Iran Fact Sheet


Education System Overview:

  • According to Iranian Students’ News Agency (ISNA), the education system in Iran changed in 2013 from 5 (primary), 3 (middle school) 4 (high school and pre-university) to 6 (primary school) and 6 (high school).


  • Primary school – Primary education is divided into two three-year cycles: primary school one and primary school two. After each cycle, students will receive a certificate of completion if they pass the final exam of that cycle. All children spend six years of their lives at primary level from ages six to 12 and attend high school from ages 12 to 18.


  • High school – Secondary education is divided into two three-year cycles: high school one and high school two. After each cycle, students will receive a certificate of completion if they pass the final exam of that cycle. Education until the end of high school one or grade 9 is compulsory, and in the public school system, free. High school two or upper secondary education is not compulsory, but is free at public schools. In high school two, students are segmented into three fields (or streams) of the education system: academic (Nazari), technical (Fani Herfei), and vocational/skills (Kar-danesh). A student’s stream is dependent primarily on his or her examination results at the end of the lower secondary cycle (high school one), and to a lesser extent on student preference. The academic stream has traditionally been the most popular.


  • Pre-University: The pre-university year is a preparatory year for students who plan to take Iran’s standardized university entrance examinations, the Konkur (or Concours), required for admission into most university programs. The pre-university year originally evolved prior to 2012, and will eventually be incorporated into the new 12-year 6+3+3 system, so that graduates can sit for entrance examinations without first completing an additional year of pre-university study. For now, however, the additional year is still a requirement for anyone who wants to sit for the Konkur. According to Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA), pre-university will be removed from the education system in Iran in the academic year of 2018-2019.


  • Military Service in Iran - Once male students complete their secondary education, they are required to serve in the Iranian military for two years.  They can defer this while studying, but have to pay a bond in order to leave Iran for their studies.



More facts about Iran Education System:

  • Academic Year Calendar: September-June
  • Language of Instruction: Persian/Farsi, English and Arabic as a second language
  • Years of Mandatory English Courses in primary an:  6 years
    • English language starts from high school (grade 7)
  • Name of School Leaving Exams:  
    • Azmoon nahaai – Certificate of Competition of Secondary Education or/and Certificate of Completion of Pre-University in Farsi from Ministry of Education, or State Exam Authority & English Translation
      • How to Verify School Leaving Exams:  Contact EducationUSA Iran Adviser for best practices at
  • Top Fields of Study/Majors:  Engineering, Sciences, Business
  • Standardized Testing Available in Iran: TOEFL, IELTS, GRE,
  • Standardized Test Mean Scores:  TOEFL iBT (Reading: 21, Listening: 21 Speaking: 20 Writing: 21 Total: 83)

Structure of University System:

  • Years of Study Required to Earn a Bachelor’s Degree: 4 years
  • Language of Instruction in Universities:  Persian/Farsi
  • Years of Required English Instruction in Universities: 2 years
  • Grading System and Interpretation: Same as Secondary School grading system
  • Degrees Offered: Kardani/Fogh Diplom (2 years), Karshenasi (4 years), Karshenasi Arshad, Doctora, and Fogh-Doctora