Iranian High Schoolers Obsessed With Studying Medicine

Iranian High Schoolers Obsessed With Studying MedicineIranian High Schoolers Obsessed With Studying Medicine

Be it lucrative income or parental pressure, studying medicine has become an obsession for high schoolers, pushing them to take up life science courses in high school to prepare for the daunting task of scoring high in the university entrance exam, Concour.

According to, recent statistics reveal a gradual but visible shift in students’ preference from mathematics and humanities to life science courses, raising concern among education officials.

To curb the trend, the Education Ministry announced last year a limit on the number of students who were allowed to study life sciences, much to the chagrin of both students and  parents. The vocal protests even dragged President Hassan Rouhani into the mix, who said it was wrong to impose restrictions on students and everyone must be allowed to study what they please.

With the restrictions now removed, high schools find themselves under pressure to cater to the number of students seeking to enroll in the limited life science courses.

Moreover, only one in 30 students who sit the Concour score high enough to major in medicine, meaning the vast majority of students have to prepare themselves for what can only be described as emotional trauma.

Those who fail to get the necessary score find themselves at a crossroads: Either settle for another major which their Concour score allows them to enroll in, or wait another year and try for medicine again.

Becoming a doctor has become such a debilitating obsession that two years ago, an undergraduate student at Sharif University of Technology—one of the most prestigious centers of higher learning in Iran—took time off from studies to take the Concour for medicine.

Worse yet, according to Dr. Alireza Zali, president of the Iran Medical Council, nearly half of all medical graduates leave Iran in search of greener pastures.

“Not only do we lose intelligent people, but we’ve essentially spent resources on educating and training people for other countries.”

Experts say one effective measure that wouldn’t encroach on students’ right to pick a major is to seek help from career councilors at high schools, who can theoretically encourage students to consider non-medicine related majors.

If the present trend holds, Iran runs the risk of having a glut of medical practitioners who will eventually leave the country, and a scarcity of specialists in other fields. At the end, the society stands to lose.


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