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Saudi Arabia has invested in its educational institutions and in attracting foreign students to its universities. With one of the fastest-growing higher education systems in the Middle East, Saudi Arabia offers several world-class educational institutions.
The Ministry of Higher Education oversees all higher education in the country, with a particular focus on scientific research at government universities. More than 200,000 students are currently enrolled at Saudi universities and colleges; about half of the students are female.
As in many countries worldwide, universities in Saudi Arabia offer bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees, generally lasting two years and three to four years respectively.
Riyadh, the capital and most populous city in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, is one of the richest cities in the world, making it one of the best cities that offer an impressive level of higher education.
The higher education system of Saudi Arabia is represented by 52 universities. Riyadh is number one in Saudi Arabia by the number of universities available. As 16 universities are offering 250 study programs in Riyadh, also 108 Bachelor programs at 16 universities, 108 Master programs at 16 universities, and 34 PhD programs at 7 universities.
Founded in 1999, Prince Sultan University is one of the private universities in Riyadh. The first private university in Saudi Arabia offers officially recognized degree programs such as bachelor's and master's degrees in several fields of study. Prince Sultan University also provides many academic and non-academic facilities and services to students including a library, sports facilities, scholarships, and exchange programs.
The first public university in Saudi Arabia, the King Saud University, was founded in Riyadh in 1957 by King Saud bin Abdulaziz. The students of KSU consist of 40,000 male and female students. It is one of the best universities in Riyadh for international students, as 7% of which are students from all over the world. The university offers courses in the natural sciences, the humanities, and professional studies, and several courses are tuition-free. The medium of instruction in undergraduate programs is English and Arabic depending on the chosen major. Among Arab universities, its medical programs are highly regarded.
Established in 2007, Alfaisal University is a non-profit private higher education institution located in the urban setting of the large metropolis of Riyadh (population range of over 5,000,000 inhabitants). Officially recognized by the Ministry of Education of Saudi Arabia, Alfaisal University is a very small (uniRank enrollment range: 500-999 students) coeducational Saudi Arabian higher education institution. Alfaisal University offers courses and programs leading to officially recognized higher education degrees such as bachelor degrees, master degrees in several areas of study. This 13 years old Saudi Arabian higher-education institution has a selective admission policy based on entrance examinations and students' past academic records and grades. The admission rate range is 60-70% making this Saudi Arabian higher education organization a somewhat selective institution. It is one of the international universities in Riyadh that allows foreign applicants to apply for enrollment.
Established in 2001, Al Yamamah University is a private higher education institution located in Riyadh. Al Yamamah University provides academic education and training programs to contribute to preparing a generation capable of contributing effectively in the economic and social fields. Al Yamamah University seeks to be a leading training institution for academic research. It aspires to be the first Saudi educational institution known for its effective preparation of creative and entrepreneurial professionals whose demand is constantly increasing by public and private sector institutions.
The university comprises the Colleges of Business Administration and Computing and Information Systems as well as Community Service and admits male and female students.
King Saud bin Abdulaziz University for Health Sciences was opened in 2005 by King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz, as one of the first government universities in Riyadh and in Saudi Arabia to specialize in medicine and health sciences. It also enables foreign students to attend university.
The main campus is located in the east of Riyadh and accommodates 10,000 students. There are 7 colleges at university including medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, public health, health informatics, applied medical sciences, nursing, science, and health professions. The Master of Health Informatics program is the first Master in Health Informatics available in the Middle East.
This private institution of higher education located in Riyadh was established in 2008. Dar Al Uloom University offers a range of programs for Saudi and foreign students, with academic training and accreditation from the Saudi Ministry of Higher Education. Students can choose from 15 different majors in the Medicine, Department of Computer Engineering and Information Technology, Department of Business Administration, Department of Architectural Engineering and Law. Females can study in the women's department of the university and can choose from special education, early education, computer science, or English.
The education of women in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia received a great deal of attention, which allowed Saudi women to take clear steps towards achieving their aspirations in various fields.
There are 6 universities in Riyadh for females. These are the College of Education for liberal arts majors, the College of Education for Scientific Majors, the College of Education for Teacher Development, the College of Social Services, the College of Home Economics, and the College of Fine Arts.
Princess Noura Bint Abdul Rahman University was established in 2008, and it is a non-profit, public institution for higher education located in the city of Riyadh with more than 45,000 students.
The College of Technology in Riyadh was established in 1983 as the first technical college in the Kingdom. Its first priority is to graduate scientifically and practically qualified technical cadres to work in technical fields that directly contribute to building the national economy. The College of Technology in Riyadh is one of the best universities in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, as it ranks among the top 5 educational institutions in the country.
There are so many things to do in Riyadh that make you feel comfortable. The city boasts a number of fancy hotels and restaurants, and almost all residents speak English. You can also find lots to explore, as interesting sites of historical significance include the Murabba Palace, Masmak fort, and the historic town of Diriyah – the original home of the Saudi royal family, in which the At-Turaif District is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
There are opportunities to work in Saudi Arabia. Developments in the Saudi economy have opened up opportunities for international graduates to work for a fixed number of years in finance and manufacturing, particularly the oil, IT, healthcare, banking, teaching, telecommunications, and construction industries.
Entry requirements for universities in Saudi Arabia will vary depending on the institution. Applicants are generally asked for proof of previous academic qualifications and grades, proof of proficiency in English (or Arabic for some programs) with TOEFL/IELTS, official identification, and passport photos.