By Faranak Bakhtiari

40,000 foreign nationals are studying in 43 Iranian universities

November 13, 2020 - 22:22

TEHRAN – While the issue of brain drain and academic migration has raised controversy within and outside Iran, it is undeniable that universities of the country also host many foreign national talents from the top universities worldwide.

Abdol-Hamid Alizadeh, deputy minister of science said that 40,000 foreign nationals are studying in 43 Iranian universities, 22,000 of whom are studying at the universities affiliated to the Ministry of Science, 8,000 at the Azad University, 3,000 at the Ministry of Health, and the rest at other universities.

So far, foreign students from 129 countries have come to Iran to study, he noted.

In Qom province, over 7,000 non-Iranian students are studying in 23 universities, institutes, and colleges.

Some 50 percent of these students are studying for a bachelor's degree and 16 percent of whom are educating to receive a Ph.D.

Iranian universities among world’s top universities

In October, the Islamic World Science Citation Database (ISC) published the results of the ISC World University Rankings 2019, ranking 35 Iranian universities among the world’s top 2,000 in various subjects.

Some 40,000 foreign nationals are studying in 43 Iranian universities, 22,000 of whom are studying at the universities affiliated to the Ministry of Science, 8,000 at the Azad University, 3,000 at medical universities run by the Ministry of Health, and the rest at other universities. Also, in September, Times Higher Education has published its annual ranking of the world’s top universities for 2021, listing 47 Iranian universities, which shows an increase of 7 universities compared to the last year.

With a scientific growth rate of 10.4 percent in 2019, Iran ranked second among the top 25 countries in the world, next to China with a growth rate of 12.9 percent, according to the Web of Science website.

In 2000, Iran's share of scientific productivity was about 0.1 percent, which reached about 2 percent with a 20-fold increase in both Scopus and WoS citation databases.

According to statistics released by the International Web of Science Database, Iran's citation rank has always been on the rise over the last eight years, from 24 in 2012 to 16 in 2019.

Iran ranks first in terms of the number of universities in the region and among Islamic countries, according to Shanghai Ranking’s Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU) 2020.

Two Iranian universities have been ranked among the top 100 universities in Asia, according to Webometrics Ranking of World Universities for July 2020.

Moreover, 7 Iranian universities have been listed among the best 1000 worldwide; including, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Sharif University of Technology, Tarbiat Modares University, Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, Isfahan University of Technology, Iran University of Science and Technology, came in 539th, 656th, 826th, 908th, 915th, 916th places, respectively, according to Webometrics Ranking of World Universities.

In June, THE Asia University Rankings 2020 ranked five Iranian universities among the top 100 universities worldwide.

The Center for Science and Technology Studies Leiden Ranking has placed 36 Iranian universities in the list of over 1,000 major universities worldwide in 2020 compared with 26 universities in 2019.

Also, five Iranian universities have been placed among the world’s top 1,000 universities announced by the prestigious Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) World University Rankings 2021.

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