Universities in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
About Universities in Riyadh, Saudi ArabiaStudying abroad in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia can be a wonderful and unforgettable adventure, a chance to live and study in this fabulous city for a semester or year, effectively combining an once-in-a-lifetime academic adventure with an exciting Middle Eastern vacation. Here you will find some of the best universities in this often misunderstood region, offering degree programs in a number of academic and professional fields.
Riyadh, which in English translates to “The Gardens,” is the capital and largest city of Saudi Arabia. It is also the capital of the Riyadh Province, and belongs to the historical regions known as Najd and Al-Yamana. The city is situated in the heart of the Arabian Peninsula on a large plateau. The city proper of Riyadh is home to some 5.25 million people as of the last census, and the Greater Riyadh area boasts a population of roughly 7 million.
Riyadh is divided into 15 municipal districts, managed by the Riyadh Municipality, headed by the mayor of Riyadh, currently Abdullah bin Abdul Rahman Al Mogbel; and the Riyadh Development Authority, chaired by the governor of Riyadh Province, currently Khalid bin Bandar Al Saud. Riyadh is home to the largest all-female university in the world, the Princess Nora bin Abdurrahman University. It has also been designated as a Beta World City.
Universities and Higher Education in Riyadh, Saudi ArabiaHigher or tertiary education in Riyadh (and throughout Saudi Arabia) spans four years in the field of humanities and social sciences and five to six years in the fields of medicine, engineering and pharmacy. The establishment of the King Saud University in 1957 was the starting point for the modern higher education system in Saudi Arabia, and the first university in all of the Arab states of the Persian Gulf.
Today there are 24 government universities in Saudi Arabia, all established in a relatively short time. There are also several private institutions of higher learning spread throughout the country. In total, there are 16 universities and higher education institutions in the city of Riyadh. The universities consist of colleges and departments that offer diplomas, Bachelor degrees, Master’s Degrees and PhD degrees in a variety of scientific and humanities-based specializations. Some colleges and departments in Riyadh also provide distance learning programs. There are also several community colleges in the city that are affiliated to the universities, as well as girl’s colleges and government agencies and institutions that provide specialist university-level education in fields such as technology and science. As of this date, there are no higher education institutions in Riyadh that offer coed programs.
Some of the colleges and universities located in the city of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia include:
- King Saud University
- Imam Muhammad bin Saud Islamic University
- Saudi Electronic University
- Arab Open University
- Prince Sultan University
- Arab East Colleges
- Dar Al Uloom University
- Alfaisal University
- Riyadh College of Dentistry and Pharmacy
- And more…
In 2005, King Abdullah implemented a government scholarship program to send young Saudi nationals to Western universities for undergraduate and postgraduate studies. The program offers funds for tuition and living expenses for up to four years. An estimated 5,000 Saudi students received government scholarships to study abroad for the 2007/2008 academic year. Students mostly studied at universities in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Switzerland, France, and Germany.
Why Study Abroad in Riyadh, Saudi ArabiaWhile Riyadh, Saudi Arabia is not your typical study-abroad destination, the universities located there are highly esteemed for the education they offer students in certain program areas. However, a study abroad adventure goes much deeper than just an academic experience. Students who plan to study in Riyadh will have the opportunity to embrace a very different but proud culture, gain valuable language skills and meet people from around the world with similar interests to their own. There are also a number of fascinating sites and attractions to behold in this wealthy city, including:
Designed by the British architect Norman Foster and built in the year 2000 by the Bin Laden construction company, Al-Faisaliah Tower was the first of the startling new structures to rise above Riyadh’s skyline. It is perhaps most famous for its enormous glass globe near its summit, spanning some 78 feet (24m) in diameter and made of 655 independent glass panels.
Built around 1865, Masmak Fortress is a squat fortification and the site of Ibn Saud’s daring 1902 raid, during which a spear was hurled at the main entrance door with such force that the head of the spear is still lodged in the doorway.
One of Riyadh’s landmark structures, the Kingdom Tower is a stunning piece of modern architecture. The tower is particularly conspicuous at night when the upper sweep is lit, featuring constantly changing colored lights. Rising some 900 feet (302 m) above the city below, the structure’s most distinctive feature is the steel-and-glass 300-ton bridge connecting the two towers.
The National Museum in Riyadh is a state-of-the-art facility and one of the finest museums in the Middle East. Encased within modernist architecture, its two floors contain eight well-designed and informative galleries covering Arabian history, culture and art. Among other highlights, the galleries display evocative and beautiful rock carvings, engaging models, and a full-scale reconstruction of a Nabataean tomb from Madain Saleh.