Islamic Azad University

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Islamic Azad University
  • دانشگاه آزاد اسلامی

Dāneshgāh-e Āzād-e Eslāmi
Islamic Azad University logo (2).png
Seal of the Islamic Azad University
Motto آرمان ایرانی برای جهانی شدن (Persian)
Motto in English
Iranian Aspirations for Globalization
Type Non-governmental private university system[1]
Established 1982
Founder Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani
Endowment 140,955,000 USD[2]
Budget $3.0 billion (2016)
Chairman Ali Akbar Velayati
President Mohammad Mehdi Tehranchi[3]
Vice-president Alireza Rahai
Academic staff
70,000 (2015)[2]
Students 1,702,231 (2015)[2]
Undergraduates 1,544,434[2]
Postgraduates 157,797[2]
Location Iran
United Kingdom
United Arab Emirates
Campus 2 independent and 31 state university branches (335 campuses and research centers and 113 technical and vocational college in Iran, and 4 branches overseas) under direct administration
Media Farhikhteghan Newspaper, Afarinesh Newspaper, Azad News Agency (ANA), Isca News Agency
Colours Dark and light blue[4]         
Athletics Azad University of Tehran Basketball Club
Azad University of Tehran Cycling Club
Nickname IAU, Azad University
Affiliations SCRC
Sports Azad University Giant Team
Islamic Azad University logo (with its seal)

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


Headquartered in Tehran, Iran, the Islamic Azad University is the world's fifth-largest university. It was approved and ratified by Supreme Council of the Cultural Revolution in 1982, having been founded in 1982 and established by Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani.[5] It has an enrollment of 1.7 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 controversy[edit]

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 Founders[edit]

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 Trustees[edit]

Members include:

Board of Directors[edit]

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.

IAU presidents[edit]

Farhad Rahbar, current IAU President

Organization and Administration[edit]

  • Vice Presidency for Academic and Post Graduate Affairs
  • Vice Presidency for Research and Technology
  • Vice Presidency for Student and Cultural Affairs
  • Vice Presidency for Financial and Administrative Affairs
  • Vice Presidency for Medical Sciences
  • Vice Presidency for Law and Parliamentary
  • Vice Presidency for Sama Organization
  • Central Research Institute
  • Science and Technology Park
  • Center of Admissions
  • Center for Provincial Board of Trustees
  • Office of International Affairs
  • 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 campuses[edit]

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 Province 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

Branches in the City of Tehran[edit]

Branch Type Founded
Central Organization University System 1982
Science and Research Comprehensive 1984
Central Tehran Comprehensive 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 institutions[edit]

  • Sama Technical and Vocational College

Educational institutions[edit]

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

Overseas branches[edit]

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 offices[edit]

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

State universities[edit]

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

Distribution of students[edit]

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 enrollment[edit]

  • 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 graduates[edit]

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 centers[edit]

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 rankings[edit]

  • 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 rankings[edit]

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

SCImago rankings[edit]

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 Ranking[edit]

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

URAP – University Ranking by Academic Performance[edit]

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

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

ISC rankings[edit]


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 also[edit]


  1. ^ Ahmad Ashraf, "EDUCATION vii. GENERAL SURVEY OF MODERN EDUCATION," Encyclopaedia Iranica, Online Edition, December 15, 1997, available at
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "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. ^ 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". Retrieved 28 December 2016. 
  14. ^راه-اندازی-۱۶-دفتر-بین-المللی-دانشگاه-آزاد-در-خارج-از-کشور
  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. 
  19. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-09-21. Retrieved 2013-09-15. 
  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. ^ Retrieved 1 January 2017.  Missing or empty |title= (help)

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 35°43′58″N 51°23′20″E / 35.7328°N 51.3889°E / 35.7328; 51.3889