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Ferdowsi University of Mashhad (FUM) (Persian: دانشگاه فردوسی مشهد‎) is a university in Northeastern Iran named after the great epic poet Ferdowsi who is the author of Shahnameh. The FUM campus is in Mashhad, the capital city of the Razavi Khorasan province, which is most famous and revered for housing the tomb of Imam Reza, the eighth Shia Imam. The university was established in 1949 with the title of Razavi University,[3] making it the fourth oldest major university in Iran in the modern sense (there are however other academic colleges established before (e.g. West Minster Medical College before Urmia University).[4] FUM offers 180 bachelors, masters, and Ph.D. programs to 26,000 international and local, male and female students studying under about 900 faculty members with the aid of 2,500 staff employees. Foreign students especially from Afghanistan, Syria and Iraq make the university a popular institution in attracting non-Iranian students so that the university could be ranked first in Iran amongst other universities in recruiting foreign students,[5] after the efforts made during the presidency of Ahmadinejad who declared Mashhad as "Iran's spiritual capital".[6][7]

Ferdowsi University of Mashhad
Dāneshgāh-e Ferdowsi-ye Mashhad
Ferdowsi University of Mashad Logo
Established1949; 70 years ago (1949)
EndowmentUS$ 57.43 million
PresidentProf. Mohammad Kafi[2]

Georgetown University of Washington, D.C. (the oldest Catholic and Jesuit institution of higher education in the United States) helped Ferdowsi University of Mashhad toward its goal of becoming an upgraded university – the effort that was stopped over more than three decades after the Islamic Revolution of Iran in 1979.[8] The university has been described as a good and big campus with weak connection to other institutions.[9][10] and a world ranking of 1091 (in terms of academic performance).[11]

Ferdowsi was a great Persian poet who was born in 940 C.E. and died in 1020 C.E.


Imam Reza shrine

The university was established in 1949 and used the title Razavi University (the term “Razavi” refers to the Imam Reza holy shrine in Mashhad) [12] and then Mashhad University.[3] After Ferdowsi's tomb was opened again on April 30, 1968, following renovation and retrofitting, Mashhad University was renamed Ferdowsi University in 1974.[3] However, after the Islamic Revolution, Ferdowsi University was renamed Mashhad University; more recently it has come to be called the Ferdowsi University of Mashhad again.


The mission of Ferdowsi University of Mashhad is to educate the citizens and citizen-leaders for our society based on divine principles of Islam and scientifically qualified centers of excellence.[13] FUM has a few mosques, the most prominent of which is the mosque of Imam Reza (which was built a few years ago).[14]


The central offices of FUM

If the efforts to upgrade the college of Health to the Faculty of Medicine in 1949 is regarded as the first step in establishing Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, the university could be the fourth oldest university after the University of Tehran (1934), University of Tabriz (1947), Shiraz University (1946) University of Isfahan (1946) (there are however other academic colleges established before (e.g. West Minster Medical College founded in 1878, currently Urmia University)[4]). However Mashhad Faculty of Medicine, officially opened on November 23, 1949, is thought to belong to Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, which merged with Faculty of Literature to form the University of Mashhad in 1954 when the new Faculty opened with 5 different fields. With the expansion of higher education the following faculties also were established one after another: Faculty of Theology, Faculty of Science, Faculty of Dentistry, Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences and Nutrition, Faculty of Education and Psychology, Faculty of Agriculture, Faculty of Engineering, the Institute of Optometry, the university's high school, the Teaching Center. Mashhad University of that time was renamed Ferdowsi University in 1974.

After emerging regional health organizations in the universities of medical sciences in 1994, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences was separated from Ferdowsi University. Meanwhile, a number of new faculties and schools such as Faculty of Administration and Economics, Faculty of Veterinary Sciences, Shirvan Agricultural College, Faculty of Physical Education and Sports, Faculty of Mathematical Sciences, Neishaboor Faculty of the Arts, Institute of Plantation Science, The Seismology Research Center, the University's College, Faculty of Natural Resources and Environment, Faculty of Architecture and Urban Planning were established one after the another.[15]


School of Letters and HumanitiesEdit

Shariati School of Letters and Humanities

Founded in 1955, the School of Letters and Humanities, the nucleus and first school of the current FUM, offers graduate and postgraduate degrees in the fields of the Persian language and literature, English language and literature, Arabic language and literature, French language and literature, Russian language and literature, geography, Iranian history, social sciences, and linguistics. The Faculty has 83 academic members, 4500 undergraduate and 500 graduate students. The departments offer B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. programs. Moreover, the Department of Persian Language and Literature is designated by the Iranian Ministry of Science, Research and Technology, as a Center of Excellence in Ferdowsi Studies.

School of Economics and Business AdministrationEdit

Founded in 1987, the Faculty of Economics and Business Administration currently has 53 faculty members and 2146 students. The programs offered at the Bachelor's and Master's levels are Economic Science, Law, Accounting, Political Science, and Management.

The Research Center for the Economy of Eastern Iran and Neighboring Countries was established in 2006 for the purpose of conducting research into the economy of Iran and the neighboring countries. The Center has 11 economics specialists actively engaged in multifarious research projects.

Majors and programs offered in the Faculty of Economics:

  • Economic Sciences – Business Economics
  • Economic Sciences – Theoretical Economics
  • Economic Sciences
  • Economic Development and Planning
  • Business Management
  • Accounting
  • Law
  • Public Management
  • Political Science

School of TheologyEdit

Faculty of Sciences

Founded in 1958, the School of Theology has 48 faculty members and comprises five departments: Islamic History and Civilization, Islamic Philosophy, Islamic Jurisprudence, Koranic Studies, and Comparative Religion and Mysticism. The school offers programs at the Bachelor's, Master's, and Ph.D. levels.

School of SciencesEdit

Established in 1961, the School of Sciences has 97 faculty members, 1862 undergraduates, 325 Master's students, and 81 Ph.D. students. The faculty comprises four departments: Biology, Chemistry, Geology, and Physics. Of these, the Department of Geology is introduced as a Center of Excellence in Fossilology by the Iranian Ministry of Sciences, Research and Technology. The research centers at the School of Sciences include the Center for Research in Seismology, Center for Research in Rodentology, Center for Research in Nanotechnology, Center for Research in Biotechnology (Stem Cell & Molecular Research) and Center for Research in Environmental Chemistry to name but a few.

School of Mathematical SciencesEdit

Founded in 1996, the School of Mathematical Sciences has three departments: Applied Mathematics, Pure Mathematics and Statistics. The school has 45 academic members and approximately 1,300 students. Currently, there are 170 graduate enrollees. The School of Mathematical Sciences offers three programs specializing in Pure Mathematics, Applied Mathematics and Statistics at the Bachelor's, Master's and Ph.D. levels. Both the Departments of Mathematics and Statistics were awarded as "Centers of Excellence" by the Ministry of Science, Research and Technology in 2000 and have retained the status since then.

School of AgricultureEdit

Established in 1973, the School of Agriculture has 101 faculty members and 1622 students. The college comprises the departments of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural Machinery, Agronomy, Animal Sciences, Food Science Industry, Gardening, Plant Pathology, Plant Breeding and Biotechnology, Soil Sciences, and Water Engineering. The College of Agriculture offers 10 programs: Agricultural Economics, Agricultural Machinery, Agronomy, Animal Sciences, Food Industry Science, Gardening, Plant Pathology, Plant Breeding and Biotechnology, Soil Sciences, and Water Engineering; these programs are offered at the Bachelor's, Master's, and Ph.D. levels. The Dept. of Agronomy is considered as a Center of Excellence in Special Crops.

School of Education and PsychologyEdit

Established in 1973, the FUM School of Education and Psychology is home to 30 faculty members and about 1300 students. The school consists of 11 departments offering graduate and post-graduate programs in the fields of the educational management and planning, curriculum planning, education of disabled youth, pre-K education, the philosophy of education, clinical psychology, psychology of the disabled, general psychology, educational psychology, family counseling, and library and information sciences.

School of Veterinary MedicineEdit

Founded in 1991, the School of Veterinary Medicine has 37 faculty members and consists of the departments of Basic Sciences, Patho-biology, Clinical Sciences, and Agri-food Hygiene. There are 400 enrollees majoring in the B.Sc., Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (D.V.M.), Doctor of Veterinary Science (D.V.Sc.), and Ph.D. levels. The programs and degrees offered are Large Animal Internal Medicine (D.V.Sc.), Veterinary Parasitology (Ph.D.), Veterinary Biotechnology (Ph.D.), Veterinary Pathobiology (D.V.Sc.), Comparative Histology (Ph.D.), Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine (D.V.M.), and Veterinary Laboratory Sciences (B.Sc.). Academic members of the faculty are actively engaged in education and research in areas as diverse as clinical practice, domestic animal health and diseases, food safety, biology and public health. More importantly, the Research Center for Ruminant Abortion and Neonatal Mortality Studies is considered to be a Center of Excellence of the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine.

Faculty of EngineeringEdit

Faculty of Engineering

On February 25, 1975, Faculty of Engineering was established to serve as the leading engineering institution for the eastern part of Iran. In September 1975 (Mehr 1354), the Faculty of Engineering officially started its mission by admitting 30 students in the Electrical Engineering major and 30 students in Mechanical Engineering.

Courses are offered in B.Eng., M.Sc., Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Civil Engineering, Computer Engineering, Materials Engineering and B.Eng., M.Eng in Chemical Engineering, Industrial Engineering. Electrical Engineering group of Ferdowsi University has many prominent research labs such as integrated System Lab., corrosion and coating Lab. etc. According to Iranwatch (Tracking Iran's Unconventional Weapon Capabilities) in 2011, research on solid propellant combustion (for rocket motor chamber), air-to-air missile fuse electronics, robust controller design for a missile's yaw-channel, coastal missile defense systems as well as remotely piloted vehicle's guidance, navigation, and control computer system is being done in the university.[16]

Faculty of Architecture, Urbanism and Islamic ArtEdit

In July 2005, faculty of Architecture was founded in Ferdowsi university of Mashhad which consists of two distinct departments, Architecture Engineering and Urban planning. Each department offer Courses in B.Eng and M.Eng.

Research Institute of BiotechnologyEdit

Institute of Biotechnology was established in 2006 for the promotion of biotechnological research of the university. The following groups are active:

  • Cell and Molecular Biotechnology Research Group
  • Veterinary Biotechnology Research Group
  • Agriculture and Animal Biotechnology Research Group
  • Cell Biology and Biotechnology of Embryo Research Group

Sun & Air Research Institute (SARI)Edit

SARI institute was founded in October 2010 (Mehr 1389), for research in the field of Renewable energy. This institute has achieved many goals such as design and manufacturing of 100 kW Wind turbine. At the present time, this institute focuses on the development of different types of wind turbine and assessment of Solar panels and solar machines as a future plan.


The admission rate range is 40–50%, making this Iranian higher education organization an averagely selective institution.[17] However, considering the strong efforts to improve the higher institutions in religious cities after the Islamic Revolution (27% of the resources allocated to the university are reported to be funded through proprietary revenues other than the governmental budget),[18] undergraduate admission to Ferdowsi is limited to the top 10–20% of students who pass the national entrance examination administered yearly by the Ministry of Culture and Higher Education and could not be admitted in University of Tehran, Sharif University of Technology, Amirkabir University of Technology, Iran University of Science and Technology and Shahid Beheshti University (mostly from the cities of Razavi Khorasan, and specially Mashhad). To attract top students, the Ferdowsi University of Mashhad has tried to use the scholarships so that after the increasing decline in admission rate in sciences (and especially physics),[19][20] which was considered a serious threat to the university, additional scholarships are to be dedicated to all disciplines.[21][22]

There are 12645 undergraduate students including 8,398 females (66.4%) and 4,247 males (33.6%) in the university.[23]

Foreign studentsEdit

The Ferdowsi University of Mashhad is regarded as the first institution in attracting foreign students, mainly from Afghanistan, Lebanon, Syria, Yemen, Bahrain, Central Asian republics,[5] after the efforts made during the presidency of Ahmadinejad who declared Mashhad as "Iran's spiritual capital".[6][7] Currently, more than 1,300 foreign students have enrolled in Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, which form one twentieth of the university students. According to the head of the University, more than half of the foreign students studying at the Ferdowsi University of Mashhad are from Afghanistan and have were admitted at the university by using scholarships (106 students), through participating in the National entrance examination (199 students) and as independent students (204 people).[24]

According to a deputy president of Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, most of the foreign students studying in Iran are from Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq, Pakistan, and Turkey. According to Iran's Minister of Science, Research, and Technology (in a speech at a graduation ceremony of a number of foreign students of Ferdowsi University of Mashhad), many efforts were underway to attract as many as 25,000 by 2015 during the presidency of Ahmadinejad: "The improvement of the quality of universities has paved the way for the enrollment of foreign students. Fourteen thousand foreign students from 92 countries are currently studying at Iran's universities. And if we include the 12,000 foreign students studying at Al-Mustafa (International) University, a total of 26,000 foreign students are studying at higher education institutions in the country".[25]

International interactionsEdit

The university has been described with weak connection to other institutions.[9][10] As the head of the University said, "less than 10% of our colleagues have international interactions in Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, showing a bad situation on the connection between our academics and the universities abroad so that in order to improve the cooperation with Russian universities, the Ferdowsi University of Mashhad pays the entire cost of any joint project that each of university professors have with a Russian university or a professor."[26]


FUM publishes 48 peer-reviewed scientific journals covering almost all fields of sciences and humanities. Some national notable journals are, Journal of Cell and Molecular Research (JCMR), Iranian Journal of Health and Physical Activity, Iranian Journal of Animal BioSystematics, Iranian Journal of Electrical Systems, Iranian Journal of Veterinary Science Technology, Iranian Journal of Numerical Analysis and Optimization, etc.

International rankingsEdit

University rankings
ARWU World[27] 701–800
Leiden World[28] 478
THE World[29] 801–1,000
USNWR World[30] 868

Times Higher Education World University Rankings :[31]
2018: 801–1,000
2017: 801+

Academic Ranking of World Universities (Shanghai Ranking):[32]
2017: 701–800

U.S. News:[33]
2018: 868

  • Chemistry: 481
  • Engineering ranking: 260
  • Materials science: 384

2017: 820

  • Agricultural sciences: 180
  • Engineering ranking: 252
  • Materials science: 368

CWTS Leiden Ranking:[34]
2018: (P indicator): 478
2017: (P indicator): 509
2016: (P indicator): 537

SCImago Institutions Rankings:[35]

Famous eventsEdit

After the controversial appearance of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at Columbia University on 25 September 2007, Ferdowsi University of Mashhad invited President Bush to travel to Iran and speak on campus about a range of issues, including the Holocaust, terrorism, human rights and U.S. foreign policy. The invitation asked Bush to answer questions from students and professors "just the same way" that Ahmadinejad took questions "despite all the insults directed at him." The White House said that Bush would be willing to travel to Iran, but under different circumstances: "President Bush looks forward to traveling to a democratic Iran, an Iran where its leaders allow freedom of speech and assembly for all of its people and an Iran where the leaders mourn the victims of the Holocaust, not call for the destruction of Israel," National Security Council spokesman Gordon Johndroe said.[36][37]

Some Iranian educational institutions such as Ferdowsi University of Mashhad have also been building their presence in Afghanistan. As Iranian officials announced in February 2009, the university opened a campus in Herat (named after a Persian poet who resided in Herat during the eleventh century)—the efforts that allow Iran to engage directly with Afghanistan's population and develop close ties with religious and ethnic minorities.[38]

In 2011, Ferdowsi University's Department of Engineering in Mashhad said it would segregate students by gender in nearly 50 courses.[39] One year before, a few general courses at Ferdowsi, such as general mathematics and physics, imposed separate classes for men and women.[40] The disciplinary restrictions imposed on students, particularly female students, had been on the rise since June 2009, in many cases accompanied with insults and degradation of students.[41]

Professor's Basij Organization (PBO)Edit

The emergence of Mahmud Ahmadinejad in the 2005 presidential election brought a new force to Iran's political power, namely, the Professor's Basij Organization (PBO). PBO offices were established at a few large universities, including Ferdowsi University of Mashhad. The military, Basij, and IRGC veterans teaching at these universities welcomed the establishment and inauguration of the Basij bureaus at universities, as most of them were already enrolled in such bureaus in other settings.[42] The number of the registered members of the Professor's Basij Organization in Razavi Khorasan is 2 thousand and 500, most of whom belong to the Ferdowsi University of Mashhad (it has 900 faculty members).[43] According to the head of Razavi Khorasan's PBO, the number of Basiji professors is much greater than the number of the registered PBO members.[43] 4,000 students of Mashhad's universities (mostly the Ferdowsi University of Mashhad) have registered in the Basij Organization.[44]

Notable alumniEdit


  1. ^ "Financial information=December 10, 2014".
  2. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-03-04. Retrieved 2018-12-02.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  3. ^ a b c "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2017-10-25. Retrieved 2018-12-02.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  4. ^ a b See Cohran's biography on the Iranian Academy of Medical Sciences website
  5. ^ a b "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2018-04-30. Retrieved 2018-12-02.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  6. ^ a b مشهد، پايتخت معنوي ايران اعلام شد. (in Persian). 27 May 2015. Archived from the original on 2015-05-27. Retrieved 2017-10-24.
  7. ^ a b نام‌گذاري مشهد به عنوان پايتخت معنوي [Designation of Mashhad as the spiritual capital of Iran] (in Persian). 1 November 2009. Archived from the original on 26 October 2013. Retrieved 26 October 2013.
  8. ^ Problems and Issues in Higher Education: Perspectives on Iran-United States Educational Relations and Influences. p. 8
  9. ^ a b "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2017-01-04. Retrieved 2017-01-03.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  10. ^ a b
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^
  14. ^
  15. ^ The History of Ferdowsi University of Mashhad Ferdowsi University of Mashhad. Retrieved 30 August 2014.
  16. ^
  17. ^
  18. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2017-01-06. Retrieved 2018-12-02.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  19. ^
  20. ^
  21. ^[permanent dead link]
  22. ^
  23. ^ Hedayati-Moghaddam, M. R.; Eftekharzadeh-Mashhadi, I; Fathimoghadam, F; Pourafzali, S. J. (2015). "Sexual and Reproductive Behaviors among Undergraduate University Students in Mashhad, a City in Northeast of Iran". Journal of Reproduction & Infertility. 16 (1): 43–48. PMC 4322181. PMID 25717435.
  24. ^
  25. ^
  26. ^
  27. ^
  28. ^
  29. ^
  30. ^
  31. ^ Times ranking of FUM
  32. ^ Ranking of ARWU
  33. ^ USNews Ranking of FUM
  34. ^ CWTS Leiden Ranking
  35. ^ SCImago Ranking of FUM
  36. ^
  37. ^
  38. ^ "Iran Universities To Open Branches Abroad," Fars News Agency, February 15, 2009. Available at World News Connection.
  39. ^
  40. ^
  41. ^
  42. ^
  43. ^ a b
  44. ^[permanent dead link]
  45. ^
  46. ^ 4th Asian-Pacific Women Parliamentarians and Ministers’ Conference, June 11–12, 2006. Wellington, New Zealand sponsored by the Asian Forum of Parliamentarians on Population and Development.
  47. ^ "Parliament members" (in Persian). Iranian Majlis. Retrieved 28 October 2014.

External linksEdit