Headquartered in Tehran, Iran, the Islamic Azad University is the world’s sixth-largest university. It was approved and ratified by the Supreme Council of the Cultural Revolution in 1982, having been founded and established by Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani. It has an enrollment of 1.1 million students. 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.
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. 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. The university admits students through the National Wide Entrance Examination held by the National (Iranian) Organization of Educational Testing.
The Islamic Azad University has two independent and 31 state university branches with 400 campuses and research centers in Iran, and four branches overseas, as well as a range of hospitals, laboratories, workshops, sports facilities, recreational areas and ITC facilities. It now welcomes not only local but also international students. There are 621 Sama high schools affiliated to the university, along with 124 technical and vocational colleges.