A public institution in the city of Babolsar, the University of Mazandaran serves the Iranian state which borders on the south of the Caspian Sea. It was formed, on the basis of advice from Harvard University, as Reza Shah Kebir University in 1979 by the amalgamation of local institutions of higher education, economic and social science, natural resources, agriculture and a higher technical school.
While producing two spin-off institutions, with the creation of Gorgan University in 1986 and Babol Nashirvani University of Technology in 2008, it has grown over subsequent decades into a university with 12 faculties covering a broad range of disciplines, with theology and Islamic sciences (2010, but with an earlier history dating back to 1970) and physical education and sports sciences (2005) among the more recently-created sections.
Babolsar, a town on the Caspian Sea, has grown comparably over the same period, quadrupling in size to 75,761 in the 2016 census.
The university library is reported to be the second largest in Iran, behind only the University of Tehran. The unviersity was rated as in the 16-20 range in Iran for research performance, international co-operation and scientific impact in the 2013-5 period by analysts from the Islamic World Science Citation Centre (ISC).
Regional outreach has been assisted by the use of Nima software to deliver online classes to home students. Classes are delivered in Persian, and overseas students are advised to attend for at least one semester, between three and nine months, to develop their proficiency in the language before starting the courses for which they have registered.