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Farzaneh Scholarships & Prizes

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Scholarships and Prizes

The Farzaneh Family Center for Iranian and Persian Gulf Studies is proud to support Iranian students at OU with a $3,000 annual stipend. 

The University of Oklahoma has a long history of supporting international education, and a proud heritage of welcoming international students, including Iranian students. Since the 1950s, thousands of Iranian students have pursued advanced degrees at the University of Oklahoma. Scores of Iranian students continue to study at OU today. We are proud of this history and will do everything we can to preserve it.

In keeping with this commitment, the Farzaneh Family Center for Iranian and Persian Gulf Studies is increasing its fellowship opportunities for Iranian students. Muhammad and Jalal Farzaneh have increased the amount of the scholarship available to Iranian students at the University of Oklahoma to $3,000.

See more information about scholarship opportunities for international students from Iran under "'Farzaneh Family Scholarships for Iranian Students" below.

For Students

The Farzaneh family have been long-time supporters of the University of Oklahoma and the College of International Studies. The Farzaneh Family’s gift to support the Iranian and Persian Gulf Studies at OU includes scholarships to OU students who meet the criteria and are citizens of Iran. This generous gift to OU Iranian students is provided to assist those who have a significant financial need.

Eligibility Criteria:

  • Must be a current full-time, regularly enrolled student at the University of Oklahoma
  • Must be a citizen of Iran (US citizens are not eligible)
  • Must be on an F1 student visa
  • Must not be the Donor or an immediate family member of the Donor

In addition to meeting the eligibility criteria, applicants are required to submit a 1-3-page essay responding to the following question: "If you were taking an American student to visit Iran, what places or cultural events would you want him or her to experience?"

Read essays by this spring's scholarship recipients

The 2021-2022 scholarships will be disbursed in two installements, one a semester. The fall semester 2021 award is available after September 1 until December 15. The spring semester 2022 award is available from January 25 to May 1, 2022.

Students who have graduated and are on OPT are ineligible for this scholarship. 

Fall deadline: December 15, 2021
Spring deadline: May 1, 2022


The Farzaneh family’s gift to support the Iranian and Persian Gulf Studies at OU includes scholarships to OU students studying the Persian language. Up to $1,000 scholarship will be awarded to qualified students.

Eligibility Criteria:

  • Must be a full-time, regularly enrolled student at the University;
  • Must be enrolled in a Persian language course;
  • Must not be the Donor or an immediate family member of the Donor.

Deadline: April 25

Apply here

Mehdi Firoozabadi, who graduated from the University of Oklahoma in 1969 with a degree in Petroleum Engineering, was an international student from Iran who served as the President of the International Advisory Committee. His love for the University of Oklahoma was inspired by the warmth and support that he received from the University, its students and the surrounding community during his four years in Norman. His brother, Amir, fondly remembers waiting with anticipation to receive letters from Mehdi stamped, “Norman, OK USA.” In 1970, after graduation, Mehdi returned home to Iran to honor his scholarship from the National Iranian Oil company and go to work for them in the field. Although it was tough dirty work, Mehdi kept a positive attitude and was promoted to superintendent of Lavant, an offshore petrolatum company in the Persian Gulf. He was happily married for six months when tragedy struck, and his car crashed into a river canyon losing his life on June 7, 1975.

Now Amir, a proud US citizen, who considered his brother a “model citizen,” wishes to honor Mehdi’s legacy and show his appreciation for the University of Oklahoma by helping future generations of Iranian Americans and other students who seek to promote the enduring friendship between the Iranian and American people as Sooners.

Learn more and apply here

The OU Iranian Studies Program is awarding a $250 prize for the best undergraduate research paper on a topic in the area of Iranian Studies. Papers must be no longer than twenty pages and may focus on any topic or time-period relating to the history, culture, politics, and society of Iran and the Persian-speaking world.

Questions regarding the prize should be directed to Dr. Alexander Jabbari,
Apply here

2021 winner:
Gabriela Ramirez-Perez, “The Periphery Takes Center Stage: Behind the Scenes in the Medieval Islamic World”

2020 winner: Alyssa Wiley, "The Tudeh Party in Iran from 1941-1953: A Tool of the Soviet Union or a Natural Evolution of Iranian Politics"

2019 winner: Lindsey Eisenmann, "American Colonialism and the Illusion of Power in US-Iranian Relations"

2018 winner: Adam Oberlitner, "Queer Theology: Theological, Theocratic, and Secular Influences on Iran's Relationship with Transgender Bodies"

2017 Winner: Jared Johnson, for his paper titled, "Iran's Others through Cinema."

For Scholars

Jafar and Shokoh Farzaneh Prize for Best Article on Persian Literature

This $2,000 prize will be awarded to the best published article on any topic relating to Persian literature. The winner will also be invited to present a public lecture at the University of Oklahoma and to serve on the award selection committee for the following year.