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Best universities in the Arab World

Explore the top universities in the Arab world according to the Times Higher Education Arab University Rankings 2021

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July 27 2021
Best universities in the Middle East and North Africa


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

Overall, 125 universities across 14 countries in the Middle East and North Africa are ranked. A further 30 institutions are listed with “reporter” status, meaning that they provided data but did not meet our eligibility criteria to receive a rank.

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The top university is King Abdulaziz University, in Saudi Arabia. All the universities in the top five are in the Middle East, while universities situated in North Africa – including universities in Egypt, Tunisia and Algeria – feature further down the list.

The most represented country in the ranking is Egypt, with 31 universities altogether. Saudi Arabia is next, with 22 institutions.

Many of the universities featured in the ranking are specialist science and technology universities.

The full methodology of the Arab University Ranking 2021 can be viewed here.

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The top five universities in the Arab World

1. King Abdulaziz University, Saudi Arabia

King Abdulaziz University was established in 1967 in Jeddah, on the banks of the Red Sea. The university was named after the founder of Saudi Arabia, King Abdul-Aziz Al-Saud. It was initially established as a private university but was converted to a public university in 1974.

Students who attend the university receive free education and housing. It has a comprehensive learning programme across faculties, including the arts and humanities, science and technology, and medicine. The university also offers some courses that are unavailable at any other universities in Saudi Arabia, such as marine science, meteorology and astronomy.

King Abdulaziz University adheres to Islamic regulations by having separate campuses for men and women, each equipped with a library and athletic and recreational facilities.

2. Qatar University, Qatar

Qatar University is a public university located in the city of Doha in Qatar.

The university is home to 10 colleges, including arts and sciences, business and economics, engineering, and law. The university offers 47 bachelor’s, 29 master’s and 20 PhD programmes, as well as nine diplomas and a doctor of pharmacy (PharmD) programme. Courses at the university are taught in both Arabic and English.

Students can benefit from a range of amenities on campus, 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

King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) is a relatively young university, having been established in 2009.

The university is the first mixed gender campus to be located in Saudi Arabia.

As the name would suggest, teaching and learning 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 is located in Al-Khobar, Saudi Arabia. It was founded by Prince Mohammad bin Fahd, the former governor of the Eastern Province.

The university is comprised of six colleges: engineering, architecture and design, business, computer engineering and science, human studies and science and law. The university is in the process of setting up a college of medicine.

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 to provide education focusing on two of Saudi Arabia’s most valuable natural resources.

It was elevated to university status in 1975 and has since 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.

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Top universities in the Arab World 2021

Click each institution to view its full World University Rankings 2021 results

Arab University Rank 2021


1 King Abdulaziz University Saudi Arabia
2 Qatar University Qatar
3 King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) Saudi Arabia
4 Prince Mohammad Bin Fahd University Saudi Arabia
5 King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals Saudi Arabia
6 Khalifa University United Arab Emirates
7 United Arab Emirates University United Arab Emirates
8 King Saud University Saudi Arabia
9 American University of Beirut Lebanon
10 Zewail City of Science and Technology Egypt
11 Egypt-Japan University of Science and Technology (E-JUST) Egypt
12 Princess Nourah bint Abdulrahman University Saudi Arabia
13 Mansoura University Egypt
14 Umm Al-Qura University Saudi Arabia
15 Arabian Gulf University Bahrain
16 Sultan Qaboos University Oman
=17 Kafrelsheikh University Egypt
=17 Suez Canal University Egypt
=19 Alexandria University Egypt
=19 University of Sharjah United Arab Emirates
21 Lebanese American University Lebanon
22 University of Jordan Jordan
23 American University in Cairo Egypt
=24 American University of the Middle East Kuwait
=24 Jordan University of Science and Technology Jordan
26 Lebanese University Lebanon
27 Al Ain University United Arab Emirates
=28 Al-Azhar University Egypt
=28 Beni-Suef University Egypt
30 Assiut University Egypt
=31 American University of Sharjah United Arab Emirates
=31 Tanta University Egypt
33 Zagazig University Egypt
34 Cairo University Egypt
35 King Faisal University Saudi Arabia
=36 Ain Shams University Egypt
=36 Beirut Arab University Lebanon
38 The British University in Egypt Egypt
39 University of Tunis El Manar Tunisia
40 University of Sfax Tunisia
41 University of Marrakech Cadi Ayyad Morocco
42 University of Bahrain Bahrain
43 Kuwait University Kuwait
44 King Khalid University Saudi Arabia
45 German University in Cairo Egypt
46 Menoufia University Egypt
=47 Benha University Egypt
=47 Prince Sultan University (PSU) Saudi Arabia
49 Aswan University Egypt
50 University of Monastir Tunisia

View the full Arab University Ranking here

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