
- Hosting social events with native speakers of Persian
- Movie nights or watching a TV series together
- Language workshops
- Game nights
- Listening to different genres of Persian music
- Decorating for Persian holidays and celebrations
Students receive academic credit for participating in this living/learning environment component of the Persian Capstone Year.
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 fieldwork, 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 and Resources page.
Am I eligible to apply to the Persian Capstone Program?
To be eligible, you must be a Persian Flagship student in good standing, at an Advanced proficiency level (ILR 2) or above in Speaking, Listening, and Reading.
As a Capstone student, what is expected from me in addition to taking Persian classes?
- Weekly one-on-one meetings with a language partner to practice your Persian
- Live in the Persian House and participate in evening and Sunday activities
- Participate in Persian Capstone events and field trips
- Active Participation in Capstone courses, including a research project and an internship
Can I work or be a part-time student while in the Capstone Program?
The Capstone Year is a full time commitment, and students can expect to spend about 60-65 hours per week engaged in activities. Students are enrolled full time and take 13 credits each semester.
As a Capstone student, am I eligible for scholarships?
Yes, Capstone students are eligible for need-based funding to help meet the costs of the intensive summer and the Capstone Year. Flagship staff work closely with students to make good financial plans and to help them pursue funding for their studies. Current students can view our Scholarships page for more detailed information.
What are the requirements to become a Flagship Certified Graduate?
- Complete your UMD undergraduate degree(s)
- Complete the Capstone Year and internship
- Achieve a level 3 (Superior) in Persian at the end of program testing in Speaking and at least a level 2+ in Listening and Reading
In consultation with their academic advisor and based on their study plan, Persian Flagship students apply to the Capstone Program during their junior or senior year, and we partner with American Councils to assess student proficiency levels as part of the application process in the Spring semester prior to their Capstone Year. Students should be at an ILR level 2 or Advanced level of speaking, reading and listening before beginning their Capstone Year.
To find out more information about the different proficiency levels of the ILR scale, please visit www.govtilr.org and choose a skill (speaking, reading, listening) to read the description.
We are always interested in meeting prospective students and their parents and are happy to schedule a visit to our program. You can also find us at the many outreach events held on the University of Maryland's campus including Maryland Day, First Look Fair, Language Career Fair and more.
For more information or to arrange a visit, you may contact us directly or fill out the form below to have someone reach out to you.