Higher Education in Iran
Iran higher education is available to students who have successfully completed one year of pre-university, or Peeshdaneshgahe, and passed the National Entrance Examination, called the Konkur. University education lasts four years, typically between the ages of 18 and 22, and awards a Bachelor degree, Karshenasi, or License upon graduation.
Academic terms in Iranian universities take place between the months of September and June. Classes take place Saturday through Thursday and the academic year is divided into two terms called semesters or course credits.
Why Study in Iran?
Iranian universities are best known for their programs in chemistry, medicine, engineering, and physics. Many foreign students come to Iran to study the culture and history of the region. Post-secondary admission in Iran is highly competitive for state funded colleges. Students who earn admission to universities do not typically pay for tuition or boarding except those attending Islamic Azad University, which is self-funded and, therefore, independent of the state budget.
Some people wish to study in Iran to master the language, learn about the culture, or even prepare for a future in diplomatic relations with Iran and other Middle Eastern cultures.
Be aware that female students in Iran were barred from pursuing degrees in more than 70 different degree courses in 2012. The official reason is that the state has decided these courses are to be single gender courses, which effectively limits them to men. Female students interested in studying abroad in Iran, need to verify the courses they plan to take will be available to them.
Prominent Universities in Iran
There are several prominent universities to consider in Iran including the University of Tehran, Tarbiat Modarres University, Iran University of Science and Technology, and Shiraz University. Students pursuing studies in the medical field may be interested in Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences or Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences.
Study Possibilities for International Students
While there are no proficiency requirements to study in Iran, the courses are taught in Persian. This means students must read, write, and communicate effectively in Persian in order to excel in these programs. There are many programs available to international students in Iran though the most common are Persian study courses and sources in Islamic studies. International Muslim students pursuing Islamic studies in Iran are eligible to receive scholarships that waive tuition, boarding, and medical expenses while also providing living expenses for the duration of their studies.
Student Visa Requirements
Student visas are available to foreign nationals who wish to study in Iran. They require two application forms, passport that is valid for six months, two recent photographs, visa fee, and acceptance from an accredited university or educational center. An interview may be necessary in addition to the other requirements.
It is best to begin the application process for your student visa as early as possible in order to be able to attend university in Iran on schedule. Do not wait until the last minute or you may have to put off your studies for another year.
Current tuition at University of Tehran for International students ranges from $7,000 to $9,000 per year for undergraduate studies and $6,500 to $8,200 for graduate studies. However, non-Iranian students pursuing degrees in Persian Language and Literature or in Iranian Studies may be granted 15 percent additional discounts while those who are successfully admitted to Master's or Ph.D. programs may be granted discounts equal to fifty percent of tuition (65 percent total for graduate students in Persian Language and Literature or Iranian Studies). These fees, however, do not include dormitories, food, or insurance fees.
While not required for attendance at some Iranian universities, it is strongly urged that international students attending college in Iran consider obtaining health insurance from local insurance companies. Even if your existing insurance company extends coverage while traveling or studying abroad (many insurance companies do not cover these circumstances), finding facilities that accept foreign insurance may prove difficult. Local insurance coverage is the best option for international students, by far.