There are approximately 145 higher education institutions in Iran which are a mix of private and public universities, colleges, technical institutes and theological institutes. Private universities are solely funded through tuition, whereas public universities are free. Technical colleges are specialized in areas such as engineering or teaching. Theological institutes are specialized in Islamic and Qu’ranic studies. Iran also hosts one of the largest semi-private universities in the world, known as the Islamic Azad University, which hosts 1.7 million students. Currently, there are approximately 55’000 international students enrolled in higher education institutions in Iran, with the largest number of students enrolled in scientific degrees. For more information, please refer to the official government website: https://www.msrt.ir/en/page/33/higher-education-in-iran.
The educational structure in Iran follows the traditional path of a Bachelor’s (Karshenasi), followed by a Master’s (Karshenasi-arshad) and then a Doctorate. Prospective students in Iran are required to possess the secondary school certificate known as the Diplom-Motevaseteh, as well passing the National Entrance Examination (Konkur) and completing a pre-university course. The Konkur is a 4 and a half hour long multiple-choice exam, and the students with the top grades are accepted to medical and engineering degrees. International students with foreign certificates are accepted to certain higher education institutions, depending on the requirements and at the university’s discretion.
There is no centralized body of administration for application to higher education in Iran, meaning that students are required to apply directly to their desired institution. Bachelor’s degrees generally take four years to complete. In order to be accepted for a Master’s degree, students are required to have a Bachelor’s degree and pass another competitive entrance exam. Master’s degrees in science and art take two years, whereas degrees in architecture require six and a half years of study. Doctoral programs are usually offered in medicine, pharmacy, dentistry and veterinary studies. These programs take six years to complete and include an 18-month internship. Prospective students are required to hold a Master’s degree and pass an entrance examination.
Public universities are free for Iranian students. On average, international students pay between 700£ to 5’500£ a year in tuition fees. Students may be eligible for scholarships depending on their grade point average.
Information for International Students
The official language of instruction is Farsi, though some courses are taught in English and French. International students are required to apply for a visa to study in Iran which can be done with the help of individual universities and through local Iranian embassies. Accommodation on campus is available in most universities which is where international students usually reside.