- Islamic Theology: Khan Seminary (madrasa), Shiraz (1970)
- BA, economics, National University, Tehran (1975)
- BSc, civil engineering, University of Kansas (1978)
- MSc, political economy, University of Oregon (Thesis Title: A Critique of Marxist Theory of Imperialism, 1980)
- PhD, Islamic studies, McGill University (Field: History of Islamic Thought; Thesis Title: Ethics of War in Muslim Cultures: A Critical and Comparative Perspective, 2006)
- Languages spoken: English, Persian, and Classical Arabic (fluent), French (working)
Mohammad Jafar Mahallati is the Presidential Scholar in Islamic Studies, and a tenured faculty at Department of Religion. Currently, he serves as the Nancy Schrom Dye Chair of Middle East and North African Studies (MENA).
He joined Oberlin College in 2007. Prior to Oberlin, Mahallati was a visiting professor of Trans-Regional Studies at Princeton University (1998-99) and adjunct professor of international affairs at Georgetown and Yale Universities (1998). For seven years, he was adjunct professor of international affairs at Columbia University, New York teaching graduate courses on politics, international relations, and religion (1991-97).
Early in his academic career, he was chair of the Economics Department at Kerman University in Iran, where he also taught courses on Islamic Economics and Ethics (1980-81).
His current works in progress include:
- Friendship Studies in English, Persian, and Arabic
- Handbook of Islamic Ethics invited by Bloomsbury of London for which he is supervising a group of international scholars who are writing in English, Arabic and Persian
At Oberlin, he developed an innovative course with interdisciplinary approach to friendship studies and also initiated the Oberlin annual Friendship Day Festival. The festival has received wide support by the college administration, faculty, students, the Oberlin City Council and several members of the U.S. Congress. The initiative has also prompted Friendship Circle, a chartered student organization at Oberlin active since 2011. Through his publications, teachings in English and Persian, and institutional activities, Mahallati is known as the initiator of multidisciplinary friendship studies in the United States and Iran.
In addition to academia, Mahallati held several administrative positions including Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Iran to the United Nations, where he played a key role in ending the eight-year war between Iran and Iraq (1987-89).