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The Islamic Azad University (IAU; Persian: دانشگاه آزاد اسلامی‎, Dāneshgāh-e Āzād-e Eslāmi) is a semi-private university system in Iran. It is one of the largest comprehensive system of universities, colleges, and community colleges in the world.

Islamic Azad University
  • دانشگاه آزاد اسلامی

Dāneshgāh-e Āzād-e Eslāmi
Islamic Azad University logo (2).png
Seal of the Islamic Azad University
Mottoبدون شعار رسمی

شعار غیر رسمی شامل: اطلب العلم من المهد الى اللحد (Arabic)
ز گهواره تا گور دانش بجوی
آرمان ایرانی برای جهانی شدن
یادگیری و زندگی

Motto in English
No official motto

Unofficial mottos include:

Seek Knowledge from the Cradle to the Grave
Iranian Aspirations for Globalization
Learn and Live
TypeSemi-private university system[1]
FounderAkbar Hashemi Rafsanjani
Endowment$1.0 billion (2019)[2]
Budget$10.0 billion (2019)
ChairmanAli Akbar Velayati
PresidentMohammad Mehdi Tehranchi[3]
Vice-presidentBijan Ranjbar
Academic staff
~25,000 (Full-time) + ~45,000 (Contracted) (2019)[2]
Administrative staff
~35,000 (2019)[2]
Students~1,100,000 (2019)[2]
~100,000 (include medicine)[2]
Campus2 Independent + 31 State university branches under direct administration
(335 campuses, research and medical centers, 113 technical and vocational college and School in Iran and overseas)
MediaFarhikhteghan Newspaper, Afarinesh Newspaper, Azad News Agency (ANA), Isca News Agency
ColoursDark and light blue[4]         
AthleticsAzad University of Tehran Basketball Club
Azad University of Tehran Cycling Club
NicknameIAU, Azad University
SportsAzad University Giant Team
Islamic Azad University logo (with its seal)



Headquartered in Tehran, Iran, the Islamic Azad University is the world's sixth-largest university. It was approved and ratified by Supreme Council of the Cultural Revolution in 1982, having been founded and established by Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani.[5] It has an enrollment of 1.3 million students.[6][7] Since its inception in 1982, it has grown both physically and academically to become one of the largest higher education institutions globally. Over the years, IAU has promoted 'higher education for all' as its key objective. IAU has two independent and 31 state university branches across Iran, and four branches in other countries: the U.A.E., the United Kingdom, Lebanon and Afghanistan.[8] Over the years, the university has accumulated assets estimated to be worth $20–25 billion.[2][7]

The Islamic Azad University's activities quickly expanded throughout the country, so that today thousands of students are enrolling every year. Not relying on government funding, it receives charitable donations and charges tuition fees.[7]

The certificates issued by this university are recognized by the Ministry of Science, Research and Technology and Ministry of Health and Medical Education for medical education.[8] Azad University admits students through the National Wide Entrance Examination held by the National (Iranian) Organization of Educational Testing.

Endowment controversyEdit

Iran's supreme leader has declared the financial endowment of Islamic Azad University to be "religiously illegitimate and unlawful", prompting a change within the administration of the institution.[9]


  • The Board of Founders
  • The Board of Trustees
  • The President of the University
  • The University Council

Board of FoundersEdit

The board consists of nine people, including Ali Akbar Velayati (Head of Board), Abdollah Jassbi, Ali Akbar Nategh-Nouri, Hassan Khomeini, Mohsen Qomi, Ali Mohammad Noorian and Hamid Mirzadeh.

Board of TrusteesEdit

Members include:

Board of DirectorsEdit

The administration of the university is the Rector of the University Board of Trustees and approved the proposal of the Supreme Council of the Cultural Revolution and the decision of the President of the Board of Trustees is appointed for a term of four years. All Islamic Azad University campuses are governed by the Regents of the university.


President Tenure Alma mater Speciality
Abdollah Jassbi 1982–2012   Aston University Industrial Engineering and Management
Farhad Daneshjoo 2012–2013   University of Westminster Civil and Earthquake Engineering
Hamid Mirzadeh 2013–2017   University of New South Wales Polymer Engineering and Biomaterials
Ali Mohammad Noorian 2017–2017   University of Wales Electrical Engineering and Physics
Farhad Rahbar 2017–2018   University of Tehran Theoretical Economics
Mohammad Mehdi Tehranchi 2018–present   Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology Nuclear Physics
Mohammad Mehdi Tehranchi, current IAU President

Organization and AdministrationEdit

Central Organization (University System):

  • Vice Presidency for Academic and Post Graduate Affairs
  • Vice Presidency for Research, Technology and Innovation
  • Vice Presidency for Student and Cultural Affairs
  • Vice Presidency for Development and Resource Management (Financial and Administrative Affairs)
  • Vice Presidency for International Affairs and Non-Iranian Students
  • Vice Presidency for Science, Engineering and Agriculture
  • Vice Presidency for Medical Sciences
  • Vice Presidency for Humanities and Arts
  • Vice Presidency for Parliamentary Affairs and Social Relations
  • Vice Presidency for General Education and Skills Training (Sama Organization)
  • Central Research Institute
  • Science and Technology Park
  • Center of Admissions
  • Center for Provincial Board of Trustees
  • Center for Audit of the Board of Trustees
  • Center of Construction and Real Estate
  • Center of Monitoring, Inspection and Complaints
  • Policy Institute of Strategic Studies
  • Law Office
  • Cultural Center of Imam Khomeini and the Islamic Revolution
  • Strategic Council for Talented Women
  • Knowledge Based Economy and Finance Council
  • Martyrs and Veterans Administration
  • Trading Commission

Branches and campusesEdit

The Islamic Azad University has two independent[10] and 31 state university branches with 400 campuses and research centers in Iran, and four branches overseas, scattered over an area exceeding 20 million square meters, as well as a range of hospitals, laboratories, workshops, sports facilities, recreational areas and ITC facilities. IAU now welcomes many applicants locally and internationally. There are also 621 Sama high schools affiliated to the university, along with 124 technical and vocational colleges.[2]

These campuses are under the direct control of the Board of Trustees and the President. Only eleven best and famous branches are listed below. Some branches are well-known, most distinguished, most highly ranked and most prestigious, especially Central Tehran and Science and Research.

Branch Type Founded Enrollment
Science and Research Independent Comprehensive 1984 ~ 50,000
Najafabad Independent Comprehensive 1985 ~ 25,000[11]
Central Tehran Comprehensive, Head of Tehran state universities 1982 ~ 60,000
South Tehran Comprehensive 1985 ~ 35,000
North Tehran Comprehensive 1985 ~ 30,000
Tehran Medical Comprehensive 1985 ~ 15,000
Karaj Comprehensive 1984 ~ 35,000
Tabriz Comprehensive 1982 ~ 21,000
Qazvin Comprehensive 1992 ~ 28,000
Mashhad Comprehensive 1982 ~ 30,000
Isfahan Comprehensive 1983 ~ 15,000

Campuses in the City of TehranEdit

Branch Type Founded
Central Organization University System 1982
Science and Research Comprehensive 1984
Central Tehran Comprehensive, Head of Tehran state universities 1982
South Tehran Comprehensive 1985
North Tehran Comprehensive 1985
West Tehran Great 1994
East Tehran Very great 2001
Medical Tehran Medicine, Dental, Pharmaceutical & Biology 1985
Electronic Small 2008

Two-year institutionsEdit

Vice Presidency for General Education and Skills Training (Sama Organization):

  • Sama Technical and Vocational College

Educational institutionsEdit

Vice Presidency for General Education and Skills Training (Sama Organization):

  • Sama Schools (primary schools, secondary schools, elementary schools, middle schools, high schools and university-preparatory schools)
  • Skills Training Schools

Overseas branchesEdit

The Azad University in Oxford (AUO) is one of the IAU overseas branches located at the outskirts of Oxford city in the UK. It was established in 2004 to support IAU's international collaboration activities. Through its links with the UK universities and research centres, the AUO provides a number of services to the students and staff of IAU as well as other students and organisations around the world.[12]

In 1995, a branch was opened in Dubai.[13]

International officesEdit

The Islamic Azad University has international offices in Russia, Italy, Germany, the UK, UAE, Lebanon and Afghanistan.[14]

State universitiesEdit

IAU has 31 state universities (provincial universities) located throughout the provinces of Iran:

  • Islamic Azad University, Alborz Province
  • Islamic Azad University, Ardabil Province
  • Islamic Azad University, East Azerbaijan Province
  • Islamic Azad University, West Azerbaijan Province
  • Islamic Azad University, Bushehr Province
  • Islamic Azad University, Chahar Mahaal and Bakhtiari Province
  • Islamic Azad University, Fars Province
  • Islamic Azad University, Gilan Province
  • Islamic Azad University, Golestan Province
  • Islamic Azad University, Hamadan Province
  • Islamic Azad University, Hormozgan Province
  • Islamic Azad University, Ilam Province
  • Islamic Azad University, Isfahan Province
  • Islamic Azad University, Kerman Province
  • Islamic Azad University, Kermanshah Province
  • Islamic Azad University, North Khorasan Province
  • Islamic Azad University, Razavi Khorasan Province
  • Islamic Azad University, South Khorasan Province
  • Islamic Azad University, Khuzestan Province
  • Islamic Azad University, Kohgiluyeh and Boyer-Ahmad Province
  • Islamic Azad University, Kurdistan Province
  • Islamic Azad University, Lorestan Province
  • Islamic Azad University, Markazi Province
  • Islamic Azad University, Mazandaran Province
  • Islamic Azad University, Qazvin Province
  • Islamic Azad University, Qom Province
  • Islamic Azad University, Semnan Province
  • Islamic Azad University, Sistan and Baluchestan Province
  • Islamic Azad University, Tehran Province
  • Islamic Azad University, Yazd Province
  • Islamic Azad University, Zanjan Province


The university accepts nearly 500,000 students annually (10,000 PhD, 10,000 Professional Doctarate, 80,000 master, 350,000 bachelor and 50,000 associate).

Distribution of studentsEdit

In the academic year 2014–2015:

Field of study Percent
Engineering 42%
Humanities 37.11%
Art 6.84%
Science 5.68%
Agriculture and veterinary 4.41%
Medical science 3.96%
Total[2] 100%

2015–2016 enrollmentEdit

  • Agriculture: 42,113
  • Medicine: 70,143
  • Science: 82,894
  • Art: 108,432
  • Engineering: 594,767
  • Human sciences: 723,460
  • Total: 1,621,809
  • Associate degree: 295,035
  • Bachelor's degree: 832,512
  • Master's degree: 446,475
  • Professional doctoral degree: 15,751
  • PhD: 32,036
  • Total: 1,621,809

Distribution of graduatesEdit

In the academic year 2014–2015:

Field of study Percent
Engineering 43.54%
Humanities 40.71%
Art 4.99%
Science 5.47%
Agriculture and veterinary 4.64%
Medical science 0.65%
Total[2] 100%
Level of study (degree) Percent
Associate 25.97%
Bachelor's 64.76%
Master's 9.08%
Ph.D. 0.13%
M.D. 0.06%
Total[2] 100%

Medical centersEdit

IAU offers assistance in many hospitals, and has obtained the necessary approvals to establish new hospitals with nearly a capacity of 1000 beds. More details:[2]

  • 91 branches in medical sciences
  • 1578 faculty members
  • 72226 students
  • 51 majors in different levels

There are over 1500 active beds in 11 hospitals in Iran. Each medical center serves as the primary teaching site for that campus's medical school. Some hospitals are listed below:

  • Farhikhtegan Hospital in Tehran, Iran[15]
  • Bou-Ali (Avicenna) Hospital in Tehran, Iran
  • Amiralmomenin Hospital in Tehran, Iran
  • Javaheri Hospital in Tehran, Iran
  • 22 Baham Hospital in Mashhad, Iran
  • Aria Hospital in Mashhad, Iran
  • Yazd Hospital
  • Khatamalanbia Hospital
  • Rhazes Hospital
  • Katalem Hospital


U.S. News & World Report rankingsEdit

  • 2018 Best Global Universities Ranking[16]
    • Global Ranking: 497
    • Asia Ranking: 76
    • Country Ranking: 2

Subject Ranking

  • Agricultural Sciences: 132
  • Chemistry: 136
  • Computer Science: 119
  • Engineering: 38
  • Materials Science: 104
  • Mathematics: 21
  • Physics: 369

SciVisions rankingsEdit

2017: International rank: 938, National rank: 5, Regional Rank: 24 (SRBIAU)[17]

SCImago rankingsEdit

2013: International rank: 87, National rank: 1, Regional Rank: 1[18]

2012: International rank: 231, National rank: 1, Regional Rank: 2[19]

Leiden Ranking – CWTS Leiden RankingEdit

2014: World rank: 252, Country rank: 11, Regional rank: 194[20]

URAP – University Ranking by Academic PerformanceEdit

2013: World rank: 161, Country rank: 1, Regional rank: 25[21]

2012: World rank: 226, Country rank: 2, Regional rank: 34[22]

ISC rankingsEdit


Top 10 branches of the Islamic Azad University in 2010
Rank Branch Score
1 Tabriz 4.27
2 Mashhad 3.51
3 Central Tehran 3.06
4 Karaj 2.61
5 North Tehran 2.48
6 Najafabad 1.37
7 Isfahan (Khorasgan) 1.35
8 Shahrekord 1.30
9 Quchan 1.26
10 Ardabil 1.19
Top 10 branches of the Islamic Azad University in 2011
Rank Branch Score
1 Science and Research 100
2 Mashhad 23.75
3 Karaj 18.53
4 South Tehran 18.21
5 Isfahan (Khorasgan) 13.5
6 North Tehran NA
7 Najafabad NA
8 Qazvin NA
9 Central Tehran NA
10 Yazd NA
Top 10 branches of the Islamic Azad University in 2012[26]
Rank Branch Score
1 Science and Research 100
2 Karaj 99.85
3 Mashhad 99.58
4 Tabriz 99.33
5 Isfahan (Khorasgan) 98.58
6 Arak 96.82
7 North Tehran 95.51
8 Saveh 95.10
9 Shahreza 94.58
10 South Tehran 94.06


See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "EDUCATION vii. SURVEY OF MODERN EDUCATION – Encyclopaedia Iranica".
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m "IAU General Catalog 2015-2016" (PDF).
  3. ^ "انتصاب سرپرست دانشگاه آزاد اسلامی". 23 April 2017.
  4. ^ "Islamic Azad University Logotype usage guidelines" (PDF). Islamic Azad University. Retrieved January 26, 2012.
  5. ^ "Back to the Future in Iran's Election". The National Interest. Retrieved 16 July 2015.
  6. ^ Encyclopædia Britannica World Almanac, ed. 2004, page 666
  7. ^ a b c
  8. ^ a b "Gholamreza Rahimi, Ghader Vazifeh Damirch, "Islamic Azad University Roles in Scientific Development of Iran", Interdisciplinary Journal of Research in Business, Vol. 1, Issue. 9, (pp. 84–91), September–October 2011" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-07-12. Retrieved 2013-09-21.
  9. ^ "The battle over Islamic Azad University". Foreign Policy. Retrieved 16 July 2015.
  10. ^ "دانشگاه آزاد اسلامی نجف‌آباد، واحد جامع مستقل شد/ واحد جامع مستقل تابع استان نیست".
  11. ^[permanent dead link] model school-count
  12. ^ رزمی. "General Directorate of International Affairs - اداره کل بین الملل دانشگاه آزاد اسلامی - Oxford Campus".
  13. ^ "At a glance - Islamic azad university U.A.E Branch". Archived from the original on 2016-10-07. Retrieved 28 December 2016.
  14. ^ [1]
  15. ^ "Farhikhtegan Hospital at SRBIAU near completion in near future , Development Vice President announces - Islamic Azad University،Science And Research Branch". Islamic Azad University،Science And Research Branch.
  16. ^
  17. ^ "SciVisions".
  18. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-09-21. Retrieved 2013-09-15.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  19. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-09-21. Retrieved 2013-09-15.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  20. ^ (CWTS), Centre for Science and Technology Studies. "CWTS Leiden Ranking 2016". Retrieved 28 December 2016.
  21. ^ "URAP - University Ranking by Academic Performance". Retrieved 16 July 2015.
  22. ^ "URAP - University Ranking by Academic Performance". Retrieved 16 July 2015.
  23. ^ "نخستین رتبه‌بندی رسمی دانشگاه‌ها و مراکز تحقیقاتی کشور اعلام شد". Retrieved 16 July 2015.
  24. ^ "رتبه بندی دانشگاه ها و موسسات پژوهشی ایران و کشورهای اسلامی". Retrieved 28 December 2016.
  25. ^ "Ranking of Iran Universities and Research Institution". Archived from the original on 23 December 2016. Retrieved 28 December 2016.
  26. ^ "Rank Iran Azad University". Retrieved 1 January 2017.

External linksEdit