All About Saudi / Seeking Knowledge

Saudi Universities

An Educational Institute Dedicated to Islaamic Ideals 


Saudi Arabia is a nation blessed with abundant resources. It has vast reserves of oil, natural gas and minerals. Yet to the Kingdom, the nation’s most valuable resource is its people, and one of its principal tasks has been to build a quality educational system to enable citizens to develop their capabilities to their fullest and to contribute to the country’s continued development. Since its founding in 1932, Saudi Arabia has established eight universities that offer undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees in Islamic studies, sciences and the arts.

The universities are Imam Muhammad bin Saud University, King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals, King Abdul Aziz University, King Saud University, the Islamic University of Madinah, Umm Al-Qura University, King Faisal University and the newest, King Khalid University. Starting with this issue, these universities will be profiled in a series of articles with a view to outlining their specialties, activities and contributions to Saudi society and its higher education system.

The Riyadh-based Imam Muhammad Ibn Saud University is one of the oldest institutes of higher education in Saudi Arabia. Its roots go back more than half-a-century, to when the General Presidency of Colleges and Educational Institutes was established by the founder of the modern Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, King Abdul Aziz Ibn Abdul Rahman Alu-Saud. In 1947, the statutes of the university were formulated and the first steps were taken to set up a modern university. Established in 1950, the Scientific Institute of Riyadh formed the core of what in 1974 became the Imam Muhammad bin Saud University. The new university brought together under one umbrella the activities of a number of colleges and institutes of higher education in Riyadh.

Over the years, the university introduced a modern educational system in its Riyadh campus and established five faculties: the Higher Judiciary Institute, the College of Islamic Law, the College of Arabic, the College of Da’wah (Call) and Information, and the College of Theology. By 1975, some 4,000 students were enrolled at the university, studying Islamic, Arabic and social sciences.

As enrollment grew, reaching 12,000 in the mid-1980s and more than 15,000 a decade later, the existing faculties were expanded and additional fields of study introduced. Initially, the student body was largely made up of young people from the Riyadh area. As the number of applicants from other parts of the country increased, the university moved to establish colleges outside Riyadh. Presently, there are two colleges in Abha, two in Buraidah, one in Al-Hasa and one in Madinah. The various colleges in Riyadh and other cities offer undergraduate and graduate degrees in 23 disciplines.

In addition to providing quality education to young Saudis, the university’s other principal objectives as outlined in its charter include the promotion of a better understanding of Islamic sciences and Arabic language and culture outside the Kingdom. The university has sought to realize these objectives through establishing close working relationships with other institutes of higher learning throughout the world, conducting research and exchanging information.

The number of non-Saudi students enrolled at Saudi institutes of higher education has been increasing over the years due to the high quality of education and the affiliations Saudi universities have established with counterparts in other regions of the world. The Imam Muhammad Bin Saud University has welcomed this trend as a means of promoting advanced study of Islamic and Arabic sciences in other countries.

In addition to accepting foreign students at its faculties in Saudi Arabia, the Imam Muhammad Bin Saud University has established six institutes of higher education outside the Kingdom to enable a larger number of non-Saudis to study Islamic and Arabic sciences. Upon completion of these courses, students receive degrees issued by the internationally accredited Imam Muhammad bin Saud University.

The institute’s Arabic Language Department offers courses ranging from intermediate to advanced for non-Arabic speakers. Relying on an educational staff of native Arabic teachers and using modern audio-visual equipment and computers, the department offers a high-quality language program that enrolls some 600 students annually. The department is currently working with counterparts at American universities to establish a graduate program in teaching Arabic as a second language.

Enrollment in the courses offered by both the Department of Islamic Sciences and the Arabic Language Department is free of charge to students who meet the institute’s qualification requirements.

The institute has an extensive research department, where researchers conduct studies and collect information related to Islam and Islamic studies. They compile and translate information which is used to publish books in Arabic and English, thousands of copies of which are sent free-of-charge to libraries, educational institutions and Islamic centers throughout North America and the Islamic world.

The Department of Information Services provides computers used in the teaching programs as well as for the institute’s other activities. It also designs and develops educational and scientific software for use in learning and teaching Islam and Arabic.

The institute also has a large reference library that is open to students, visitors and researchers. It holds more than 20,000 books and thousands of publications on Islam and the Arabic language, social sciences, geography, history and biography. The Department of Seminars and Activities organizes specialized courses and functions, such as seminars and conferences, in the fields of Islamic and Arabic sciences.

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Source: Saudi Embassy Web Site

16 thoughts on “Saudi Universities

  1. please could you provide me details of how ca i studiy in riyadh uni on islam , and what are the cost i woud have to pay
    thank you

  2. This may help In Shaa Allaah:

    Extra Info from Shaykh Fawzaan: Question#5: What are the most important lessons that a student of knowledge should begin with, and what advice do you give him? Also, what do you say concerning someone that makes excuses for himself from studying when we desire to take him to attend lessons and lectures?

    Answer: The student of knowledge (in Riyadh) must enroll himself in one of the educational institutes under the Imaam Muhammad bin Su’ood Islamic University for they have excellent curriculums that are arranged according to the levels of the students – step by step – the first year, then the second year, then the third and the fourth. There is a curriculum for each year, which differs from the curriculum of the previous year and they progress in levels after each year. These are curriculums that have been chosen by our scholars and teachers who did well in establishing these institutes and selecting syllabuses for them.

    So I advise the student of knowledge to enroll in one of these institutes, however he is able to do that. Thereafter, he should register with one of the collegiate faculties of the University, such as the faculty of Sharee’ah, the faculty of Usool-ud-Deen, the faculty of Hadeeth and its Sciences, the faculty of the Arabic Language and so on. If the student of knowledge is not able to enroll in one of these institutes and collegiate faculties, he should try to make time to sit in the classes of the scholars who teach in the masaajid. And they, all praise be to Allaah, are many and the classes they give cover a wide range of Islamic sciences.

    I advise the student of knowledge to firmly adhere to these classes, whether those given in the University or those held in the masaajid. So it is not enough for him that he attend classes one week then is absent from them for several weeks afterward or that he attend one month, then is absent for several months. This person will not benefit at all. This is since if he misses out on receiving some of the knowledge, there will remain a void in his mind and comprehension and he will miss out on much good. So the student of knowledge must have diligence, a strong interest and eagerness.

  3. i want addition in saude arabia as a foreign students pleas guide me in this matter

    so please could you provide me details of how ca i studiy in riyadh university or other in saudi arabia i am also enter class passed which is known by madina university {in india named jameatul falah bilerya gang Azem garh U.P india} .

  4. Hello,

    Iam faney diana currently residing in kuwait with iam working as a Research assistant i(BIOTECHNOLOGY)n kuwait university khaldiya.Now my husband is looking for job in saudi mostly he shortlisted for one company,now my question is can i get job in my field as a research assistant in sauudi?I heard from my friends that ladies are not allowed for working but some of them are telling that u can work for teaching profession.I want to heare from u that , can i work in the university as a Research assistant.

  5. Women do a lot of different types of jobs in Saudi, although by far the largest number of positions is in education. You may be able to find a job as a research assistant at a college or at a hospital. It would be a good idea to research the city where you plan to live, and start applying for jobs immediately, before Ramadan starts.

  6. as salaamu’alaikum,

    i want to know if someone can help me… my husband and i want to learn the arabic language we heard about the books that are used at the Imaam Muhammad ibn saud university and we wanted to get the books. i live in america and i want to know if the school would sell us the books we really want to learn the arabic language but we wanted to use those books.can someone help us get the books.. barakallahu feekum

    as salaamu’alaikum

  7. Wa ‘alaikumus salaam wa rahmatullaahi wa barakaatuh Umm ‘Abdir Rahmaan.

    If you are a member of the hijrah Yahoo E-group “Muhaajir,” click here:

    If you are not a member, click here:

    You can always ask someone at the university about acquiring their books: 966-1-258-0000 (they just might send them to you for free…it won’t hurt to ask). I have some free VERY beneficial books from them on other subjects, so its definitely worth a try.

    I hope this helps.


  8. hello. i’ve been reading your blogs and i really like them. i’ve been offered a faculty position at a university in saudi arabia and i will be there in two weeks. my question is about the clothing i’ll be expected to be wearing upon arrival. i was planning to wear my headscarf, a loosely fitting long linen top and a pair of jeans for the long flight from USA. will that be appropriate, or do i have to wear an abaya also?

  9. Hi there Antoinette. According to the US Embassy in Riyaadh, you’re only required to wear an abayah. I commend you for your intentions to wear a headscarf.

    Officials recommend that non-Muslim women wear the traditional dress out of respect for Islaamic Law and Saudi customs. It’ll also deter harassment.

    If you ever see a woman without any type of covering, she’s on duty for the State Department. They are the only one’s (that I know of) allowed to go to work uncovered.

    Feel free to contact me anytime and enjoy your stay in KSA. Oh…be sure to try Al Baik Chicken. It’s tastier than the chicken from back home…trust me:)


  10. thanks alot for your reply. i lived in Kuwait for 9 years. and even though i’m not muslim, i really love Arabian culture and i know it will be much easier for me to wear the headscarf in you said, to avoid harassment. i’m so happy to be returning to the Middle East. this time, i plan to stay much, much longer.
    take care, and thanks for the tip about the chicken :)

  11. Assalamualaikum
    I am a girl who is looking forward to study islam deeply.I do not know what to do . I’m only 18 & right now doing my 12th std in an Indian school. I would like to join the university next year inshallah after my 12 .Please give me some advice on how to join & what other the others procedures that I should follow.Please let me know whether i can join without taking a Diploma course.
    Hope you will send me a reply soon.


  12. ~ Hi Antoinette. Nine years in Kuwait, wow! I’m happy to hear that you have an appreciation for Arab culture. I hope this time around is as good as the first. Drop me a line or two after you get settled. I’d love to hear more about your experiences in the Mid. East. Thanks a bunch.

    ~ Wa ‘alaikumus salaam wa rahmatullaahi wa barakaatuh Nadia. I’m not familiar with the ends and outs of King Saud University. Please visit In Shaa Allaah it’ll work out for you, Billaahit Tawfeeq.

  13. salam alekum ,i am very happy to see this kind of opportunity to ask question on saudi education. i am sending this from nigeria.

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