Times Higher Education has compiled a table of the best universities in the Arab World based on data from the 2021 World University Rankings.
The league table has been compiled by filtering the 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 Ranking 2021 can be viewed here.
The top university this year 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 from Egypt, Tunisia and Algeria – feature further down the list.
The most represented country in the ranking is Egypt, with 21 universities altogether. Algeria and Saudi Arabia are next with 10 institutions each; Tunisia has six institutions; Jordan, Morocco and the United Arab Emirates have five; Lebanon has four; Iraq has three; and Kuwait, Oman and Qatar 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
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.
Alfaisal University is a private non-profit research institute in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
The university is still fairly young, having been established in 2002. Some 67 per cent of the students are from Saudi Arabia and the remaining 33 per cent come from 40 other nations.
Five colleges make up the university: medicine, engineering, business, science and general studies, and pharmacy.
=3. Qatar University
Qatar University is a public research university located on the outskirts of Qatar’s capital, Doha.
The university has 10 colleges – arts and sciences; business and economics; education; engineering; law; Sharia and Islamic studies; pharmacy; health science; medicine and, most recently, dental medicine.
There are 17 research centres, including the Early Childhood Centre, the Gulf Studies Centre and the Biomedical Research Centre among others.
The United Arab Emirates University is the oldest university in the UAE, 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.
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.
5. American University of Beirut
The American University of Beirut was established in 1866 and bases its teaching and learning on the American liberal arts model of higher education.
Its main campus overlooks the Mediterranean Sea and includes athletic fields, a private beach and bird sanctuary.
The campus is also equipped with seven dormitories, the AUB Medical Center, the Charles W. Hostler Student Center, five libraries, computer labs, the Archaeological Museum, the Natural History Museum and one of Lebanon’s few geological collections.
The university has seven faculties including agricultural and food sciences; arts and sciences; engineering and architecture (Maroun Semaan Faculty); health sciences; medicine; nursing (Rafic Hariri School) and business (Suliman S. Olayan School).
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Top universities in the Arab World 2021
Click each institution to view its full World University Rankings 2021 results
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