Universities and research institutes in Iran are open to all eligible Iranians and non-Iranian applicants.Two main ministries are responsible for directing the science, research and technology. The first and the largest one of the two, is the Ministry of Science, Research and Technology (MSRT), which is in charge of all the courses of Basic Science, Human Science, Engineering, Art, Agriculture, and in charge of universities, research centres and all Science and Technology Parks. The second is the Ministry of Health and Medical Education (MOHME), which oversees the integration of the delivery of health services and medical education, all medical universities and also the Clinical courses. From 1988, non-profit private universities were allowed to operate.

There are two main types of higher education institutions in the country:

  1. University (public and private) – comprehensive, specialized, applied sciences, distance learning, medical, or private.
  2. Research Institution

For more information about the admission procedure, please visit the websites of the Universities in Iran or contact cisc@msrt. ir in this Ministry.


Stages of higher education:

  1. Associate Degree (Kardani)- 2 to 3 years
    Description: Technical and vocational training universities train technicians for enhancing the link between universities and industry. Students sit for an entrance examination and follow a two-or three-year post-secondary course leading to the Associate Degree.
  2. University level first stage- Bachelor’s degree (Karshenasi)- 4-5 years
    Description: The Bachelor’s degree is conferred after four to five years’ study or two years after the Associate degree. The Bachelor’s degree requires 130 to 140 credit units. The continuous Master degree is offered in Dentistry, Medicine, Pharmacy and Veterinary Medicine as well as in some other fields and requires the completion of 210-290 units and a dissertation.
  3. University level second stage- Master degree (Karshenasi Arshad)- 2 years
    Description: The postgraduate qualification of Master’s degree in Arts and Science is generally conferred after two years’ study beyond the Bachelor’s degree. Students must sit for an entrance examination, pass 13 general and 32 to 36 semester units. It is either by coursework or research (in this case, students must prepare a thesis (dissertation) and defend it successfully before the advisory committee).
  4. University level third stage: Doctorate- 4 years or more
    Description: The Doctorate is offered at the professional level (Medicine, Dentistry, Pharmacy, Veterinary Medicine) and is the level of a Ph.D. In Dentistry, Pharmacy and Veterinary Medicine, studies last for 6 years. Ph.D. programmes are divided into educational and research phases. The educational phase comprises a Master’s degree and passing an entrance examination.

For detailed information on existing and previous stages of higher education please click here.

Distance Higher Education: Distance education is provided for the most part by both public and private institutions. It is provided by Payame Noor University.

For more information about the schooling and higher education in Iran please click here.