Encyclopaedia Iranica Online

(12,819 words)

This article will deal with the faculties of Agriculture, Fine Arts, Law and Political Science, Letters and Humanities, and Medicine, which are among the oldest and most important secular institutions of higher education in Persia. Other faculties of the University of Tehran and main faculties of other major universities will be treated under individual UNIVERSITIES.

A version of this article is available in print

Volume IX, Fascicle 2, pp. 140-156

FACULTIES OF THE UNIVERSITY OF TEHRAN. The University of Tehran was founded in 1313 Š./1934 from four pre-existing schools (madrasas) which were renamed as faculties (dāneškada): the Faculty of Medicine (Dāneškada-ye pezeškī), the Faculty of Law and Political Science (Dāneškada-ye ḥoqūq o ʿolūm-e sīāsī), the Faculty of Letters (Dāneškada-ye adabīyāt), and the Faculty of Sciences (Dāneškada-ye ʿolūm). Two new faculties were also created, the Faculty of of Engineering (Dāneškada-ye fannī) and the Faculty of Islamic Studies (Dāneškada-ye maʿqūl o manqūl, later Elāhīyāt). From the 1940s to the 1970s the following eleven faculties were added to the above divisions: In 1940, the Faculty of Fine Arts was founded as Honarkada-ye honarhā-ye zībā; it was renamed Dāneškada-ye honarhā-ye zībā in 1949. In 1945, the School of Veterinary Medicine (Madrasa-ye dām-pezeškī) was incorporated into the university and formed the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine (Dāneškada-ye dām-pezeškī; see DĀM-PEZEŠKĪ ii). In 1946, the Faculty of Agriculture (Dāneškada-ye kešāvarzī) was incorporated into the University. In 1956, the Departments of Dentistry and Pharmacy of the Faculty of Medicine became independent and formed the Faculty of Dentistry (Dāneškada-ye dandān-pezeškī) and the Faculty of Pharmacy (Dāneškada-ye dārū-sāzī). In 1964, the Faculty of Education (Dāneškada-ye ʿolūm-e tarbīatī) and Faculty of Administration (Dāneškada-ye ʿolūm-e edārī) were formed. In 1966, the Faculty of Health (Dāneškada-ye behdāšt) and Faculty of Forestry (Dāneškada-ye jangal-dārī) were established; in 1967, the Faculty of Economics (Dāneškada-ye eqteṣād) was founded; and in 1973 the Faculty of Social Sciences and Cooperative Studies (Dāneškada-ye ʿolūm-e ejtemāʿī wa taʿāwon) was formed.

This article will deal with the faculties of Agriculture, Fine Arts, Law and Political Science, Letters and Humanities, and Medicine, which are among the oldest and most important secular institutions of higher education in Persia. Other faculties of the University of Tehran and main faculties of other major universities will be treated under individual UNIVERSITIES.


The Faculty of Agriculture of Karaj (Dāneškada-ye kešāvarzī-e Karaj) was originally founded in Tehran as the College of Agronomy (Madrasa-ye ʿālī-e falāḥat) in 1306 Š./1927 and officially opened three years later, under the directorship of Aḥmad-Ḥosayn ʿAdl, assisted by Moṣṭafāqolī Bayāt and Maḥmūd Fāteḥ (Bahrāmī, pp. 161-62; Maḥbūbī, Moʾassasāt I, p. 407). In 1319 Š./1940 the name of the school was changed to Faculty of Agriculture of Karaj. The program was full time for three years, and the students’ expenses were paid by the government. All graduates received the equivalent of bachelors’s degrees in agricultural engineering and were employed by the Ministry of Agriculture (Wezārat-e kešāvarzī). From 1309 Š./1930 to 1318 Š./1939 a total of 187 people were graduated, an average of nineteen a year (Table 1).


The College of Agronomy had several short-lived predecessors. The Moẓaffarī School of Agronomy (Madrasa-ye felāḥat-e moẓaffarī) was the first agricultural school in Persia; it was founded in 1318/1900 in Tehran under the direction of a Belgian agricultural expert named Mr. Dascher. The prerequisites for entrance were knowledge of the Persian language and a slight acquaintance with one foreign language. The program was for three years, and in the six years that the school functioned thirty-five people of rural origin were trained. The school was closed for financial reasons at the time of the Constitutional Revolution (q.v.) in 1324/1906 (Bahrāmī, p. 150; Maḥbūbī, Moʾassasāt I, pp. 406-7). The second Persian agricultural-training school was the Farmers’ School of Karaj (Dabestān-e barzgarān-e Karaj), which was founded at Karaj outside Tehran in 1336/1918 under the direction of the German Hans Scherike. The program was only for two years, and in the first class there were twenty-five graduates. This school was closed in 1301 Š./1922, and in its place the School of Agronomy and Rural Industries (Madrasa-ye ʿālī-e felāḥat wa ṣanāyeʿ-e rūstāʾī) was established in Tehran. The prerequisite for entrance to the three-year program was a certificate from a primary school. Three classes, totaling thirty-five people, were graduated before the school was closed in 1306 Š./1927 (Bahrāmī, pp. 161-62; Maḥbūbī, Moʾassasāt I, p. 407). It was in the expanded facilities of this school that the College of Agronomy was established.

In Esfand 1324 Š./March 1946 the Faculty of Agriculture of Karaj was separated from the Ministry of Agriculture and attached to the University of Tehran. At that time the number of teachers was seventeen. The next year Taqī Bahrāmī was appointed dean; he was succeeded in 1326 Š./1947 by ʿAbbās Dawāčī, who was followed in turn in 1328 Š./1949 by Manṣūr ʿAṭāʾī. One obstacle to growth of the faculty was its policy of providing room and board, which prevented it from accepting more than about thirty students at a time. In 1332 Š./1953 the free room and board was canceled, and thirty-five scholarships were established for students who maintained high grades. As a result, the number of graduates increased from an average of 45 a year in 1329 Š./1950 to 102 a year a decade later and 121 a year in 1349 Š./1970 (Table 1).

The expansion of the faculty in the 1950s was furthered by aid provided under the American Point Four program, including funds for completion of half-finished buildings in 1320 Š./1941, deep wells, facilities for experimentation, agricultural equipment, and granting full-time employment to teachers previously employed only part time; in addition, an American agriculturist, William E. Carroll, collaborated in Tehran with the associate-dean Rūḥ-Allāh Farzāna, an engineer, to prepare and implement a master plan for the faculty. Other Point Four aid involved paying the salaries of five professors from the School of Agriculture at the University of Utah to teach at the faculty in Tehran.

In 1334 Š./1955 Moḥammad-Ḥasan Mahdawī Ardabīlī was appointed dean of the faculty. In 1335 Š./1956, with the assistance of Carroll, he compiled and implemented a new curriculum, extending the three-year program to four years. In the same year the number of scholarships reached 140, and women were accepted as students for the first time. The first two years of the program were devoted to the basic sciences and some additional courses, including botany, entomology, mathematics, physics, chemistry, meteorology, statistics, geology, village health, fundamentals of economics, a foreign language, general agriculture, general horticulture, general animal husbandry, and forestry. In the final two years students were divided among ten more specialized departments (gorūh): general agriculture, agronomy and improvement in seeding, horticulture, animal husbandry, forestry, irrigation and cultivation, plant diseases, geology, agricultural equipment, and village industries. In 1345 Š./1966 forestry was transferred to the Faculty of Forestry (Dāneškada-ye jangal-dārī), renamed in 1350 Š./1971 as the Faculty of Natural Resources (Dāneškada-ye manābeʿ-e ṭabīʿī), and subsequently courses on agricultural economics and agricultural propagation were added to the curriculum.

Beginning in 1332 Š./1953 the faculty published the quarterly Našrīya-ye taḥqīqāt-e Dāneškada-ye kešāvarzī, in which members of the teaching staff published their research; in 1346 Š./1967 the title was changed to Būltan-e Dāneškada-ye kešāvarzī-eKaraj and again in 1356 Š./1977 to Našrīya-ye ʿelmī o fannī-e Dāneškada-ye kešāvarzī-e Dānešgāh-e Tehrān.

A graduate program was instituted in 1350 Š./1971, and each department accepted graduate students on the basis of entrance examinations. By 1369 Š./1990 the teaching staff of the faculty had grown to 110 people, including seventeen full professors, twenty associate professors, thirty-two assistant professors, and forty-one instructors.


(for cited works not given in detail, see “Short References”):

T. Bahrāmī, Tārīḵ-e kešāvarzī-e Īrān, Tehran, 1330 Š./1951.


Like most other faculties of the University of Tehran, the Faculty of Fine Arts was created by integrating already existing institutions (see EDUCATION xvii). In 1940, on the initiative of Esmāʿīl Merʾāt, the minister of education, who was also in charge of administering Tehran University, a College of Fine Arts (Honarkada-ye honarhā-ye zībā) was formed by merging the School of Applied Arts and Crafts (Madrasa-ye ṣanāyeʿ wa pīša wa honar), which had been founded by the famous painter Moḥammad Ḡaffārī Kamāl-al-Molk (q.v.; Maḥbūbī, Moʾassasāt I, pp. 415-16), with the School of Architecture (Madrasa-ye ʿālī-e meʿmārī). The new Faculty was temporarily housed in the old theological school, Madrasa-ye Marvī, in central Tehran and a year later transferred to the basement of the newly built Faculty of Engineering (Dāneškada-ye fannī), while its designated building was being constructed on the main university campus. It finally moved to its present premises in 1949.

The first director of the Honarkada was André Godard (q.v.), the French archaeologist and architect (Marefat, pp. 105-8). He established the curriculum and recruited the teaching staff, including ʿAlī- Moḥammad Ḥaydarīān, Abu’l-Ḥasan Forūḡī (q.v.), and Ḥasan-ʿAlī Wazīrī, former students of Kamāl-al-Molk; Moḥsen Forūḡī (q.v.), Fatḥ-Allāh ʿObbādī, Moḥsen Moqaddam, and Yevgīnā Āftāndīlīān, graduates of the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris; and the Armenian engineer and architect Ḵāčīk Bābloyān. The French architects Roland Dubrulle and Maxime Siroux, and the Swiss architect Alexandre Moser, who had all been recruited to plan and supervise the construction of the main buildings of Tehran University volunteered to teach gratis at the Honarkada and taught there until 1945. Asad-Allāh Qahramānpūr, the director of the secretariat (ra’īs-e daftar), also played an important part in the establishment of the college.

The Honarkada was closely modeled on the École des Beaux-Arts, and the syllabus and projects taught there were translated into Persian and used in teaching (Marefat, p. 106). However, it must also be borne in mind that Godard and his colleagues at the college, notably Moḥsen Forūḡī and Siroux were also profoundly attached to traditional Persian forms of architecture: “[W]hat distinguishes them from the generations that followed them was their awareness of the Persian building heritage” (Marefat, p. 104). The curriculum was planned in two parts, each taking two years and leading to a bachelor’s degree. Teaching and practical work were done in studios, each directed by a single professor. The three workshops in architecture led by Dubrulle, Siroux, and Moḥsen Forūḡī were particularly important because of their outstanding teachers. In painting there were two studios, one directed by Ḥaydarīān, and the other by ʿObbādī. In sculpture there was initially one workshop with only one student, under the supervision of the well-known sculptor Abu’l-Ḥasan Ṣadīqī, another student of Kamāl-al-Molk.

In 1327 Š./1948 the Parliament granted the request of the University of Tehran that the Honarkada be included in its system of faculties (dāneškadas), and the college’s name was subsequently changed from honarkada to dāneškada. In the following year, Godard resigned his post as dean of the Faculty of Fine Arts and returned to France. His successor, Moḥsen Forūḡī, held the post until 1962. During his term in office Forūḡī expanded the faculty’s teaching staff, recruiting some of the distinguished alumni of the School. He also upgraded the architectural curriculum, which was recognized as equivalent to a six-year degree in engineering (mohandesī). Forūḡī was succeeded by Hušang Sayḥūn, another eminent architect. In his six years as dean, he introduced four new disciplines: urban planning, music, sculpture, and drama. Prominent members of the international artistic community were invited to the Faculty of Fine Arts as guest–lecturers; numerous arts exhibitions were held, and well-known contemporary masters of Persian art joined the staff as part-time instructors.

In 1963 the system of higher education in Persia underwent radical changes (see Maḥbūbī Ardakanī, p. 65). Following the American pattern, a semester system was introduced and the curriculum was based on course units divided into compulsory courses and elective options. With the introduction of departments at the Faculty of Fine Arts, the system of students tutored by individual professors in studios was abandoned. They now had a choice of a major subject (e.g., architecture, painting) and a number of optional ancillary courses such as history of art and perspective. The new departments were often subdivided into sections; for example, the Department of Plastic Arts (Gorūh-e honarhā-ye tajassomī) had specialized sections on painting, graphic arts, industrial design, and art instruction.

In 1968 Fażl-Allāh Reżā, the newly appointed president of the University of Tehran, undertook to complete the restructuring of the university system, bringing in many new teachers to replace the older staff. His appointee as dean of the Faculty of Fine Arts was Moḥammad-Amīn Mīrfendereskī, a Faculty of Fine Arts alumnus in architecture who had completed post-graduate studies in Italy. However, the new dean was unable to deal simultaneously with the complex curricular changes and the large intake of rather inexperienced staff. Mahdī Kawṯar, who replaced him in 1971, was more successful in directing the restructuring process, but on the whole the reorgan ization resulted in lowering educational standards, especially in the field of architecture. Kawṯar had also studied in Italy, and it could be said that under the direction of these last two deans before the Islamic Revolution, “the dominant cultural force in Iranian schools of architecture and engineering shifted from French domination to an Anglo-American bias with some Italian influence” (Ardalān, p. 353).

By 1979, a total of 1,948 students had graduated from the Faculty of Fine Arts, among them many contemporary leading figures in music, the cinema, painting, and architecure. After The Revolution of 1979 the Faculty of Fine Arts, like other faculties, lost a number of its prominent teachers. Its music department was closed down and music teaching did not resume until 1991. However, some departments were expanded, and postgraduate courses in industrial design and graphics were established.


Author’s interviews with Īraj Eʿteṣām, Jawād Ḥamīdī, Maḥmūd Jawādīpūr, ʿAlī Mahadawī, Moḥsen Moqaddam, Asad-Allāh Qahramānpūr, Hušang Ṣāneʿī; the author’s own recollections as a student and teacher at the faculty; and material in the archives of the Faculty of Fine Arts, University of Tehran.

Published sources: N. Ardalān, “Architecture viii. Pahlavi, After World War II,” in EIr II, pp. 351-55.

E. Āštīānī, “Šarh-eá ḥāl wa tārīḵ-e ḥayāt-e Kamāl-al-Molk,” Honar o Mardom, N.S., no. 7, Ordībehešt 1342 Š./1963, pp. 8-19.

Ḥ. Maḥbūbī Ardakānī, Tārīḵ-e taḥawwol-e Dānešgāh-e Tehrān wa moʾassasāt-e ʿālī-e āmūzešī-e Īrān dar ʿaṣr-e ḵojasta-ye pahlavī, Tehran, 1350 Š./1971.

M. Marefat, “The Protagonists who Shaped Modern Tehran,” in Ch. Adle and B. Hourcade, eds. Téhéran, capitale bicentenaire, Paris and Tehran, 1992, pp. 95-125.

FACULTIES OF THE UNIVERSITY OF TEHRAN iii. Faculty of Law and Political Science

The Faculty of Law and Political Science (Dāneškada-ye ḥoqūq o ʿolūm-e sīāsī) is one of the oldest institutions of modern higher education in Persia, founded in 1306 Š./1927 with the merger of the School of Political Science (Madrasa-ye ʿolūm-e sīāsī, q.v.; established in 1317/1899) and the School of Law (Madrasa-ye ʿālī-e ḥoqūq; established in 1337/1918). In 1313 Š./1934, when the University of Tehran was founded, the school formed one of six main faculties of the new university and was renamed Faculty of Law, Political Science, and Economics (Dāneškada-ye ḥoqūq o ʿolūm-e sīāsī o eqteṣādī). Finally, in 1967, when the Department of Economics was granted faculty status, the Faculty of Law, Political Science, and Economics was renamed the Faculty of Law and Political Science.

TheSchool of Political Science (Madrasa-ye ʿolūm-e sīāsī), the second modern institution of higher learning after Dār al-fonūn (q.v.), was established on 15 Šaʿbān 1317/19 December 1899 to train sons of notables for modern diplomatic services. It was founded by Mīrzā Naṣr-Allāh Khan Nāʾīnī Mošīr-al-Dawla, the Foreign Minister, at the suggestion of his son, Mīrzā Ḥasan Mošīr-al-Molk, a law graduate from Moscow University who organized the school and became its first principal (Mostawfī, Šarḥ-e zendagānī II, pp. 68-69).

The School of Political Science was the pioneering educational institution in the fields of modern political science and international relations, jurisprudence, economics, and history. The term of study at the School of Political Science was five years, consisting of a three-year preparatory and a two-year advanced level. Functioning both as a high school and as a university faculty, it offered core subjects, such as history and geography, as well as courses on diplomacy, which included French language, international law, and jurisprudence. Moḥammad-ʿAlī Forūḡī (q.v.), an instructor and later the principal of the School of Political Science, prepared several pioneering textbooks on the history of Persia and ancient peoples, including a history of the Sasanians (Tārīḵ-e Sāsānīān, Tehran, 1316/1898); a history of the ancient nations of the East (Tārīḵ-e melal-e qadīma-ye mašreq, Tehran, 1318/1900); a history of ancient Persia (Tārīḵ-e Īrān-e qadīm, Tehran, 1318/1900); and a concise history of Persia (Dawra-ye tārīḵ-e moḵtaṣar-e Īrān, Tehran, 1323/1905). He also prepared the first textbook on economics, a translation from French of Adam Smith’s The Wealth of Nations (Oṣūl-eʿelm-e ṯarwat-e melal, Tehran, 1323/1905) as well as the first textbook on constitutional law (Ḥoqūq-e asāsī yā ādāb-e mašrūṭīyat-e dowal, Tehran, 1325/1907). In addition, Mīrzā Ḥasan Khan Mošīr-al-Molk prepared the first textbook on international law (Ḥoqūq-e bayn al-melal; Forūḡī, pp. 718, 721-27; Mostawfī, Šarḥ-e zendagānī II, pp. 68-71; Afšār, pp. 233-37; Pahlavān, pp. 345-57).

The SchoolofLaw (Madrasa-ye ʿālī-e ḥoqūq). This school was established on 13 December 1918 on the initiative of Fīrūz Mīrzā Noṣrat-al-Dawla (q.v.), the minister of justice (wazīr-e ʿadlīya) as a department of the ministry for training judges and lawyers. Fīrūz Mīrzā commissioned Adolphe Perney, the French advisor of the Ministry, to set up the school by recruiting four French law instructors, and a number of qualified Persians. Perney was appointed as the dean and Mīrzā Jawād Khan ʿĀmerī as the associate dean. The school’s academic structure included a two year high school preparatory level at tenth and eleventh grades and a three year college education proper offering a līsāns (bachelor’s degree). The School of Law trained 82 graduates in five classes from 1921-26 (ʿĀqelī, pp. 46-48; Afšār, p. 238; Forūḡī, pp. 733-34).

TheSchool of Law and Political Science. In 1306 Š./1927 Sayyed Moḥammad Tadayyon, minister of education (wazīr-e maʿāref), brought under the jurisdiction of his ministry the Faculty of Political Science from Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Wezārat-e ḵāreja), and the School of Law from Ministry of Justice (Wezārat-e ʿadlīya). The two schools merged to form the School of Law and Political Science (Madrasa-ye ḥoqūq o ʿolūm-e sīāsī). Mīrzā ʿAlī-Akbar Khan Dehḵodā, who had been in charge of the School of Political Science since 1299 Š./1920, was appointed its dean. Also incorporated into this school was the School of Commerce (Madrasa-ye tejārat, established in 1305 Š./1926). The three year program of the school was divided into a two year period of core courses and a final year of specialized training in the fields of law, political science, administration, or economics (ʿAbdoh, pp. 58-59; Afšār, pp. 238-39; ʿĀqelī, pp. 47-48).

TheFaculty of Law, Political Science and Economics. In 1313 Š./1934, the School of Law and Political Science was renamed the Faculty of Law, Political Science, and Economics (Dāneškada-ye ḥoqūq o ʿolūm-e sīāsī o eqteṣādī) and formed, along with five other schools, the University of Tehran. In Esfand 1319 Š./March 1941, the new building of the faculty was inaugurated on the campus of the University of Tehran. The faculty members included Shaikh Moḥammad ʿAbdoh Borūjerdī (civil code, and civil procedures), Jawād ʿĀmerī (commercial law, private international law, and penal procedures), Alexander Āqāyān (penal code), Moḥsen Asadī (English), Moḥammad Bāqer Āyat-Allāhzāda (feqh or Islamic jurisprudence), ʿAbd-al-Ḥamīd Aʿẓamī Zangana (money and banking), Gild Brand (Russian), Sayyed Ḥasan Emāmī (q.v.; history of law), Julian Lafin (French), Amīr Sehām-al-Dīn Ḡaffārī (history of diplomacy), Aḥmad Matīn Daftarī (international organizations), Moḥammad Maẓāher (also known as Ṣadīq Ḥażrat; international law, finance), Sayyed Walī-Allāh Naṣr (history of Persian law, economics), Qāsem Qāsemzāda (constitutional law, economics, and history of economic thought), and Shaikh Moḥammad Sangalajī (Islamic jurisprudence, feqh; Afšār, pp. 240-41; Maḥbūbī Ardakānī, pp. 56, 355).

Among the well-known political and academic figures who served as dean of this faculty were ʿAlī Akbar Dehḵodā (q.v.; 1934-41), Mosṭafā ʿAdl Manṣūr-al-Salṭana (1941-42), Aʿẓamī Zangana (1942-51), Mūsā ʿAmīd (1951-63), and Moḥammad Naṣīrī (1971-75; Afšār, p. 240). Some of its faculty members who gained national fame included Sayyed ʿAlī Šāyegān, Ḥasan Emāmī (q.v.), Shaikh Moḥammad Sangalajī, Mīrzā Maḥmūd Šehābī, Moḥammad Meškāt, Aḥmad Matīn Daftarī, Ebrāhīm Pūr-e Dāwūd, ʿAbd-Allāh Moʿaẓẓamī, Moṣṭafā Meṣāḥzāda, and Karīm Sanjābī.

Academic structure. Until 1336 Š./1957 the three-year term of study was divided into a two-year core curriculum and a final year of specialization in one of the three major fields—law, political science, or economics. Then the term was increased to four years, consisting of two years of required core courses and two years of specialized courses. The curriculum emphasized the civil law of Persia and its bases in Shiʿite jurisprudence. Civil law was one of the required courses in the first two years as well as a core course for those specializing in law and required both oral and written examinations. Shiʿite jurisprudence was taught in both the core curriculum and in the specialized curriculum for law. The latter curriculum also included oṣūl-e feqh (methods of deriving Islamic jurisprudence) and qawāʾed-e feqh (principles of Islamic jurisprudence). Graduation required completion of the four year term of study as well as a thesis in one of the fields (Dānešgāh-e Tehran, 1336 Š./1957, p. 929).

In 1334 Š./1955 a doctoral program in three disciplines—law, political science, and economics— was offered in the faculty, with the assistance of a number of American and French scholars. In 1343 Š./1964 the faculty followed other institutions of higher education and adopted the American two semester system and assigned faculty members to a number of semi-independent departments, including private civil law (ḥoqūq-e ḵoṣūṣī), Islamic law, political science, social economics, comparative law, finance, political economy, criminal law, and public law. Also adopted was a minimum program of study of one year for the master’s degree and of two years for the doctoral degree (Dānešgāh-e Tehran, 1336 Š./1957, pp. 929-30; Idem, 1344 Š./1965, pp. 47-49).

Enrollment. In the period from the mid-1940s to the mid-1970s, the faculty’s enrollment vacillated between 2,000 and 2,600. In the post-Revolution period, enrollment dropped to 885 in 1986-87 and 981 in 1996-97 (Table 1). The female participation rate has increased rapidly from none in 1936-37 and only 0.2 percent in 1946-47 to three percent in 1956-57, over 13 percent in 1966-67, and nearly 20 percent in 1996-97.


Affiliated institutes. In the period 1955-73 a number of research and educational institutes in the specialized fields of business administration, economics, criminology, international relations, and comparative law were established in the Faculty of Law and Political Science. In 1333 Š./1954, with the cooperation of the University of Southern California (USC), the Institute of Business Administration (Moʾassasa-ye ʿolūm-e edārī) was established, offering master’s and doctoral programs in administration. Harry Marlow, from USC, and Mūsā ʿAmīd, dean of the faculty, served as co-directors of the institute. Eight American and a number of Persian instructors taught there. In 1343 Š./1964 this institute was granted the status of a faculty and was separated from the Faculty of Law and Political Science as the Dāneškada-ye ʿolūm-e edārī wa modīrīyat-e bāzargānī (Dānešgāh-e Tehrān, 1344 Š./1965, pp. 79-84).

The Institute of Economic Research (Moʾassasa-ye taḥqīqāt-e eqteṣādī) was founded in 1339 Š./1960 under the supervision of the Department of Economics with three research groups. The reports of the research groups and other articles on economic issues were published in the Institute’s journal, Taḥqīqāt-e eqteṣādī. In 1345 Š./1966 the institute and the department were separated from the Faculty of Law and Political Science and formed the Faculty of Economics. In 1337 Š./1958 the Institute of Journalism (Moʾassasa-ye rūz-nāma- negārī) was founded and offered a one year program for journalists with cooperation of James Wellard of the University of Virginia. The Center for Higher International Studies (Markaz-e moṭālaʿāt-e ʿālī-e bayn al-melalī) was founded in 1345 Š./1966 as part of the faculty in order to train experts and researchers in the field of international relations, international law, international economics, and international organizations. This institute admitted students at the master’s level. It was first part of the Department of Political Science, but in 1352 Š./1973 it was merged with the newly founded Department of International Relations. The Institute of Criminology (Moʾassasa-ye taḥqīqāt-e ʿolūm-e jazāʾī wa jorm-æenāsī) was also founded in 1345 Š./1966 and offered a one year program in criminology for in-service training of various professionals in the field of criminal justice. The Institute was abolished after the Revolution of 1978-79 but resumed its research activities in 1989. The Institute of Comparative Law, with four separate research sections (Islamic law, Roman and Germanic law, common law, and social law), was founded in 1352 Š./1973. It has organized several conferences as well as a number of short-term courses in comparative law, drawing upon Persian and foreign scholars. It has also published a number of books and periodicals in comparative law (Maḥbūbī Ardakānī, pp. 237, 428, 435, 438; and personal interviews).

The library of the faculty. With over 80,000 printed titles, 310 periodicals, and 716 valuable manuscripts in the early 1970s, the library of the faculty was one of the major libraries in the country. The library has housed the private libraries of Moḥammad-ʿAlī Forūḡī, ʿAlī-Akbar Dāvar, Moḥammad Moṣaddeq, Mūsā ʿAmīd, and Ṣādeq Reżāzāda Šafaq.

An evaluation. In its long life, which extends over the 20th century, the Faculty of Law and Political Science has undergone periods of innovation and stagnation. Founded as the School of Political Science at the turn of the century, the Faculty introduced modern social sciences, including political science, international relations, diplomacy, economics, and even the modern discipline of historiography to the Persian elite. Its Department of Law also introduced modern jurisprudence and principles of legal procedures in both fields of civil law and criminal justice. However, until the late 1950s it languished under the old French curriculum (with minor modifications). This was particularly evident in the fields of political science and economics, where old theories and texts were taught for several decades. For instance, in this period the course on political thought covered only Greek political philosophy and the political ideas of the middle ages and did not deal with either modern political theory or the history of Persian political thought. Innovative changes were introduced to the faculty in the late 1950s to 1960s when the introduction of a doctoral program and the addition of affiliated institutes brought a number of American, French, and Persian scholars to the faculty who offered new courses or revised and updated the content of old courses. Among the new courses were macroeconomics, modern political theory, and the history of Persian and Islamic political thought.

All in all, until the 1970s, the Faculty of Law and Political Science was a major training ground for the Persian intellectual and political elite. It educated public servants, lawyers, judges, economists, diplomats, and journalists. Although other universities in Persia have founded similar faculties since the 1960s, the greater number of country’s cadres at the Ministries of Justice and Foreign Affairs have been trained by this faculty.

In the post-Revolution period of the 1980s to the 1990s the faculty has encountered serious challenges from a powerful faction of the conservative ʿolamāʾ who had always suspected the faculty of being a bastion of secularism. As early as the time of its establishment at the turn of the century, Shiʿite ʿolamāʾ had objected to the teaching of courses in Islamic jurisprudence at the School of Political Science. The subject, they believed, should be taught only at religious schools. Their suspicion heightened when the School of Law was established to train judges and lawyers, professions which had been the monopoly of the ʿolamāʾ for over a millennium. It was not surprising that the faculty was among the first targets of the purge of the University of Tehran during the cultural revolution of the early 1980s. As a result of the purge, a number of well- qualified members of the faculty as well as the secularist instructors who had joined the faculty after the Revolution were dismissed. To strip the faculty of its basic function, those ʿolamāʾ who dominated the Ministry of Justice established the School of Judicial Sciences (Dāneškada-ye ʿolūm-e qażāʾī) in 1982 to train judges and lawyers for the newly organized Islamic judiciary system. Furthermore, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs established the School of International Relations (Dāneškada-ye rawābeṭ-e bayn-al-melal) in 1983 to train personnel for the diplomatic service. As a result, the faculty’s traditional function, i.e., training judges, lawyers, and diplomats, has been suspended and members of the faculty and the content of its curriculum continue to be under the control of conservative religious elements.


J. ʿAbdoh, Čehel sāl dar ṣaḥna I, Tehran, 1368 Š./1989, pp. 58-59.

Ī. Afšār, “Dāneškada-ye ḥoqūq,” in Sawād o bayāż, Tehran, 1349 Š./1970, II, pp. 233-42.

B. ʿĀqelī, Ḵāṭerāt-e yak noḵost wazīr: Doktor Aḥmad Matīn Daftarī, Tehran, 1371 Š./1992.

Dānešgāh-e Tehrān, Sāl-āma-ye Dānešgāh-e Tehrān, sāl-e taḥṣīlī-e 1335-1336, Tehran, 1336 Š./1957.

Idem, Aḵbār-e Dānešgāh-e Tehrān, šemāra-ye maḵṣūs:Taḥawwolāt-e Dānešgāh-e Tehrān az sāl-e 1320 tā sāl-e 1344šamsī, Tehran, 1344 Š./1965.

Idem, Rāhnemā-ye dānešgāh-e Tehrān, 1353-54, Tehran, 1354 Š./1975, p. 149.

Dāneškada-ye ḥoqūq o ʿolūm-e sīāsī, Sāl-nāma-ye dāneškada-ye ḥoqūq o ʿolūm-e sīāsī o eqteṣādī, Tehran, for academic years 1313-14 Š./1934-35, 1317-18 Š./1938-39, 1326-27 Š./1947-48, 1331-32 Š./1952-53, 1342-43 Š./1963-64.

Idem, Rāhnemā-ye dāneškada-ye ḥoqūq o ʿolūm-e sīāsī o eqteṣādī, Tehran, 1346 Š./1967.

Idem, Gozāreš-e dāneškada-ye ḥoqūq o ʿolūm-e sīāsī be dānešgāh-e Tehrān, Tehran, 1369 Š./1990.

M.-ʿA. Forūḡī, “Tārīḵča-ye ḥoqūq,” Taʿlīm o tarbīat 6/10, 1315 Š./1936, pp. 717-34.

Ḥ Maḥbūbī Ardakānī, Tārīḵ-e taḥawwol-e dānešgāh-e Tehrān wa moʾassasāt-e āmūzeš-e ʿālī-e Īrān dar ʿaṣr-e ḵojasta-ye Pahlavī, Tehran, 1350 Š./1971.

Č. Pahlavān, Dar zamīna-ye Īrān-æenāsī II, 1368 Š./1989, pp. 327-505.

Wezārat-e farhang, Sāl-nāma o āmār 1322-27, Tehran, 1327 Š./1948.

Wezārat-e farhang o Āmūzeš-e ʿālī, Āmār-e āmūzeš-e ʿālī-e Īrān: sāl-e taḥṣīlī-e 1372-73, Tehran, 1373 Š./1994.

Wezārat-e maʿāref, Sāl-nāma o āmār 1315-16, Tehran, 1316 Š./1937.

FACULTIES OF THE UNIVERSITY OF TEHRAN iv. Faculty of Letters and Humanities

The Faculty of Letters and Humanities (Dāneškada-ye adabīyāt wa ʿolūm-e ensānī), originally named the Faculty of Letters, Philosophy, and Educational Sciences (Dāneškada-ye adabīyāt wa falsafa wa ʿolūm-e tarbīatī), was one of the six faculties constituting the University of Tehran when it was founded in Bahman 1313 Š./February 1935. The core curriculum of the faculty consisted initially of literature, philosophy, history, and geography—subjects already taught at the Teachers’ College (Dāneš-sarā-ye ʿālī; See EDUCATION xix; xx). At first the faculty was housed in the buildings of the Teachers’ College in Bāḡ-e Negārestān, a park of the Qajar period, near the present Bahārestān Square. In 1958 the institution was moved to a modern building on the main campus of the university.

Administration. The Teachers’ College and the Faculty of Letters, Philosophy and Education were administered jointly until 1942, when the University of Tehran was granted administrative and fiscal autonomy. In that year the faculty was reorganized as two institutions: Faculty of Sciences (Dāneškada-ye ʿolūm), and Faculty of Letters (Dāneškada-ye adabīyāt). The latter was given overall administrative control of the Teachers’ College. The Teachers’ College became an independent institution in 1955–56. In 1966 the Faculty of Letters was assigned its present name (on these developments see MDAT 3/1, 1334 Š./1955, p. 99; Sāl-nāma-ye Dānešgāh-e Tehran, Tehran, 1336 Š./1957, p. 88; Ḥ. Maḥbūbī Ardakānī, Tārīḵ-e taḥawwol-e Dānešgāh-e Tehrān wa moʾassasāt-e ʿālī-ye āmūzešī dar ʿaṣr-e ḵojasta-ye Pahlavī, Tehran, 1350 Š./1971, pp. 225-32).

Until 1942, the dean of the faculty was appointed by the Ministry of Education. After that date, when the University of Tehran was given an independent status, deans were elected by the council (šurā) of each faculty. The first president of the faculty and the Teachers’ College, ʿIsā Ṣadīq, held the post until 1940. His immediate successors were Walī-Allāh Naṣr, who remained in office until 1942 and ʿAlī-Akbar Sīāsī who administered the joint institution from 1942 to 1955. After the separation of the Teachers’ College, he continued as dean of the Faculty of Letters until his resignation in 1963. From that year on, deans were appointed by the president of the university—a system still in force. The appointees who held this office between 1963 and the Revolution of 1979 were Ḏabīḥ-Allāh Ṣafā (1963–68), Sayyed Ḥosayn Naṣr (1968–72), Abu’l-Ḥasan Jalīlī Yazdī (1972–74), Moḥammad-Ḥasan Ganjī (1974–75), and ʿEzzat-Allāh Negahbān (1975–78).

Initially, the teaching staff of the faculty consisted of scholars who also taught at the Teachers’ College (see Sāl-nāma-ye Dāneš-sarā-ye ʿālī 1313–14 Š./1934–35): Badīʿ-al-Zamān Forūzānfar (Persian literature), ʿAlī-Akbar Sīāsī (psychology), Asad-Allāh Bīžan (education), Amīna Pākravān (history of fine arts, later French), Sayyed Moḥammad Tadayyon (Arabic literature), Reżāzāda Šafaq (history and philosophy), ʿAbd-al-Ḥosayn Šaybānī (general history), Sayyed Moḥammad-Kāẓem ʿAṣṣār (Islamic philosophy), Masʿūd Kayhān (geography), Saʿīd Nafīsī (history of the ancient world), William S. Haas (modern Western philosophy), Jean Hytier (French language and literature), Ḡolām-Reżā Rašīd Yāsemī (history of Persia after the Arab conquest), Mahdī Bayānī (Persian literature), ʿAbd-Allāh Faryār (English), and Loṭf–ʿAlī Ṣūratgar (English literature).

Academic programs. 1. Bachelor’s degrees (līsāns, from Fr. “licence”; renamed kār-æenāsī after the Revolution of 1979): At the beginning, the Faculty and the Teachers’ College offered only three-year bachelor’s programs in four disciplines: Persian literature, foreign languages, history and geography, philosophy and education (Majalla-ye taʿlīm o tarbīat 9/4, 1318 Š./1939, pp. 63–64; Sāl-nāma-ye Dānešgāh-e Tehrān, 1335–36 Š./1956–1957, p. 882). Archaeology and Arabic literature were added to the bachelor’s programs in 1936 and 1959 respectively (MDAT 7/2, 1338 Š./1959, p. 96). In 1963 the entire university ystem underwent significant reforms, adopting a structure similar to the American college system. The academic year was divided into two semesters (nīm-sāls), the minimum duration of studies for a bachelor’s degree was extended to four years (eight semesters), and departments (gorūhhā–ye āmūzešī) were established in every faculty. The Faculty of Letters and Humanities was divided into departments of Persian language and literature, art and archaeology; social sciences, geography, history, philosophy, psychology and education, foreign languages, general linguistics, and ancient languages (i.e., Old Persian, Avestan, and Pahlavi; since 1972, these subjects have been taught only at post-graduate levels). In 1969 the Department of Foreign Languages split into three departments: Arabic language and literature, English language, and other European languages (French, German, Russian, and Italian). In 1972 the Department of Social Sciences became an independent Faculty of Social Sciences and Cooperative Studies (Dāneškada-ye ʿolūm-e ejtemāʿī wa taʿāwon). After the Revolution of 1979 the Department of Foreign Languages was upgraded to the status of Faculty of Foreign Languages (Dāneškada-ye zabānhā-ye ḵārejī). Presently, the Faculty of Letters and Humanities consists of seven departments: Persian language and literature, general linguistics, ancient languages and cultures, history; geography, psychology, archeology and art, Arabic literature (MDAT 11/2, 1342 Š./1963, p. 250; 12/3–4, 1344 Š./1965, p. 478; 16/4, 1348 Š./1969, p. 679; Rāhnemā-ye Dānešgāh-e Tehrān, 1352–53 Š./1973–74, p. 553). Until 1953–54, the only condition for enrollment in the Faculty of Letters and in the Teachers’ College was a secondary school diploma and passing a competitive entrance exam (literary section). Holders of secondary school diplomas in the sciences were also admitted after taking a number of specialized courses. Candidates were required to pass an entrance examination in Persian, Arabic, and a European language (MDAT 1/2, 1332 Š./1953, p. 131). For many years now, admission to all colleges and universities in Persia has been based on comprehensive general entrance examinations for the whole country (āzmūn-e sarāsarī).

2. Master’s degrees (fawq-e līsāns; now renamed kāršenāsī-e aršad): The first master’s program in the faculty was organized in 1958 in the field of social sciences. In 1962 it was followed by a master’s program in psychology and education. After the university reforms of 1963, many other master’s programs were gradually instituted. At present, master’s degrees are conferred by all seven departments of the Faculty of Letters and Humanities, each with its own admission criteria. The minimum duration of studies at the master’s level is four semesters.

3. Doctoral programs (dawra-ye doktorī): The doctoral program in Persian language and literature, established in 1937, was the first Ph.D. program offered at the Faculty of Letters. The first successful candidate to obtain a doctorate in Persian literature was Moḥammad Moʿīn (q.v.), whose thesis, supervised by Ebrāhīm Pūr-e Dāwūd, was accepted in 1941 and later published as Mazdyasnāwa taʾṯīr-e ān dar adabīyāt-e fārsī (Tehran, 1326 Š./1947). At present doctorates are also conferred in philosophy, history, geography, general linguistics, and ancient culture and languages of Persia. Initially, holders of a bachelor’s degree in Persian language and literature could continue their studies in the only available doctorate program, on the strength of written recommendations from the Faculty’s teaching staff. Since the establishment of master’s programs, doctoral candidates in all disciplines are required to hold a master’s degree in a relevant field, and to pass written entrance examinations. The minimum duration of studies on the doctoral level is four semesters, which includes the writing of a thesis (Rāhnemā-ye Dāneškada-ye adabīyāt, 1339 Š./1960, p. 56).

4. Evening courses for bachelor’s degrees: This program began in 1967, with degrees in four fields—Persian literature, English, French, and Arabic. It was discontinued in 1979.

5. Department for Foreign Students (Baḵš-e dānešjūyān-e ḵārejī): Established in 1953 under the title of ‘Courses in the Language and Culture of Persia for Foreigners,’ this department comprised two sections: courses in modern Persian language and courses in Persian literature and culture. Each section granted certificates upon the completion of a course (MDAT 2/2, 1333 Š./1954, p. 100). Subsequently, the department was expanded to include a one-year program of introductory courses in Persian language and culture, and a doctorate program which accepted only candidates already holding a bachelor’s degree in Persian or a related field. Later the introductory program was transferred to the International Institute of the Persian Language, which teaches Persian to foreign students wishing to enroll at Persian universities. The department offers only graduate programs at M.A and doctorate levels. As of 1991, 337 foreign students had obtained doctoral degrees there.

Graduation system. In order to be granted a bachelor’s degree from the Faculty of Letters or the Teachers’ College, students at first had to obtain a number of certificates (šahādat-nāmas) out of the twenty-three offered by the institution. The number of required certificates depended on the field of study (Majalla-ye taʿlīm o tarbīat 4/5, 1313 Š./1934, pp. 312-13; 4/7–8, 1313 Š./ 1934, pp. 475-76). Students who wanted to become qualified secondary-school teachers had to choose three additional courses in educational studies out of the seven courses offered by the Teachers’ College. These three courses were considered as equivalent to one šahādat-nāma (Majalla-ye taʿlīm o tarbīyat 6/12, 1315 Š./1935, p. 883). In 1956 the faculty introduced the system of compulsory and elective course units. The full bachelor’s curriculum had to be completed in not less than three and no more than six years. Certificates could still be granted for a number of course units with a common subject or related subjects: for instance, the certificate in history of Persian literature comprised nine course units (MDAT 3/4, 1335 Š./1946, pp. 91–102). After the reforms of 1963, the course credits (units) system was adopted in all institutions of higher learning. At the Faculty of Letters and Humanities, freshmen were required to take general courses such as Persian, a foreign language, and essay writing (MDAT 14/4, 1346 Š./1957, p. 526). After the 1979 Revolution, compulsory courses on the history and teachings of Islam were added to first year curricula.

Affiliated institutions. The Institute of Foreign Languages (Moʾassasa-ye zabānhā-ye ḵārejī) was established in 1956 for teaching modern English, French, Urdu, Arabic, Turkish, etc. (MDAT 3/4, 1335 Š./1956). After the Revolution of 1979, it was incorporated into the newly founded Faculty for Foreign Languages (Dāneškada-ye zabānhā-ye ḵārejī).

The Dehḵodā Dictionary Institute (Moʾassasa-ye loḡat-nāma-ye Dehḵodā) was established to complete the publication of the Loḡāt-nāma, the monumental dictionary begun by ʿAlī-Akbar Dehḵodā (q.v.). In 1957, a Parliamentary decree placed this institution and its budget under the administration of the Faculty of Letters (MDAT 5/3, 1337 Š./1957, p. 17). Since completing the publication of the remaining fascicles, the institute has been engaged in publishing a new Persian dictionary, the Loḡat-nāma-ye fārsī. The first fascicle was published in Tehran in 1361 Š./1982 and several more have appeared subsequently.

The Institute for Social Studies and Research (Moʾassasa-ye moṭālaʿāt wa taḥqīqāt-e ejtemāʿī) was established in 1958 to promote research in the social sciences in Persia, with Ḡolām-Ḥosayn Ṣadīqī as its head and Eḥsān Naraqī as its first director (MDAT 5/4, 1337 Š./1958, p. 86). Initially part of the Faculty of Letters, it expanded into a Faculty of Social Sciences and Cooperative Studies (Dāneškada-ye ʿolūm-e ejtemāʿī wa taʿāwon) in 1952.

The Center for the Civilization and Culture of Persia and the Middle East (Markaz-e tamaddon wa farhang-e Īrān wa ḵāvar-e mīāna) was founded in 1958, to promote knowledge of the region and of Persian civilization among non-Persians. The curriculum was taught in English. The center’s first director was Ḥāfeẓ Farmānfarmāʾīān. The private library of the Farmānfarmāʾīān family was donated to the institution (MDAT 6/2, 1337 Š./1958, p. 88; 8/2, 1342 Š./1963, p. 74–79). After the Revolution of 1979 the center was dissolved, its library was transferred to the Faculty of Letters and Humanities, and its educational functions were taken over by the Department for Foreign Students.

The Institute of Archaeology (Moʾassasa-ye bāstān-æenāsī) was established in 1959 to continue and complete previous archaeological activities and to undertake new, scientific archaeological investigations in Persia. Its first director was the archaeologist ʿEzzat-Allāh Negahbān (MDAT 7/2, 1338 Š./1960, pp. 96–97).

The Institute of Psychology (Moʾassasa-ye ravānšenāsī) developed out of the Department of Psychology and Pedagogy created in 1339 Š./1960 to teach these subjects at the master’s level. It was expanded into the Research Institute of Psychology and Educational Sciences (Moʾassasa-ye moṭālaʿāt wa taḥqīqāt-e ravān-æenāsī wa ʿolūm–e tarbīatī). After the establishment of the Department of Psychology and also of a separate Faculty of Educational Sciences (Dāneškada-ye ʿolūm-e tarbīatī) at the University of Tehran, the institute was reorganized, renamed, and devoted exclusively to research in psychology. (MDAT 1/3, 1342 Š./1963, pp. 370–71; 1/4, 1342 Š./1963, pp. 476–78).

The Institute of Geography (Moʾassasa-ye joḡrāfīā) was established in 1966 to promote geographical studies about Persia and to coordinate the activities of different university and government institutions engaged in geographical research. Its publications are independent of the serial publications of University of Tehran (Rāhnemā-ye Dānešgāh-e Tehrān, 1351 Š./1972, p. 613).

The International Institute of the Persian Language (Moʾassasa-ye bayn al-melalī-e zabān–e fārsī) was created in 1989 for teaching Persian to foreigners, and for preparing teachers of Persian to be sent abroad.

Two other affiliated institutes, the Institute for Studies of Persian Dialects and Literatures (Moʾassasa-ye moṭālaʿāt dar zabānhā wa adabīyāt-e fārsī) and the Institute for Historical Studies and Editing of Texts (Moʾassasa-ye moṭālaʿāt wa taḥqīqāt-e tārīḵī), were chartered but not fully implemented or absorbed by other institutes.

Press. The Majalla-ye Dāneškada-ye adabīyāt wa ʿolūm-e ensānī (formerly Majalla-ye Dāneškada-ye adabīyāt) was first issued in Mehr 1332 Š./October 1953. A quarterly journal, it publishes academic articles, book–reviews, and occasional thematic supplements dedicated to various research projects of the faculty’s departments (e.g., two supplements devoted to the archaeological finds at Marlik, 1351 Š./1973, 1956 Š./1977).

Library. The collection of the former Central Teachers’ Institute formed the nucleus of the library at the Faculty of Letters and Humanities. The earliest available record of its holdings—6,694 volumes—dates back to Esfand 1315 Š./February-March 1937 (Majalla-ye taʿlīm o tarbīat 6/12, 1315 Š./1936, p. 884). After the separation of the Teachers’ College from the Faculty of Letters in 1955, the common library of both schools was left for the faculty. By April 1995, the library contained 154,525 volumes of books and journals, including important private collections bequeathed to it (see M.-T. Dānešpažūh, Fehrest-e nosḵahā-ye ḵaṭṭī-e ketāb-ḵana-ye dāneškada-ye adabīyāt, 3 vols., Tehran, 1399-44 Š./1960-65 ).

Laboratories. The departments engaged in teaching modern foreign languages have their own audio–visual equipment. The departments of psychology, linguistics, and geography have specialized laboratories.


The Faculty of Medicine (Dāneškada-ye pezeškī), the pioneering academic institution of modern medicine in Persia, formed one of the six main faculties of the new University of Tehran in 1313 Š./1934 (Figure 1). The Faculty of Medicine was the successor to the Dār al-fonūn (q.v.) Department of Medicine, established in 1851, which had become the School of Medicine (Madrasa-ye ṭebb) in 1919.

Figure 1. Faculty and students of the Faculty of Medicine, 1319 Š./1940 The members of the faculty, seated in the front row, include (from left to right): (1) Ebrāhim Neʿmat-Allāhī, (2) Ḥasan ʿAlawī, (3) Moḥammadqolī Šams, (4) Javād Āštiāni, (5) Charles Oberling, (6) Esmāʿīl Merʾāt, (7) Amīr Amīr-Aʿlam, (8) Moḥammad Ḥosayn Adīb, (9) ʿAbbās Nafīsī, (10) Jahānšāh Ṣāleḥ, and (11) unidentified. Photograph courtesy of Houtan Adib.Figure 1. Faculty and students of the Faculty of Medicine, 1319 Š./1940 The members of the faculty, seated in the front row, include (from left to right): (1) Ebrāhim Neʿmat-Allāhī, (2) Ḥasan ʿAlawī, (3) Moḥammadqolī Šams, (4) Javād Āštiāni, (5) Charles Oberling, (6) Esmāʿīl Merʾāt, (7) Amīr Amīr-Aʿlam, (8) Moḥammad Ḥosayn Adīb, (9) ʿAbbās Nafīsī, (10) Jahānšāh Ṣāleḥ, and (11) unidentified. Photograph courtesy of Houtan Adib.


According to official statements by the University (see, e.g., Rāhnemā-ye Dānešgāh-e Tehrān, Tehran, 1318 Š./1939, pt. 2, p. 2), the origins of the Faculty of Medicine can be traced back to the inauguration on 5 Rabīʿ I 1268/28 December 1851 of the Department of Medicine at the Dār al-fonūn. Before this date, the teaching of modern (Western) medicine was limited to free-lance medical tuition by European physicians in Tehran, in particular, by Louis-André-Ernest Cloquet 1818-55), the French chief physician to Moḥammad Shah and later (from 1848) to his successor Nāṣer-al-Dīn Shah, who ordered Cloquet to tutor “a few” private students in surgery shortly before the opening of Dār al-fonūn in 1268/1851 (Rūz-nāma-ye waqāyeʿ-e ettefāqīyya [hereafter Waqāyeʿ ] 52, 7 Rabīʿ II 1268/January 1852, p. 1). Cloquet can therefore be considered the pioneer of modern medical instruction in Persia.

Among the European teachers whom Mīrzā Jān-Dāwūd (=Jean David) Khan (an Armenian member of the Persian Ministry of Foreign Affairs; then translator/interpreter at the Persian Legation in St. Petersburg) recruited in 1267/1851 in Vienna for Dār al-fonūn by order of the grand vizier Amīr(-e) Kabīr (q.v.) were Jacob Eduard Polak (1820-91), an Austrian Jew born in Bohemia (Encyclopedia Judaica 13, col. 708), as teacher of medicine and surgery, and the Italian chemist Focchetti for teaching “physics and pharmacy” (Waqāyeʿ 42, 26 Moḥarram 1268/20 November 1851, p. 2; 43,3 Ṣafar 1268/26 November 1851, p. 1; Ādamīyat, I, pp. 356-60). Polak himself, however, refers to his employment by the Persian government only for pharmacy, and does not mention Focchetti at all (I, p. 298; tr., p. 206). In 1856 the shah appointed Polak as court physician and, at the same time, supervisor of Dār al-fonūn’s department of medicine and pharmacy—a double responsibility that was later assumed by other European physicians of the Qajar court.

Polak’s students, fourteen at first, increased to twenty when Cloquet’s private students joined Dar al-fonūn. He used to teach in French through an interpreter, Moḥammad-Ḥosayn Khan Qajar, but noticing after some time that the interpreter’s ineptitude had distorted his teachings, he endeavored to learn Persian himself. His rapid progress, combined with the acquaintance of some of his students with Persian medicine (see below), enabled him not only to make himself understood in Persian, but also to produce a number of treatises in Persian, using Persian or Arabic equivalents of French medical terms accurately. These works, the preparation of which became part of Polak’s main concerns, were Dār al-fonūn’s first medical textbooks. For his advanced students’ practical training, Polak took three measures: first he established a kind of outpatient’s clinic at Dār al-fonūn, where the students examined the patients under his supervision, and wrote out prescriptions, which then were dispensed by Focchetti; secondly, he arranged for the graduates to go for clinical practice to a military hospital which the government, on his proposal and through his tenacious effort, had founded outside the city walls; thirdly, he arranged for some of his most promising students to accompany him as his assistants when performing unusual operations, and sometimes even entrusted the task to them (Waqāyeʿ 67, 23 Rajab 1268/13 May 1852, p. 1; 98, 5 Rabīʿ I 1269/16 December 1852, p. 3; 99, 12 Rabīʿ I 1269/23 December 1852, p. 2;102, 3 Rabīʿ II 1269/13 January 1853, p. 2; 140, 2 Moḥarram 1270/5 October 1853, p. 2; 271, 4 Šaʿbān 1272/ 10 April 1856, p. 4; Rūz-nāma-ye dawlat-e ʿalīya-ye Īrān [hereafter RDI] 502, 19 Rabīʿ II 1278/24 October 1861, p. 3. Polak, I, pp. 300-310; tr., pp. 209-13; for list of Polak’s treatise, see Najmābādī, p. 206).

The age-old, traditional, Persian medicine was not utterly disregarded at Dār al-fonūn; almost concurrently with the employment of Polak, a Persian instructor was also assigned to teach it. Notable among the earlier teachers of traditional medicine were the ḥakīms Mīrzā Aḥmad Kāšānī and Mīrzā Abu’l-Qāsem Nāʾīnī entitled “Solṭān-al-Ḥokamāʾ” (Eʿtemād-al-Salṭana, II, p. 1085). On the other hand, a number of students in Dār al-fonūn’s earlier medical classes, particularly Cloquet’s students, were already acquainted with traditional medicine; one of them even taught there the Šarḥ-e Nafīsī (i.e., the commentary of Borhān-al-Dīn Nafīs b. ʿEważ Kermānī on Ebn al-Nafīs’s Mūjaz al-Qānūn) and the Qānūnča of Moḥammad Čaḡmīnī (q.v.; Waqāyeʿ 102, 5 Rabīʿ II 1269/14 January 1853, p. 2).

Being obliged to accompany the shah on his numerous tours of the country as his private physician, Polak proposed the appointment of the Dutch doctor Johann Louis Schlimmer as his nāʾeb (locum tenens) at Dār al-fonūn (1 Rajab 1272/ 8 March 1856). Schlimmer (d. 1297/1880) had been in Persia from 1266/1850 and had been employed by the Persian government in Gīlān a year later (Waqāyeʿ 21,26 Šaʿbān 1267/26 June 1851, p. 3; Najmābādī, pp. 212-15). After Ḏu’l-qaʿda 1272/July 1856, Schlimmer’s position became permanent and he is mentioned henceforth as a lecturer in medicine at Dār al-fonūn (Waqāyeʿ 287, 26 Ḏu’l-qaʿda 1272/29 July 1856, p. 3; 395, 16 Moḥarram 1275/25 August1858, p. 6).

Polak also managed to convince the authorities to send the best medical graduates of Dār al-fonūn to France for further study and training. In Rajab 1272/March 1856, four of his outstanding students succeeded in completing the courses of study. On Polak’s proposal three of them, Mīrzā Moḥammad-Ḥosayn Afšār, Mīrzā ʿAlī-Naqī Hamadānī, and Mīrzā Reżā, were sent to Paris. After nearly five years of study there, they obtained their doctoral degrees in 1277-78/1860-61. Mīrzā Moḥammad, after his return in 1861, replaced Schlimmer at Dār al-fonūn and the latter started to practice medicine in Tehran as an independent physician. In 1283/1866 Mīrzā Reżā (now Mīrzā Reżā Doktor) became the replacement for Mīrzā Ḥosayn at Dār al-fonūn (RDI 482, 12 Rajab 1277/23 January 1861, pp. 5-6; 502, 19 Rabīʿ II 1278/24 October 1861, p. 4; 535, 17 Rajab 1279/8 January 1863, p. 8; 600, 7 Ḏu’l-qaʿda 1283/14 March 1867, p. 3).

Schlimmer also wrote some important textbooks for Dār al-fonūn’s medical students. His works were translated into Persian and lithographed at the Dār al-fonūn press. Of a far-reaching, lasting value is his pioneering Terminologie médico-pharmaceutique et anthropologique française-persane (Tehran, 1874; for a list of Schlimmer’s works, see Najmābādī, pp. 215-19). Given the disastrous state of the educational system as well as the lack of any attention to sanitary conditions in Persia at that time, Schlimmer believed that medical instruction should be aimed at training practical medical men.

After Polak, Joseph-Désiré Tholozan (1820-97), a retired French army medical officer who had been an associate professor at Val-de-Grâce military hospital in Paris, was recruited in 1864 as chief physician to Nāṣer-al-Dīn Shah (Elgood, p. 511). Because of other engagements including his almost constant attendance on the shah (see below), he could not devote himself entirely to teaching at Dār al-fonūn, although he did visit the school’s medical department on the shah’s orders and supervised the examinations (Dāyerat al-maʿāref-e fārsī II/1, p. 1636). The teaching of Western medicine was carried out mainly by Dār al-fonūn graduates who had then studied in France. However many of the well-known Persian physicians of the period were trained mainly under Tholozan. They include Mīrzā ʿAlī-Akbar Khan Nafīsī Nāẓem-al-Aṭebbāʾ, Mīrzā Zayn-al-ʿĀbedīn Kāšānī Moʿtamen-al-Aṭebbāʾ, Mīrzā Ḵalīl Khan Ṯaqafī Aʿlam-al-Dawla (see ṮAQAFĪ, ḴALĪL KHAN), Mīrzā Zayn-al-Ābedīn Khan Adham Loqmān-al-Mamālek.

The first years of Tholozan’s tenure in Persia coincided with severe outbreaks of cholera in the country (see CHOLERA i) aggravated by a series of famines. Persian public health authorities were slow to respond to the seriousness of the epidemic. Tholozan, as the doyen of the medical corps, was moved to lead the reform of the public health service (Elgood, pp. 514 ff.). An inefficient Mašwarat-ḵāna-ye ṭebbī (Sanitary Council), composed of Dār al-fonūn physicians, and intended to deliberate on the country’s sanitary problems, already existed in Jomāda II 1277/ December 1860 (RDI 481, 21 Jomādā II 1277/4 January 1861, p. 6; 482, 12 Rajab 1277/23 January 1861, p. 6). Probably on Tholozan’s own suggestion, the shah ordered him to constitute a Majmaʿ-e ḥefẓ al-ṣeḥḥa (Public Health Board) and to preside over it. The first meeting of the Majmaʿ was held on 9 Ḏu’l-qaʿda 1284/4 March 1868 with the membership of the first three European-educated Dār al-fonūn students (see above) nominated by Tholozan. European physicians attached to foreign legations were also to be invited to attend the Majmaʿ’s meetings for consultation. The first decision of the Majmaʿ was to order the translation into Persian of two urgent sets of regulations prepared by Tholozan for the prevention and treatment of cholera (Tholozan’s preliminary report on cholera in Persia is printed in Rūz-nāma-ye mellat-e sanīya-ye Īrān 21, 9 Jomādā I 1285/28 August 1868, p. 2-5; his sanitary instructions, are in ibid., 22, 13 Rajab 1285/29 October 1868, pp. 1-7, and 25, 7 Ḏu’l-qaʿda 1285/19 February 1869, pp. 1-3).

In 1279/1863, ʿAlīqolī Mīrzā Eʿteżād-al-Salṭana (q.v.) minister of sciences and the then director of Dār al-fonūn, made the securing of a taṣdīq (certificate of proficiency) in European medicine from Tholozan and another one in traditional medicine from the ḥakīm-bāšī (chief physician) Mīrzā Aḥmad Kāšānī a prerequisite condition for the public practice of medicine in Persia by its students (RDI 541, 27 Šawwal 1279/16 April 1863, p. 3). This decision was the first official measure to control the practice of medicine in the country. Further, because some army physicians and surgeons had proved unqualified, in 1285/1869, the shah commissioned Eʿteżād-al-Salṭana to inquire into the competence of all medical officers, to dismiss the quacks, and to arrange for the competent ones to attend the classes of Mīrzā Reżā Doktor and Mīrzā Sayyed Rażī, the army ḥakīm-bāšī at Dār al-fonūn (RDI 629, 4 Ḏu’l-ḥejja 1285/18 March 1869, p. 3).

Other events affecting the development of Dār al-fonūn’s medical department were as follows: The group of forty-two students, at least half of them from Dār al-fonūn, sent to France in 1275/1858 (Maḥbūbī, Moʾassassāt I, p. 321) included some medical students who, after their return, were assigned administrative and tuitional offices that were previously held by Europeans. Further, after 1293/1876, the clinical training of the school’s medical students was performed in a European-style hospital built on the order of the shah when he returned from his European tour in 1290/1873. The hospital, opened in 1286/1869, was named Marīż-ḵāna-ye dawlatī (government hospital; it formed the nucleus of the later, still existing, Bīmārestān-e Ebn-e Sīnā). Until 1298/1881, it was directed by a 1289/1872 Dār al-fonūn graduate, Mīrzā ʿAlī-Akbar Khan Nafīsī Nāẓem-al-Aṭebbāʾ.

The recruitment in Ḏu’l-Ḥejja 1299/October 1882 by ʿAlīqolī Khan Moḵber-al-Dawla (d. 1315/ 1897-98) and his son Mortażāqolī Khan Ṣanīʿ-al-Dawla (d. 1329/1911) of a reputable practitioner from Berlin, Isidor Albu (Albo in Elgood), as lecturer in medicine, boosted the teaching of European medicine which was hitherto taught at Dār al-fonūn only by Mīrzā ʿAlī Raʾīs-al-Aṭebbāʾ. Albu was also put in charge of the older hospital, originally for troops, which now served civilians (Elgood, pp. 502, 512: Najmābādī, p. 219).

Despite his multifarious duties, the indefatigable Tholozan still found time to write some treatises on medical subjects (including one on the properties of quinine); and the Persian translations of them were used as standard textbooks at Dār al-fonūn (see the list of these translations in Najmābādī, p. 208). Some of Polak’s and Tholozan’s former students also wrote textbooks for their colleagues and Dār al-fonūn students. For instance, Mīrzā ʿAlī Raʾīs-al-Aṭebbāʿ composed six treatises (Najmābādī, p. 223) and Dr. Mīrzā Moḥammad Kermānšāhī (nicknamed Kofrī, lit., “Blasphemer,” because of his severe criticisms of prevailing medical superstitions; 1245-1326/1830-1908), who, in addition to authoring several treatises (Najmābādī, pp. 227-28), introduced (ca. 1296/1879) the use of microscope to the Dār al-fonūn (he was an advocate of Louis Pasteur’s school of biology). In 1306/1889, the shah, on the recommendation of Tholozan, who had grown old and exhausted, replaced Tholozan with Jean-Baptiste Feuvrier, who stayed for three years at the Persian court. Feuvrier, was in his turn, succeed by another French physician, Jean-Etienne Justin Schneider, who was in Persia until 1907. Among other activities, Schneider formed the Sanitary Council of Persia (Majles-e ḥefẓ-al-ṣeḥḥa-ye Īrān), composed of Persian and foreign physicians, and presided over by himself; he also established a laboratory for the customs (gomrok) and the mint (żarrāb-ḵāna), and recruited a French veterinarian, named Dr. Carré, for the Persian government (Najmābādī, pp. 209-10; cf. Elgood, pp. 524, 527, 531). There is hardly any valuable information on the development of Dār al-fonūn’s medical department during the period after the assassination of Nāṣer-al-Dīn Shah (1313/1896), during the eventful eleven-year reign of his unstrung and infirm successor Moẓaffar-al-Dīn (d. 1324/1906.) This was partly due to the general disastrous social, sanitary, and economic conditions prevailing in the country, and more specifically because the above mentioned journals that regularly carried news about Dār al-fonūn had ceased publication.

The length of study at Dār al-fonūn’s medical department was first seven years, but later it was reduced to five years and at the end of Nāṣer-al-Dīn Shah’s period it was cut to four years. In 1324/1907, the curriculum was divided into a three-year preparatory program for students who had earned the 3rd year high school certificate and successfully passed the entrance examination, and a four-year medical education proper (Maḥbūbī Ardakānī, p. 41).


In 1337/1919 the medical department of Dar al-fonūn became an independent School of Medicine (Madrasa-ye ṭebb). Moḥammad Ḥosayn Adham (Loqmān-al-Dawla; 1258-1329 Š./1879-1950); a graduate of the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Paris, and private physician to Aḥmad Shah, became the director of Dār al-fonūn’s medical section in 1335/1916-17, and was instrumental in making it a separate, independent medical school (Rāhnemā-ye Dāneškada-ye pezeškī, pp. 84-85). The new curriculum for the first year was called P.C.N. (i.e., physics, chemistry, and natural science). A medical museum, a museum of natural history, and a chemistry and microbiology laboratory were designed for the school. Clinical training was to be performed at the already mentioned Marīż-ḵāna-ye dawlatī and the newly founded private Wazīrī Hospital. Later, the otorhinolaryngology clinic established in 1309 Š./1930 at the American Hospital in Tehran cooperated as an adjunct for the students’ clinical instruction in that field. The teaching staff included the following: Ṣeḥḥat-al-Dawla (traditional medicine); Yūnos Khan (obstetrics); Alī Partow (Ḥakīm-e aʿẓam), a Dār al-fonūn graduate with a M.D. from the University of Paris Faculty of Medicine who taught various medical subjects at Madrasa-ye ṭebb and, later, at the Faculty of Medicine; Yaḥyā Mīrzā Šams (Lesān-al-Ḥokamāʾ), a Dār al-fonūn medical student under Dr. Albu and later under Dr. Basil, who then specialized in ophthalmology in a two-year course (1312-14/1894-96), taught at Dār al-fonūn by a French specialist, and then at Paris Faculty of Medicine; later, when an ophthalmology class was first established in 1334/1916 at Dār al-fonūn, he taught this subject there, and assumed the direction of ophthalmology clinics at the Marīż-ḵāna-ye dawlatī and Wazīrī Hospital (ibid., pp. 86-87); Amīr (Khan) Aʿlam, Ḥosayn Moʿtamed and Abu’l-Qāsem Bahrāmī. The deans of the School of Medicine were, in chronological order: Loqmān-al-Dawla (until 1298 Š./1919), ʿAbbās Adham (Aʿlam-al-Molk; until some time before 1307 Š./1928), Walī-Allāh Khan Naṣr (until 1307 Š./1928-29), and Aʿlam-al-Molk Farahmandī (until 1312 Š./1933).

The School of Medicine was housed on the premises of Dār al-fonūn until 1303 Š./1924, when it twas moved to one of the buildings of ʿEmārat-e Masʿūdīya (formerly the palace of Masʿūd Mīrzā Ẓell-al-Solṭān), which had been turned over to the Ministry of Education, Pious Endowments, and Fine Arts (Wezārat-e maʿāref wa awqāf wa ṣanāyeʿ-e mostaẓrafa), the present headquarters of the Ministry of Education on Ekbātān Street (Bāstān, pp. 65-93; Maḥbūbī Ardakānī, pp. 252-56, 261).


After the ratification of the legislation on the creation of the University of Tehran in Ḵordād 1313 Š./June 1934, the School of Medicine (Madrasa-ye ṭebb), with all its staff and paraphernalia, was turned into one of the dāneškadas (faculties) of the university, and was renamed the Faculty of Medicine, Pharmacy, and Dentistry (Dāneškada-ye ṭebb wa dārū-sāzī wa dandān-sāzī), with Loqmān-al-Dawla as its dean (Rāhnemā-ye dānešgāh, 1319 Š./1940, pt. 1, pp. 41-54; pt. 2 p. 2).

Because of an urgent need for an anatomy laboratory, this was the first section of the faculty to become operational on the large new campus designed for the university. Here, for the first time in Persia, cadavers were used for the practical training of medical students. Being considered an un-Islamic notion, dissecting Muslim corpses met with severe objection from the ʿolamāʾ and had never been practiced before. Thus Abu’l-Qāsem Baḵtīār, professor of obstetrics, had to resort to unorthodox methods and smuggled in his own car a number of bodies from the public hospitals to the anatomy laboratory where Dr. Edward Blair of the American Mission Hospital in Tehran, as the instructor of anatomy, utilized them as cadavers for training in practical anatomy. The anatomy laboratory was prepared for operation in late January and inaugurated by Reżā Shah on 15 Bahman 1313 Š./4 February 1935; it was the first building constructed on the new university campus. On 13 Esfand 1316 Š./4 March 1938 the faculty formally moved into the new building specially constructed for it next to the anatomy laboratory (Ḥekmat, pp. 335-37).


After the inauguration of the faculty in Mordād 1313 Š./August 1934, writing a doctoral thesis was made a prerequisite for obtaining an MD degree. According to the faculty’s statutes approved by the University Council in Esfand 1316 Š./March 1938, the Faculties’ six-year curriculum was divided into three areas: theoretical, practical, and clinical (from the third year on). In the first two years, students received practical training in the fields of anatomy, histology and embryology, biology, physics, and chemistry. The curriculum in the remaining four years was divided into two parts: clinical training in the hospitals in the mornings and theoretical and practical training in the faculty in the afternoons (Maḥbūbī Ardakānī, p. 265).

Oberling’s Reconstruction of the Faculty. The new Faculty of Medicine suffered from domination by the old guard led by Loqmān-al-Dawla and the rivalry between his faction and that of Amīr Aʿlam’s. This conflict impeded the development of the faculty and appointment of a new generation of physicians, who had been educated in the West, to the teaching positions. To resolve the problem, ʿAlī-Akbar Sīāsī, then president of the university, appointed Professor Charles Oberling, a well-known French pathologist, as dean of the faculty in 1318 Š./1939, a post that he held till 1321 Š./1942, and again from 1323 Š./1944 to 1326 Š./1947. Oberling was instrumental in reorganizing the Faculty of Medicine and planning medical schools for some other cities. In recognition of his great services, the council of the faculty’s professors elected him honorary dean of the faculty in 1337 Š./1958. Oberling’s reforms included the appointment of qualified faculty members to the newly organized academic chairs, forty-one in all, and brought Tehran hospitals under the control of the faculty for its clinical needs (Āštīānī, pp. 22-27; Moṣaddeq, pp. 22-23; Maḥbūbī-Ardakānī, p. 257).

On 25 Dey 1318 Š./15 January 1940 the University Council approved Oberling’s proposal for the appointment of 41 chairs—6 chairs for anatomy and embryology (Amīr Aʿlam, ʿAlī Falātī, ʿAbd-Allāh Bāher, Hāšem Hanjan, Moḥsen Ḥejāzī, and Nasṛ-Allāh Nīknafs); 3 chairs for theoretical and practical bacteriology (Ḥosayn Sohrāb, Asad-Allāh Šaybānī, and Moḥammad Moʾtamen); 2 chairs for physiology (Ebrāhīm Neʿmat-Allāhī and Amīr Ḥosayn Partow Aʿẓam); 2 chairs for theoretical and practical medical chemistry (Ārmāʾīs Vārṭānī and Hovākīmīān Gāgīk); 2 chairs for botany (Ḥosayn Gol-e Golāb and Mahdī Nāmdār); 2 chairs for internal medicine (ʿAbbās Adham and ʿAbbās Moʾaddeb Nafīsī); and 1 chair for each of the following fields: infectious diseases (Manūčehr Eqbāl); biology (ʿAbd-Allāh Šaybānī); histology (Qolī Bāvandī); obstetrics (Abu’l-Qāsem Baḵtīār); neurology (Ebrāhīm Čehrāzī), anatomy and histology and embryology (Moṣṭafā Ḥabībī); dermatology (Moḥammad Sayyed Emāmī); otorhinolaryngology (Yaḥyā Šams); ophthalmology (Moḥammadqolī Šams); gynecology (Jahānšāh Ṣāleḥ); clinical gynecology (Ḡolām-Ḥosayn Moṣaddeq); radiology (Aḥmad Farhād Moʿtamad); psychology (Qāsem Ḡanī); pediatrics (Moḥammad Qarīb); clinical pediatrics (Farīdūn Kešāvarz); pharmacology (Nāṣer Mālek); urology (Saʿīd Mālek); chiropractics (amrāż-e ḵārejī; Ḥosayn Moʿtamad); minor surgery (Ḥosayn-ʿAlī Esfandīārī); clinical surgery (Yūsof Mīr); public health (Jawād Āštīānī); preventive medicine (Moḥammad-Ḥosayn Loqmān Adham); history of medicine (Moḥammad Šahrād), and forensic medicine (Moḥammad-Ḥosayn Adīb). In 1952 anesthesiology and hematology and in 1958 psychiatry were added to the curriculum (Maḥbūbī Ardakānī, pp. 266-67). Yaḥyā ʿAdl, a prominent surgeon, who served as a departmental head at Sīnā Hospital, was later appointed to the chair of surgery.

In 1335 Š./1956 chairs of pharmacology and dentistry were transferred to the newly formed faculties for these disciplines.

TheIntroduction of an American System. In the late 1950s and early 1960s some aspects of the American system of medical education were adopted by Jahānšāh Ṣāleḥ and other faculty members who were graduates of American medical schools. These reforms included reorganizing the chairs into departments; dividing the academic year into two semesters and adopting the credit system for courses; dividing the seven-year curriculum into three parts of a three-year of premed program, a three-year of clinical training, and a year of internship for general medical practitioners. In the premed program the emphasis was on the practical core courses and, more specifically, on physiology, pathology, biochemistry, and preventive medicine. In 1966, the Department of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, the master’s program in hospital administration, and the one year program in environment became the Faculty of Public Health (Dāneškada-ye behdāšt) on the initiative of Šams-al-Dīn Mofīdī, the chair of the Department of Public Health, with the assistance of the World Health Organization.

The fields of specialization were not fixed in number. They usually varied between fourteen and seventeen fields. The shortest field (e.g. pediatrics, internal medicine, radiotherapy, radiology) required three years, and the longest (neurosurgery), five years. Specialists in three fields—pediatric, internal medicine, and general surgery—could pursue their studies in postgraduate courses from two to three years.

Academic departments of the faculty in the 1970s included clinical laboratories, pathology, histology, forensic medicine, psychiatry, surgery, gynecology and obstetrics, ophthalmology, internal and clinical medicine, radiology, medical chemistry, infectious diseases, physiology, pharmacology and biophysics, anesthesiology, anatomy, pediatrics, otorhinolaryngology, bacteriology, and immunology (Maḥbūbī Ardakānī, pp. 291-92).


Enrollment. The Faculty of Medicine’s enrollment increased from 436 students in 1935-36 to 717 in 1945-46, to 1,653 in 1955-56 and to 2,077 in 1965-66. The percentage of female students decreased from 3 percent in 1940-41 to 1 percent in 1945-46, increased slowly to 4 percent in 1950-51 and 6.5 percent in 1955-56, and leaped to 18.2 percent in 1965-66 (Table 1).


Publications. Noṣrat-Allāh Kāsemī, holder of a chair at the faculty and a man of letters, was in charge of the faculty’s library and publications. In 1321 Š./1942 he founded the monthly Nāma (Majalla)-ye Dāneškada-ye pezeškī (the Journal of the Faculty of Medicine). Another periodical, the quarterly Acta medica Iranica, was founded in 1333 Š./1954 for reporting medical achievements in Persia in both English and French under an editorial board directed by Šams-al-Dīn Mofīdī; it is still being published. Also published by the faculty was the bi-monthly journal, Majalla-ye ṭebb-e ʿomūmī; founded in 1341 Š./1962 for general practitioners, it was edited first by Aḥmad Farhād Moʿtamad and later by Hušang Dawlatābādī.


Laboratories. From mid 1930s to mid 1960s, eleven laboratories were founded in the faculty. The Anatomy Laboratory (Āzmāyešgāh-e kālbod-æenāsī-e mawżeʿī wa tawṣīfī; also known as Dastgāh-e Ebn-e Sīnā; see above) was divided into three sections: the anatomy hall, a section for preparing cadavers, and the unit of practical medicine. In 1966 a new anatomy hall with modern equipment was constructed. The Laboratory of Pathology was founded in 1315 Š./1936 by Moṣṭafā Ḥabībī Golpāyagānī. In 1948 Moḥammad Ḥosayn Adīb became its head and in 1955 Kamāl-al-Dīn Ārmīn was appointed to the chair of pathology and also became the director of the laboratory. Other laboratories included those for immunology, histology, embryology, medical chemistry, pathology, medical physics, physiology, and bacteriology (Maḥbūbī Ardakānī, pp. 256, 275-83).

Affiliated Hospitals. The core of Oberling’s reform project of 1940 was to bring the hospitals of Tehran under the direct control of the Faculty of Medicine. With the assistance of Jawād Āštīānī, who served later as the dean of the Faculty of Medicine for two terms in the early 1940s, Oberling re-organised the structure of the hospitals which now became affiliated to the faculty. These included the following: Sīnā, Wazīrī, Amīr Aʿlam, Bahrāmī, Pahlavī, Zanān (later Jahānšāh-e Ṣāleḥ), Rāzī, Rūzbeh, Fārābī, and ʿAlī-Reżā Pahlavī hospitals. Sīnā (Ebn-e Sīnā) Hospital, the oldest in Tehran, founded in 1290/1873 by Nāṣer-al-Dīn Shah (see above), was renamed first Sīnā Hospital and later Ebn-e Sīnā Hospital when it became affiliated to the faculty. It served as the main hospital for accidents with a well-equipped emergency room. The Wazīrī Hospital was founded in 1318/1901 by Ḥājj Shaikh Hādī Najmābādī on behalf of Mīrzā ʿĪsā Wazīr, who had bequeathed a third of his estate for establishing the hospital. When in 1940 the hospital was incorporated into the Faculty of Medicine it had 110 beds and wards specializing in otorhinolaryngology and ophthalmology. Amīr Aʿlam Hospital was originally an obstetrics hospital (Marīż-ḵāna-ye neswān), founded in 1335/1917 by Amīr Aʿlam. It was renamed Amīr Aʿlam Hospital when it became affiliated to the Faculty of Medicine in 1940. Pahlavī Hospital was originally designed for five hundred beds in 1939 and was completed in late 1940s-1960s as one of the largest and best equipped hospitals in Tehran with over one thousand beds and various medical services. Jahānšāh Ṣāleḥ Hospital was originally called the Hospital for Women (Bīmārestān-e zanān) and was directed by Ṣāleḥ from 1936, and in 1970 it was renamed after him. Bahrāmī Hospital was founded in 1337 Š./1958 by Yūsof Bahrāmī as a pediatrics hospital and was donated to the Faculty of Medicine. Rāzī Hospital was founded in 1313 Š./1934 by ʿAbbās Adham (Aʿlam-al-Molk) and in late 1960s it was transformed to a dermatology hospital with fifty-eight beds and a well equipped polyclinic with the capacity for treating five hundred out-patients per day. The original name of the Rūzbeh Hospital was Tehran Municipality’s Hospital No. 1; it was renamed Rūzbeh Hospital in 1940 when it became affiliated with the Faculty of Medicine. In the mid-1950s it was turned into a psychiatric hospital with sixty beds, a clinic and a laboratory. Fārābī Hospital was originally one of the Tehran Municipality hospitals; it developed into a fairly large institution after it was incorporated into the Faculty of Medicine in 1940 and renamed Fārābī Hospital. This hospital specialized in ophthalmology and otorhinolaryngology (Āštīānī, pp. 22-27; Maḥbūbī Ardakānī, pp. 322-45).

Affiliated Institutes. Three medical institutes were affiliated with the faculty, including the Cancer Institute (Anstītū saraṭān) which was founded in 1956 by the Persian Red Lion and Sun Society (Jamʿīyat-e šīr o ḵoršīd-e sorḵ-e Īrān), the then equivalent to the Red Cross Societies in the West. In 1965 a post doctoral program of cytopathology was inaugurated with the cooperation of Johns Hopkins University to serve the East Mediterranean countries. The Institute of Psychiatry (Anstītū aʿṣāb wa ravān), was founded in 1966 to serve the specialization program in the field. The Institute of Medical Research (Moʾassasa-ye taḥqīqāt-e ʿolūm-e pezeškī) was founded in 1961 to provide theoretical and practical education in various fields of pharmacology for medical students (Maḥbūbī Ardakānī, pp. 283-91).

Affiliated Schools: To train the necessary nursing staff for medical services, the Faculty of Medicine incorporated two schools of midwifery and nursing and formed three new schools of physiotherapy, school for paramedical services, and psychiatric nursing. The Higher School of Midwifery (Āmūzešgāh-e ʿālī-e māmāʾī), was originally founded by Naṣīr-al-Dawla (Aḥmad Bader) as a three-year high school program with 10 students at the Women- Teachers’ School (Dār al-moʿallemāt) in 1338/1920. In 1930 admission to the school required the five-year high school certificate; in 1940 it was affiliated with the Faculty of Medicine. From 1949 it only accepted the graduates of the Ašraf Pahlavī Nursing School and later those of other nursing schools who after taking the one-year program of the School were granted the bachelor degree in midwifery. The Ašraf Pahlavī Nursing School (Āmūzešḡah-e ʿālī-e parastārī-e Ašraf-e Pahlavī) was founded in 1327 Š./1948 to replace the Tehran School of Nursing (Āmūzešgāh-e parasˊtārī-e Tehran) which had been established in 1315 Š./1936. The Tehran School of Nursing admitted applicants with the three-year high school certificate and after a two-year program of study granted them the fifth year high school diploma in nursing. In 1948 the admission requirement was raised to the fifth year high school diploma (later to the sixth year diploma) and the length of study was increased to three years; in 1950 the school’s diploma was evaluated as a bachelor degree in nursing (līsāns-e parastārī). In 1340 Š./1961 the School of Psychiatric Nursing (Āmūzešgāh-e parastārī-e ravānī) was formed. The school admitted graduates of nursing schools and trained them in a one-year program, granting them a bachelor degree in psychiatric nursing. In the 1970s schools of midwifery and nursing merged and formed the Higher School of Nursing and Midwifery (Āmūzešgāh-e ʿālī-e parastārī o māmāʿī), which is now functioning as an independent institution. The School of Physiotherapy (Āmūzešgāh-e fīzīoterāpī) was founded in 1343 Š./1964. The school’s three year bachelor’s degree program admitted applicants with a high school diploma who passed the entrance exams. The School of Paramedical Service (Āmūzešgāh-e behyārī) was founded in 1341 Š./1962 for training assistants to the nursing staff. Applicants with a three-year high school certificate who passed entrance exams were admitted to the school’s two-year program (Komīsīūn-e mellī, II, pp. 1441-43). In addition, the Higher School of Medicine (Āmūzešgāh-e ʿālī-e behdārī), instituted first in Mašhad (1419 Š./1940; on Oberling’s suggestion), and then in Isfahan and Shiraz (both in 1325 Š./1946), functioned under the supervision of the Faculty of Medicine until independent universities were founded in the aforementioned cities. From then on the āmūzešgāhs became faculties (daneškadas) of medicine within their own universities.


After the Revolution of 1978-79 in Persia, when the former Ministry of Public Health (Wezārat-e behdāšt) was expanded in 1364 Š./1985 into the Ministry of Health, Medical Care, and Medical Education (Wezārat-e behdāšt o darmān o āmūzeš-e pezeškī), the Faculty of Medicine was administratively disassociated from the University of Tehran and was attached to the new Ministry. In the academic year 1371-72 Š./1992-93 the faculty was incorporated into a larger medical complex named The University of Medical Sciences and Health Services of Tehran (Dānešgāh ʿolūm-e pezeškī o ḵadamāt-e behdāštī-darmānī-e Tehrān). In the same year an independent Paramedical School (Daneškada-ye pīrāpezeškī) was instituted.

At present the Faculty of Medicine is in charge of teaching general medicine as well as all medical and paramedical fields of specialization; it also provides, to a certain extent, technical and tuitional assistance for the Faculties of Dentistry, Pharmacy, and Health within the above mentioned Tehran University of Medical Sciences. In some cases the Faculty of Medicine benefits from the cooperation of the teaching staff of the Faculty of Science (Daneskada-ye ʿolūm).

See also DĀR-AL-FONŪN.


(The most comprehensive work on the development of the Faculty of Medicine from its origin in Dār al-fonūn to 1350 Š./1971 will be found in Maḥbūbī Ardakānī; subsequent developments, i.e., after 1350 Š./1971, have not been recorded in any independent publication.):

F. Ādamīyat, Amīr[-e] Kabīr wa Īrān, Tehran, 4th ed., 1354 Š./1975.

J. Āštīānī, “Javād-e. Āštīānī,” in E. Ṣafāʾī, Reżā Šāh-e Kabīr dar āʾīna-ye ḵāṭerāt, Tehran, 1354 Š./1975, pp. 6-27.

N. Bāstān, Afsāna-ye zendagī, Tehran, 1344 Š./1965.

Dānešgāh-e Tehrān, Sāl-nāma-ye Dānešgāh-e Tehrān: sāl-e taḥṣīlī-e 1335-36, Tehran, 1336 Š./1957.

C. Elgood, A Medical History of Persia and the Eastern Caliphate, Cambridge, 1951; repr., Amsterdam, 1979.

ʿA. Eqbāl Āštīānī, Mīrzā Taqī Ḵān Amīr(-e) Kabīr, ed. Ī. Afšār, Tehran, 1340 Š./1961.

Eʿtemād-al-Salṭana, Merʿāt-al-boldān, ed. ʿA. Navāʾī and M. H. Moḥaddeṯ, Tehran, 1376 Š./1987.

ʿA.-A. Ḥekmat, Sī ḵāṭera az aṣr-e farḵonda-ye Pahlavī, Tehran 2535=1355 Š./1976.

Komīsīūn-e mellī-e Yūnesko, Īrānšahr, 2 vols., Tehran, 1343 Š./1964.

Ḥ. Maḥbūbī Ardakānī, Tārīḵ-e taḥawwol-e Dānešgāh-e Tehrān wa moʾassasāt-e ʿālī-e āmūzešī-e Īrān, Tehran, 1350 Š./1971 (the most comprehensive work on the development of the Faculty of Medicine).

Ḡ.-Ḥ. Moṣaddeq, Dar kenār-e pedaram Moṣaddeq: ḵāṭerāt-e Doktor Ḡolām-Ḥosayn-e Moṣaddeq, ed. Ḡ.-R. Nejātī, 2nd ed., Tehran, 1369 Š./1990.

M. Najmābādī, “Ṭebb-e Dār-al-fonūn o kotob-e darsī-e ān,” in Q. Rowšanī Zaʿfarānlū, ed., Amīr(-e) Kabīr wa Dār-al-fonūn, Tehran, 1352 Š./1973, pp. 202-37.

Y. Polak, Persien, das Land und seine Bewohner, 2 vols. Leipzig, 1865; tr. K. Jahāndārī, Safar-nāma-ye Pūlāk: Īrān wa Īrānīān, Tehran, 1370 Š./1991.

Rūz-nāma-ye dawlat-e ʿalīya-ye Īrān. Rūz-nāma-ye mellat-e sanīya-ye Īrān. Rūz-nāma-ye waqāyeʿ-e ettefāqīya. Rāh-nemā-ye Dānešgāh, Tehran, 1319 Š./1940.

Cite this page
Moḥammad-Ḥasan Mahdawī Ardabīlī, Mortażā Momayyez, Ahmad Ashraf, Aḥmad Tafażżolī, Yūnos Karāmatī and EIr, “FACULTIES OF THE UNIVERSITY OF TEHRAN”, in: Encyclopaedia Iranica Online, © Trustees of Columbia University in the City of New York. Consulted online on 28 November 2023 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/2330-4804_EIRO_COM_9414>
First published online: 2020
First print edition: 19991215

▲   Back to top   ▲