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Universities in Algeria

Universities in Algeria by City:

AlgerBoumerdesLaghouatM'naouerMostaganemOranSkikdaTizi OuzouTlemcen

About universities in Algeria

The People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria is a country in Northwest Africa, and, since 2011 when the country of Sudan was split following the independence of South Sudan, is now the largest country on the continent of Africa in terms of land mass (926,645 square miles).  Algeria, whose capital city is Algiers, was a French colony up until 1962, and during that time as a colonial state, higher education was very limited and focused primarily on creating a French elitist class.  That changed once the country gained its independence in July of 1962, and in the 50 years that have now followed, the country has continued to improve and modernize their higher education system. Today Algeria has a very diverse system of higher education, with a variety of opportunities available for both academic attainment and career training and advancement.

Higher Education in Algeria

In Algeria, higher education is offered at 27 universities, 13 university centers, 6 national schools, 6 national institutes, 4 teacher-training schools and 2 university annexes.  The first two categories of schools, universities and university centers, are administered exclusively by the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research, while the remainder of the specialized schools and institutes are overseen by both the Ministry of Higher Education and another Ministry, typically the one most closely related to the courses of study or specializations offered by the institution.

The northern coastal region of Algeria is home to the majority of the universities in the country.  These universities, which are divided into academic departments, offer a wide range of course offerings at the undergraduate, graduate and post-graduate level.  University centers, on the other hand, are spread throughout some of the more remote regions of Algeria.  At these institutions the number of programs is limited, with course offerings that are typically more vocationally-oriented, concentrating on the workforce needs of the region where the center is located.  In recent years, however, many university centers have begun to expand the number of disciplines in which they offer programs, so much, in fact, that many of the centers have now gained university status.

As we mentioned, the specialized institutes and schools do not fall solely under the purview of the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research. Typically, another ministry—health, industry, agriculture—shares joint responsibility depending on the primary focus of the institution.  At the highly selective National schools (écoles nationals), for example, the Ministry of Science and Technology is heavily involved in areas such as curriculum, admissions and personnel.  National schools specialize in both theoretical and applied sciences, and students are selected based on their baccalauréat scores—the leaving examination that every student must take at the conclusion of their upper secondary school education.

Educational Structure

Under the now-replaced traditional model of higher education in Algeria, whether at university or non-university institutions, degrees were awarded according to the subject matter or specialty, rather than the type of institution.  Those students whose specialty was engineering, for example, would receive a different type of degree than the one offered to biology students.  This system was based on the old French structure of higher education and was the norm up until just a few years ago, at which time the Algerian university system adopted the three-stage degree structure—Licence (3-years), Masters (2-years), Doctorate (3-years)—that is now in place in most of the Western world as the result of the Bologna Process—a restructuring of the higher education system designed to standardize the credit and degree system in universities throughout Europe.