Best universities in the Arab World 2018

Explore the top universities in parts of the Middle East and North Africa based on data collected by Times Higher Education

March 20 2018
Best universities in the Middle East and North Africa

Times Higher Education has compiled a table of the best universities in the Arab World based on data from the 2018 World University Rankings.

The league table has been compiled by filtering the overall World University Rankings results to include only universities located in nations that are members of the Arab League. THE has then ranked the best universities based on their overall ranking score. The full methodology of the World University Rankings 2018 can be viewed here

The top university in the 2018 table is King Abdulaziz University located in Saudi Arabia. All the universities in the top five are in the Middle East, while universities situated in North Africa – including universities from Egypt, Tunisia and Algeria – feature further down the list. 

The most represented country in the ranking is Egypt, with nine universities altogether. Saudi Arabia is next, with five institutions; the United Arab Emirates have four; Jordan and Morocco have three; Tunisia has two; and Kuwait, Lebanon, Qatar, Oman and Algeria each have one university on the list. 

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


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The top five universities in the Arab World

1. King Abdulaziz University

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. Khalifa University

Khalifa University is located in Abu Dhabi, UAE, with another campus in Sharjah.

The university is just over a decade old, founded in 2007 by a decree issued by UAE president His Highness Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

There are eight undergraduate engineering-based programmes and seven graduate degree programmes. 

The university has plans to build a new campus near the current campus in Abu Dhabi. This new campus will house a medical school, state-of-the-art labs, a student hub and sporting facilities.  

3. Qatar University 

Qatar University is the largest and oldest university in Qatar. It is a public university located just outside the country’s capital, Doha. 

It comprises nine colleges: arts and sciences; business and economics; education; engineering; health sciences; law; medicine; pharmacy; and sharia and Islamic studies. The university continues to expand the range of courses that it provides and currently offers the highest number of programmes of any institution in the country.

About 35 per cent of the student body consists of the children of expats, and the institution offers multiple opportunities for studying and research abroad. The student body is made up of 52 nationalities. 

4. Jordan University of Science and Technology

The Jordan University of Science and Technology is a state-supported university located in nothern Jordan. 

The university campus is divided into two sections.The first is the Medical Faculties Complex comprising the faculties of dentistry, medicine, nursing, applied medical sciences, pharmacy and science and arts.

The second section is the Engineering Faculties Complex, which contains the faculties of agriculture, computer and information technology, engineering, architecture and design and veterinary medicine. Each complex also has its own library.

The number of international students at the university has continued to increase since the university was established, with students now coming from more than 60 countries. 

5. United Arab Emirates University

The United Arab Emirates University is the oldest university in the United Arab Emirates, having been founded in 1976. 

Students come from all seven Emirates (Abu Dhabi, Ajman, Dubai, Fujairah, Ras Al-Khaimah, Sharjah, Umm Al-Quwain) plus 59 other countries, with international students making up a quarter of the entire student body. 

In the academic year 2016/17, male students represented 19 per cent of the student population while female students represented 81 per cent of the student population. 

Some 90 per cent of undergraduate programmes at the university include an internship and many students gain their first jobs with the organisation that they completed their internship with. 


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Top universities in the Arab World 2018 

Click each institution to view its full World University Rankings 2018 results

Arab World Ranking 2018 Arab World Ranking 2017 University Country
1 1 King Abdulaziz University Saudi Arabia
2 NR Khalifa University United Arab Emirates
3 5 Qatar University Qatar
4 8 Jordan University of Science and Technology Jordan
5 6 United Arab Emirates University United Arab Emirates
6 7 American University of Beirut Lebanon
7 9 Alfaisal University Saudi Arabia
8 3 King Saud University Saudi Arabia
9 2 King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals Saudi Arabia
10 NR Beni-Suef University Egypt
11 13 American University in Cairo Egypt
12 14 American University of Sharjah United Arab Emirates
13 10 Kuwait University Kuwait
14 NR University of Sharjah United Arab Emirates
15 12 Sultan Qaboos University Oman
16 11 Suez Canal University Egypt
17 18 Cairo University Egypt
18 22 Mansoura University Egypt
19 17 University of Marrakech Cadi Ayyad Morocco
20 21 Mohammed V University of Rabat Morocco
21 16 Alexandria University Egypt
22 19 University of Jordan Jordan
23 25 Ain Shams University Egypt
24 20 South Valley University Egypt
25 24 University of Tlemcen Algeria
26 NR Assiut University Egypt
27 NR Imam Abdulrahman Bin Faisal University Saudi Arabia
28 26 University of Tunis El Manar Tunisia
29 28 Sidi Mohamed Ben Abdellah University Morocco
30 27 University of Monastir Tunisia
31 23 Hashemite University Jordan

Read more: Best universities in the Asia-Pacific region

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