Discovering The Top 10 Universities in Saudi Arabia: An Overview

Top Ranking universities in Saudi Arabia Saudiscoop
Choosing a university can be tricky. This guide helps you navigate between the best choice and choose the one for you!

Are you planning to pursue your higher studies in Saudi Arabia? Explore the top universities of KSA in this article to choose the best fit for your academic goals.

Saudi Arabia has one of the fastest-growing education systems in the Middle East. With continuous investments in the education sector, the Kingdom has built several world-class institutions. These KSA universities mainly offer the following courses.

  • Undergraduate programs/bachelor’s degree (four-year program)
  • Graduate/ master’s program (two-year program)
  • Post-graduate/ doctoral degrees (three to four-year program)

Table of Contents

1- King Abdul Aziz University (KAU)

King Abdulaziz University is a public research university offering degrees in several fields. With 13 faculties, this university is located in Jeddah. KAU is also a member of The Association of Arab Universities and The Association of Islamic Universities. 

In 1967, it started as a private university. However, the Saudi government later took over, and in 1971, KAU became a public university. KAU is recognized for its research in various fields, such as Islamic studies and marine science. 

It is not only among the top universities in Saudi Arabia but also in the Middle East. Known for its academic excellence and research technology, KAU ranks 106th worldwide according to the QS World University Rankings 2023. 

The university offers facilities for students to open-heartedly utilize outside the academic inclination.

They have medical and dental service centers provided in their KAU hospital. Furthermore, Convention centers, stadiums, sports centers, and also research endowment funds.

2- Al Faisal University

Al Faisal University is an officially recognized NCAA institute of higher education located in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Founded in 2002, Al Faisal is known for being a private teaching-oriented nonprofit student-centered institution delivering higher education.

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It has an academic faculty of 200+ from all over the globe, and currently, 2500+ students enrollment in different programs.

In addition, Al Faisal is the crown jewel of the internationally reputed King Faisal Foundation, believed to be an architecturally stunning campus.

To develop both personal and professional growth, Al Faisal and collaborative research provide opportunities like student organizations, associations, and clubs.

The university’s goal relies on the eminence of research, making it one of the top leading brands.

Al Faisal aims to provide students with a platform to cultivate their personalities and work on their identities.

The staff encourages students to participate in conferences, community awareness programs, and launch events. As a result of which, the students develop their entrepreneurship skills at every stage.

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3- King Fahad University of Petroleum and Minerals (KFUPM)

The King Fahad University of Petroleum and Minerals is a public university in Dharan. It ranks 160 globally according to the QS World University Rankings 2023. However, according to the Arab Region Rankings, it ranks in the 3rd position

Previously, KFUPM was known as the College of Petroleum and Minerals. Later, in 1975, King Faisal bin Abdulaziz Al Saud elevated its status to a university. KFUPM is also known for its world-class academic programs, such as in the fields of

  • petroleum engineering
  • geology
  • business

KFUPM has a rigorous admission process, selecting applicants with excellent academic backgrounds. It is also known for its strong research work and has some of the best research centers in the region. These centers include the Research Institute and the Research Institute for Energy Management. 

Moreover, it has made notable contributions to the oil and gas industry. This university also has close connections with some leading oil and gas companies in the Arab region.

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The university adopted advanced training to promote leadership among Saudi Arabia’s petroleum and mineral industries.

Two of the country’s most significant natural reserves, petroleum, and mineral, became the prime focused fields to deliver higher education in. KFUPM always proved to be very selective regarding its applicants and therefore accepts only 10%.

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4- King Saud University (KSU)

Located in Riyadh, King Saud University is among the most prestigious universities in Saudi Arabia. Previously known as the University of Riyadh, it is the oldest university in KSA. It offers more than

  • 90 undergraduate programs
  • 150 graduate programs
  • 30 doctoral programs

Moreover, KSU has 24 schools, all known for their strong research programs. It offers a variety of programs in different fields, such as medicine and social sciences. Also, KSU is a member of The Association of Arab Universities and The Association of Islamic Universities. 

5- Imam Abdulrahman Bin Faisal University (IAU)

IAU, earlier known as the University of Dammam, is one of the oldest universities and one of the leading brand names in medicine.

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They lead their way through innovative research in the region and community service experience with its renowned faculty. IAU, for starters, offers a variety of degree programs.

IAU represents two pioneering colleges: the college of medicine and the college of architecture.

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University exam follows standardized national exams. Grading criteria helps accommodate the students in the respective fields. Out of which grading for medical is the most competitive one.

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6- King Khalid University (KKU)

In the southwestern part of Saudi Arabia, a merger happened when Imam Mohammad Ibn Saud Islamic University and King Saud University became King Khalid University.

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KKU strives for working on community development, research, and knowledge excellence. Furthermore, KKU supports promoting scientific research and improving graduate studies in the upcoming years.

Many of the finest best leads graduated from King Khalid University, and they all proudly take responsibility for the university’s remarkable high education programs.

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7- King Saud Bin Abdulaziz University for Health Sciences (KSAU-HS)

KSAU-HS is the first public university to specialize in health sciences and medicine in Saudi Arabia. Their motto reads as the university is for the nation’s health.

Their various undergraduate and post-graduate programs are accredited by the ministry of education, which focuses on recognition and reputation.

This place has come far from a mere teaching institution to a research-related university based on practice and performance. If you’re looking for an ambitious model and optimal health care, this place serves all.

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8- King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST)

Located in Thuwal, KAUST is a private university offering various undergraduate and graduate programs. It provides programs in several fields, including

  • applied mathematics
  • computer science
  • engineering
  • bioscience

Moreover, King Abdullah University for Science and technology is known worldwide for its efforts toward sustainability. Also, along with excellent research facilities, it has a diverse background. KAUST has students, researchers, and faculty members from over 100 countries. 

This university is also home to many world-class research centers. These research centers include the Red Sea Research Centre and Clean Combustion Research Centre, among others. 

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KAUST aspires to advance science and technology through interdisciplinary research. With a faculty of 150 plus members, the university trains over 300 researchers, 400 postdocs, and 900 masters and doctoral students.

9- Taibah University

Located in one of the holiest hearts of Islam, Medina, Taibah University is a public university founded in 2003. It awards Diploma degrees, bachelor’s degrees, associate’s, masters, and doctorates to its students.

This university witnessed an enormous increase in the number of students over the years since its first enrollment. Under the name of Taibah university comes 28 colleges and 156 academic programs.

Taibah university functions around a set of goals and a strategic vision because they believe in delivering premium quality of education, building active partnership, and Improvement of Administrative & Financial Management.

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Moreover, their goal is to enhance University Ranking Nationally, Regionally & Internationally.

10- Umm Al Qura University Makkah

UQU is a public research university located in Makkah. It originally started as a College for Shariah and Islamic studies. However, over time many other programs were introduced, making it among the top universities of KSA. 

Umm Al-Qura University is known for its commitment to promoting Islamic teachings. It also offers excellent academic programs in fields such as Islamic studies and the Arabic language. UQU has several renowned research centers and institutes, which also include 

  • Center for Research in the Islamic Economics
  • Prince Khalid Al-Faisal, Chair for the Development of Makkah
  • Prince Sultan Bin Abdulaziz, Chair for Environmental Studies

With degrees in Bachelor of Science, Doctor of Philosophy, and Masters of Science, Umm Al Qura University grades rely on the standard 0-4.0 scale.


And so here it goes! Our list of the top 10 ranking universities in Saudi Arabia. These schools provide the best faculty, resources, and academic excellence.

Selecting the right educational platform is essential as your child’s future may depend upon it. You can visit the shortlisted university’s website for more information about the individual programs. Good luck!

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