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Top 20 Universities in the Arab Region 2021


The Times Higher Education Arab University Ranking 2021 will be a useful resource for you, if you’re studying at a university in the Arab region.

There are 14 countries in the Middle East and North Africa region, with over 125 universities across the region. You might be interested in knowing the top ranking universities in the Arab region.

According to the data obtained from the Times Higher Education 2021, we’ll show you the top 20 universities in Arab region.

Times Higher Education ranking uses 13 different indicators measuring teaching, research, research impact, innovation and international outlook to rate university performance. In case you are interested in enrolling into in a university in Arab region, here are the top ranked universities you should consider.

The top university is king Abdulaziz University, locate in Saudi Arabia. It is worthy of note that universities in the Middle East make the top 5, while universities in North Africa   feature further down the list.

The Top 20 Universities in the Arab region

1. King Abdulaziz University. Saudi Arabia

Named after the founder of Saudi Arabia- King Abdul-Aziz Al-Saud, King Abdulaziz University was established in 1967 in Jeddah. The university was initially established a a private university but was later converted to a public university in 1974.

There is free education and housing for students. The university also has a comprehensive learning program across different faculties. marine science, meteorology and astronomy are three courses that are unavailable at any other universities in Saudi Arabia .

King Abdulaziz University adheres to Islamic regulations by having well equipped separate campuses for men and women.

2. Qatar University, Qatar

Qatar University is a public university located in Doha, Qatar. The university has 10 colleges, including arts and sciences, business and economics, engineering, and law. The university also offers 47 bachelors, 29 masters and 20 Ph.D programs, as well as nine diplomas and a doctor of pharmacy (PharmD) programme. Courses at the university are taught in both Arabic and English.

There are a number of beneficial amenities in campus for students, including a library, male and female student activities buildings, a student learning support centre, and the student counselling centre.

3. King Abdullah University of Science and Technology KAUST, Saudi Arabia

KAUST is a relatively young university established in 2009. The university is the first mixed gender campus to be located in Saudi Arabia.  Teaching, learning and research are focused on science and technology, with courses available in bioengineering, computer science, statistics, earth science and engineering and many other areas. The official language of instruction is English.

4. Prince Mohammad Bin Fahd University, Saudi Arabia

Prince Mohammad Bin Fahd University, Saudi Arabia is located in Al-Khobar, Saudi Arabia. It was founded by Prince Mohammad bin Fahd, the former governor of the Eastern Province. The university has six colleges: engineering, architecture and design, business, computer engineering and science, human studies and science and law. The process of setting up a college of medicine has begun.

5. King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals, Saudi Arabia

King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals was established in 1963 as the College of Petroleum and Minerals aimed at providing education focusing on two of Saudi Arabia’s most valuable natural resources. It was elevated to university status in 1975 and since then, has expanded its course offerings to cover science, engineering, technology and business. The admissions process is very competitive, with an acceptance rate of less than 10 per cent.

6. Khalifa University, United Arab Emirates

Khalifa University is the top University in the UAE, with a range of research and academic programs designed to address the entire range of strategic, scientific and industrial challenges facing our rapidly evolving world.

Its world-class faculty and state-of-the-art research facilities provide an unparalleled learning experience to students from the UAE and around the world. The research and academic activities of Khalifa University span through disciplines in science, engineering, and medicine. The university has three colleges, three research institutes, 18 research centers, and 36 academic departments.

7. The United Arab Emirates University (UAEU), UAE

The United Arab Emirates University (UAEU) is the premier and the largest academic institution in the United Arab Emirates. UAEU was founded by the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan in 1976.

The university is culturally diverse and politically stable. UAE provides a safe, attractive, culturally vibrant environment and advantageous conditions to live, work and do business in.  UAEU is located in Al Ain also known as the city of the Oasis which features their iconic green hilly-park and their highest mountain, Green Mubazzara and Jebel Hafeet.

UAEU is also known as a comprehensive, research-intensive university committed to innovation and excellence in teaching and research. The university currently enrolls approximately 14,000 students from 64 countries. As the UAE’s flagship university, UAEU offers a full range of internationally accredited, high-quality graduate and undergraduate programs through nine Colleges: Business and Economics, Science, Education, Engineering, Food and Agriculture, Humanities and Social Science, IT, Law, Medicine and Health Sciences. The Colleges are hosted by ultra-modern facilities equipped with state-of-the art technology, and offer a full range of student support services and extra-curricular activities.

8. King Saud University, Saudi Arabia

King Saud University is a public university located in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. It was the first university to be established in the country, originally named Riyadh University, in 1957. It became King Saud University in 1982.

The university has a total of 18 libraries, two university hospitals and a mosque.

Tuition to the university is free, and scholarships are also available for Saudi and international students. All programmes are taught in English and Arabic and applicants are required to pass an Arabic examination if they are from a non-Arabic speaking country. The university has four colleges: science, health, humanities and community. Within these colleges there are smaller colleges for each subject.

9. American University of Beirut, Lebanon

American University of Beirut, AUB was established in 1866. The university has six faculties, and School of Medicine and School of Pharmacy. It offers more than 130 undergraduate and postgraduate degree programmes to just fewer than 8,000 students, 50 per cent of whom are women. The majority of classes are taught in English.

10. Zewail City of Science and Technology, Giza City

Zewail City of Science and Technology is the brainchild of, and named after Egypt’s first Nobel Prize-winning scientist Ahmed Hussian Zewail.

The university was intended to have the same catalysing effect on Egyptian science that the Aswan Dam project had on industry in the 1960s.

Zewail City of Science and Technology is based in Giza City in Greater Cairo. The university is part of the National Project for Scientific Renaissance containing a university, research institutes and a science park. It was launched in the year 2000 and given fresh impetus after 2011. The first students were enrolled in 2013.

The school has six engineering and four science degree courses for students to choose from. Students are admitted through “holistic admissions”, including an entrance test, designed to identify “knowledge, talent and a passion for innovation”. The first commencement day, which saw 230 students graduating, was held in 2018.

11. Egypt-Japan University for Science and Technology (E-JUST), Egypt

E-JUST was established in 2009 in Alexandria, Egypt, as a project between the Egyptian and Japanese governments. The university is supported by the Japan International Cooperation Agency and the Japanese Supporting University Consortium, however the university is run entirely by the Egyptian government.

E-JUST is research-focused and uses a Japanese approach to its teaching. This includes practical and lab work, as well as problem solving at the core of the syllabus.

Currently, E-JUST has six schools: school of electronics, communications and computer engineering; innovative design engineering; energy, environment and process engineering, applied sciences; and business and humanities, where it offers bachelors, master’s and PhD programmes. E-JUST also offers ‘”Study in Japan” programs, working with the Ministry of Higher Education to offer PhD students the opportunity to conduct their research projects in Japan for six-nine months.

12. The Princess Nourah bint Abdulrahman University, Saudi Arabia

The Princess Nourah bint Abdulrahman University is the largest women’s university in the world. It was established in 1970 as the first College of Education for women in Saudi Arabia.

Constructed in a record time of two years, the university’s campus is located in the east of Riyadh, the capital city of Saudi Arabia. The campus is fully equipped with state-of-the-art facilities. It has 600 high-tech smart buildings, three spacious recreation centres, a university hospital and an Olympic sized swimming pool. The campus is so large that in 2012 an automated metro system was constructed to transport students.

In 2018 the university became the first in Saudi Arabia to provide a driving school for women after King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud granted women the right to drive in the Kingdom.

13. Mansoura University, Egypt

Mansoura University started as a faculty of medicine under the authority of Cairo University, established in 1962. In 1972, a presidential decree established a university under the name ‘East Delta University’, although it became known as Mansoura University a year later.

The university is located on the east bank of the Nile, around 120km northwest of Cairo in the city of Mansoura. Mansoura University’s main campus is located in the city centre and is comprised of 15 faculties, as well as three large accommodation complexes, a student hospital, restaurants, a dining hall and a well-equipped sports complex. Four of the university faculties – the Faculty of Arts, the Faculty of Special Education, the Faculty of Tourism and Hotels, and the Faculty of Kindergartens – are located off-campus.

The university is known for its medical facilities, with nine major hospitals and medical centres including a children’s hospital, a Medical Experimental Research Centre (MERC) and a Urology and Nephrology Centre – in fact, the Urology and Nephrology Centre is the largest of its kind in the whole of Africa, and was established by renowned Egyptian urologist Mohamed Ghoneim.

14. Umm al-Qura University, Saudi Arabia

Umm al-Qura University is an Islamic public university located in Mecca, Saudi Arabia.

The university was initially founded as the College of Sharia in 1941 before being renamed to Umm al-Qura University 1981.

At inception, courses were primarily offered in Islamic studies and Arabic language. Now, it has expanded to offer undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees in a wide range of disciplines such as technology, business management, Islamic economics, marketing, engineering, technology, medicine, education, architecture, and engineering sciences.

Umm al-Qura University, popularly referred to as UQU teaches most of its programmes in English.

15. The Arabian Gulf University. Location: Bahrain

The Arabian Gulf University was established in 1979 in the Kingdom of Bahrain to support the human development needs of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries and address the socio-economic challenges facing the region.

The university offers modern and innovative academic and research programs, while remaining faithful to its Arab identity and sensitive to the cultural norms and Islamic values of the region.

The regional university promotes the advancement of knowledge across disciplines, offering learning ​opportunities through two colleges and one school: College of Medicine and Medical Sciences (CMMS), College of Graduate Studies (CGS) and French Arabian Business School (FABS) 

17. Sultan Qaboos University, Oman

Sultan Qaboos University opened in Muscat, the capital of Oman, in 1986. The institution has nine colleges including medicine, engineering, agriculture, education, science, arts, commerce and economics, law and nursing.

Between 2010 and 2015, the university recruited students from 38 countries, while academics hailed from 69 nations. The institution also collaborates with universities across the world; it has agreements with universities in Asia, Europe, Australasia, North America and South America.

17. Kafrelsheikh University

Kafrelsheikh University is an Egyptian public university that opened in 2006. It has a student population of around 30,000 and 1,500 faculty members. The institution’s buildings had previously been a part of Tanta University.

The university has a modern campus, with plenty of greenery. Kafrelsheikh University has 19 faculties, five of which are scientific, seven of which are health-related, with the other six dedicated to the humanities. It is also host to three research institutes: the Nano Science and Technology Institute; the Institute of Drug Discovery and Development; and the Technical Institute of Nursing.

Kafrelsheikh is the second most environmentally friendly university in the Arab World, according to the Global Green Metric ranking system. It is also gaining a reputation nationally as a research centre, ranking fourth among the country’s universities in international research citations.

18. Suez Canal University

Suez Canal University was established in 1976. It  is located near Ismailia on the west bank of the Suez Canal.

The school has more than 20 faculties, divided between different branches of Suez Canal University in Ismailia, Suez, Port Said and El-Arish.

According to the university’s research plan, Suez Canal University are intending to become a centre of excellence in the field of applied scientific research and scientific innovation, as well as continuing to develop partnerships with

19. Alexandria University, Egypt

Established in 1938, Alexandria University in Egypt was originally known as Farouk University and operated as a satellite body of Fuad University which later became Cairo University.

Alexandria University became an independent institution in 1942 and renamed following the Egyptian Revolution of 1952.

Now a public university, Alexandria is home to 150,000 full-time students, making it the second largest university in the country. It also caters for more than 16,000 part-time undergraduates and close to 5,000 international students, with over 8,000 academic staff, over half of whom hold a PhD.

The seven original university faculties comprised Agriculture, Medicine, Arts, Commerce, Engineering, Law and Science, which have grown over the years to its current total of 23. Newer specialisms such as Tourism and Sports Education are included in its structure.

Alexandria itself is Egypt’s second largest city, its cultural capital and a major economic centre within the region. Known as the ‘pearl of the Mediterranean’, its coastal location also makes it a tourist hotspot

20. University of Sharjah (UOS), UAE

The University of Sharjah (UOS), established in 1997, is a private, national, co-educational university situated in University City, Sharjah, in the United Arab Emirates. UOS has expanded in a relatively short span of time to include 14 colleges, offering 86 diverse academic programmes.

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