Saudi Arabia, Ministry of Higher Education
Deputyship of the Ministry for Planning and Information Saudi universities on the world map, Saudi Arabia
Ministry of Higher Education, Deputy Ministry for Planning and Information- 2. – Riyadh , 2011
12p ; ..cm
1- Saudi Arabia - Higher Education 2 –Saudi Arabia - Universities and colleges I-Title
378.531 dc 1431/4350 L.D. no. 1431/4350
Saudi Universities on the World Map
Ministry of Higher Education
Deputyship of the Ministry for Planning and Information
General Administration for Planning & Statistics
1432 H / 2011 G
I. The Economist Report 3
II. InternationalRankings 4
1. British Ranking System 4
a) QS World University Ranking 4
b) THE - Times Higher Education Ranking 5
2. American Ranking System 5
3. Webometrics Ranking System 6
4. Shanghai Ranking System 9
III. RegionalRankings 10
IV. World Class Universities: New Generation of Saudi Universities 13
International and regional university rankings of universities, together with the records of scientific research at universities and research centers, testify that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is witnessing a tremendous growth in scholarly publications. Such a growth far surpasses similar activity in other Islamic and developed countries. Saudi Arabia has occupied a preponderant place at the regional and international levels through rapid and substantial growth in science and technology in higher education.
In 2007, The Economist ranked Saudi Arabia in the 7th position, ahead of France, Russia, Italy, Spain, Malaysia and many other countries, in the field of higher education. This ranking examined many factors, among which government spending.
According to the 2009 and 2010 QS World University Rankings, King Saud University and King Fahd University of Petroleum & Minerals were included among the world’s top 300 universities.
According to the July 2009 Spanish Webometrics ranking of world universities, two universities from Saudi Arabia were listed in the world’s top 400 universities: King Saud University, ranked 197, and King Fahd University of Petroleum & Minerals, ranked 303. Furthermore, in 2010 Webometrics ranking of world universities, three universities were listed among the world’s top 300 universities, namely King Saud University, ranked 164, King Fahd University of Petroleum & Minerals, ranked 178, and King Abdul Aziz University, ranked 291. Also, on the Jan. 2011 rankings, King Saud University ranked 212, while King Fahd University of Petroleum &
Minerals ranked 544.
In addition, in 2009 King Saud University was admitted to the academic ranking of World universities, known as Shanghai Ranking. It was the only Arab university to be listed among the top 500 international universities.
In 2010, King Saud University was ranked among the world’s top 400 universities while King Fahd University for Petroleum & Minerals was among the top 500 universities.
According to the American ranking system, King Saud University was ranked as 222, and King Fahd University for Petroleum & Minerals as 255.
Based on scientific and technological productivity, namely, the publication of research in established journals, the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) standing Committee on Scientific and Technological Cooperation (COMSTECH) has ranked Saudi Arabia as 4th among the most scientifically productive countries of the 57 OIC member states.
I. The Economist Report
As mentioned, The Economist, a British magazine, ranked Saudi Arabia in the 7th position ahead of France, Russia, Italy, Spain, Malaysia and many other countries in the field of higher education in 2007.
Several factors have enabled the Kingdom to occupy this ranking. The sums of money spent on each student in the field of higher education, the rate of allocations for higher education from the state’s general budget, and the number of business administration institutes, are among the factors that made the Kingdom occupy such a preponderant rank.
II. International rankings
1. British Ranking System
a) QS World University Ranking
The Times Higher Education Supplement (THES), a British publication that is published in association with Quacquarelli Symonds, annually publishes the THES-QS World University Rankings, which ranks 400 best universities around the world.
The THE-QS gives a tremendous weight to the opinion of experts (40%), as well as other factors such as the employers’ rating of graduates, international faculty recruitment, inflow of international students, student to faculty ratio, and the overall weight of these standards.
In the 2009 and 2010 QS World University Rankings, two Saudi Arabian universities have been included in the list of 300 best universities as shown in the table below:
Institutions Country Rank-2009 Rank-2010
King Saud University Saudi Arabia 247 221
King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals Saudi Arabia 266 255
b) THE Times Higher Education Ranking
In 2010, the THE magazine adopted new ranking standards for the best 300 universities, including higher education and its surrounding environment (30%), production and reputation of scientific research (30%), impact of the university’s scientific research (32.5%), international inflow of faculty and students (5%), and innovation and material revenue from interaction with the industry (2.5%). Such standards include sub-standards such as the number of Ph.D. awarded each year, ratio of Ph.D. to Bachelor’s holders, and the ratio of published research to the overall number of faculty members.
Two Saudi universities feature among the 400 best universities according to THE in 2010 as shown in the table below:
Institutions Country Rank-2010
King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals Saudi Arabia 349
King Saud University Saudi Arabia 363
2. American Ranking System
The American ranking system (known as US News & World Report -World’s Best Universities) draws on the British QS ranking scheme. According to the world best top 400 universities , King Saud University ranks as 222 among the 400 best world universities, and King Fahd University for Petroleum & Minerals as 255 as shown in the table next:
Institutions Country Rank-2010
King Saud University Saudi Arabia 222
King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals Saudi Arabia 255
3. Webometrics Ranking System
Webometrics of world universities is produced by the Cybermetrics Lab (CINDOC), a unit of the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC). It offers information about more than 4,000 universities according to their web presence (a computerized assessment of the size and sophistication of the website). The Webometrics Ranking is built on a database of over 13,000 universities and 5,000 research centers. The top 4,000 universities are shown in the main ranking, but even more are covered in the regional lists.
Institutions from developing countries benefit from this additional listing because they obtain knowledge of their ranking although they may not be considered world class universities.
Webometrics ranking started in 2004 based on several indicators that take into account both the volume of the Web contents and the visibility and impact of this web publication according to the number of external links universities receive. The ranking is updated twice yearly, in January and July, providing Web indicators for universities and research centers worldwide.
This assessment takes into account the extent and size of scientific activities represented on the academic websites, which might be overlooked by bibliometric indicators.
According to the July 2009 Webometrics of world universities, two universities from Saudi Arabia were listed among the top 400 universities:
King Saud University, ranked 197, and King Fahd University of Petroleum
& Minerals, ranked 303. On the 2010 rankings, two more universities joined their sister universities, namely King Abdul Aziz University and Um Alqura University as shown in the table below:
Institutions Country Rank-2009 Rank-2010
King Saud University Saudi Arabia 197 164
King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals Saudi Arabia 303 178
King Abdul Aziz University Saudi Arabia - 291
Um Alqura University Saudi Arabia - 681
Furthermore, four Saudi universities have occupied the first four ranks among the 10 best Arab universities, namely King Saud University, King Fahd University for Petroleum & Minerals, King Abdulaziz University, and Um Alqura University. Six Saudi universities have occupied the first four ranks among the 10 best Gulf universities, namely King Saud University, King Fahd University for Petroleum & Minerals, King Abdulaziz University, and Um Alqura University as well as King Faisal University and Najran University, which have occupied the eighth and tenth ranks. On the other hand, two Saudi universities have occupied the eighth and ninth ranks among the 10 best Asian universities, namely King Saud University, King Fahd University for Petroleum & Minerals. Three Saudi universities have occupied the first three ranks among the 10 best Islamic universities, namely King Saud University, King Fahd University for Petroleum & Minerals, and King Abdulaziz University, with Um Alqura University occupying the fifth rank, as shown in the table next:
Rank Asia Rank
King Saud University 1 1 8
King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals 2 2 9
King Abdul Aziz University 3 3 20
Um Alqura University 4 5 7
King Faisal university 15 - 1
In addition, the Jan. 2011 rankings indicate that King Saud University ranked 212, King Fahd University of Petroleum & Minerals ranked 544, and Imam Mohammad bin Saud Islamic University ranked 998. The next table shows the rankings of some Saudi Universities on the international, Asia, Islamic, and Arabic levels.
Rank World Rank
King Saud University First First 21 212
King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals Third Second 63 544
Imam Muhammad ibn Saud Islamic University - Third - 998
King Abdul Aziz University - Fourth - 1006
4. Shanghai Ranking System
The emergence of the academic ranking of world universities, engineered by the Shanghai Jiao Tongo University (a large-scale Chinese project to provide independent rankings of universities around the world intended to measure the gap between Chinese universities and world class universities), has been highly publicized.
The Shanghai Ranking uses a weighted composite sum. Shanghai appraises education and faculty based on Nobel Prize-winning, Fields Medal-winning, alumni and faculty, and highly cited researchers. It measures research by counting non-review articles in Science and Nature (both journals devoted to the natural sciences published in English), and the total number of published articles. Moreover, a weighted average of these indicators is adjusted for institutional size, and contributes 10% to the overall weight.
One of the primary criticisms of this ranking is its bias towards natural sciences, over other subjects, and science journals in the Anglo-American arena. This is evidenced by the inclusion of criteria such as the volume of articles published in Science or Nature, or the count of Nobel Prize winners (who are predominantly from the physical sciences) and Fields Medalists (for mathematics).
According to the 2009 Shanghai academic ranking of world universities, there was only one university, King Saud University, from the whole Arab world listed among the top 500 universities. In addition, according to the 2010 academic ranking of the world universities, King Saud University was listed among the top 400 universities, and King Fahd for Petroleum and Minerals was listed among the top 500 universities, as shown in the table next:
World Rank Segment 2010 World Rank
Segment 2009 Country
Saudi Arabia King Saud University
Saudi Arabia King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals
0 50 100 150 200 250 300 350 400 450
ﺩﻭﻌﺳ ﻙﻠﻣﻟﺍ ﺔﻌﻣﺎﺟ
ﻝﻭﺭﺗﺑﻠﻟ ﺩﻬﻓ ﻙﻠﻣﻟﺍ ﺔﻌﻣﺎﺟ ﻥﺩﺎﻌﻣﻟﺍﻭ ﺯﻣﻳﺎﺗ ﺱﺇ ﻭﻳﻛ ﻑﻳﻧﺻﺗ
ﺯﻣﻳﺎﺗ ﻑﻳﻧﺻﺗ ﻲﻛﻳﺭﻣﻷﺍ ﻑﻳﻧﺻﺗﻟﺍ ﺱﻛﻳﺭﺗﻣﻭﺑﻳﻭ ﻑﻳﻧﺻﺗ
222 164 255 178 Top 400 Top 500
III. Regional Rankings
The Standing Committee on Scientific and Technological Cooperation of the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) has classified Muslim states and their universities according to publications between 1995 and 2005.
Saudi Universities on the World Map 2010
King Saud University
King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals
QS World University Ranking Times Higher Education Ranking
American Ranking Webometrics Ranking Shanghai Ranking
Top 10 Most Scientifically Productive Countries in the Muslim World Table (1) below shows the top-10 OIC member states classified according to one standard of scientific and technological productivity, namely, publication of research in specialized journals. Saudi Arabia was ranked 4th among the 57 OIC member states.
Table 1: Top 10 Most Scientifically Productive Countries in the Muslim World*
Country 10 Year Publications Top Discipline
1 Turkey 82,407 Surgery
2 Egypt 27,723 Applied Mathematics
3 Iran 19,114 Chemistry
4 Saudi Arabia 17,472 Gen - Internal Medicine
5 Malaysia 10,674 Crystallography
6 Morocco 10,113 Physical Chemistry
7 Nigeria 9,105 Food Science & Technology
8 Pakistan 7,832 Plant Sciences
9 Jordan 6,384 Chemical Engineering
10 Kuwait 5,930 Gen - Internal Medicine
* Measured by published research between 1995 and 2005
Top 10 Most Scientifically Productive Countries in the Islamic World
IV. World Class Universities: New Generation of Saudi Universities
King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST)
Located in the city of Thuwal on the Red Sea, KAUST is the country’s first co-educational facility. KAUST boasts nine research centers specializing in areas such as water desalination, alternative energy, nanotechnology, and stem cell research.
KAUST was established to stimulate a new era of scientific and educational achievement, and consolidate Saudi Arabia’s position in the academic community worldwide. KAUST will include one of the most advanced supercomputers worldwide. It is worth mentioning that KAUST opened its doors on 23 September 2009 to 349 students and 60 scholars and researchers from all over the world. It is expected that 2000 students will join it by 2020.
In order to attract top researchers from around the world, KAUST has been forming partnerships with international research centers and universities since 2007 through its Global Collaborative Research (GCR) program.
Partners include Imperial College London, UK, and the global leader, Dow Chemical Company.
Princess Nura Bint Abdurrahman University for Girls
Spanning an area of eight million square meters in Riyadh, Princess Nura Bint Abdurrahman University for Girls will accommodate 40,000 students.
The SR20 billion project represents the world’s largest institution for higher education, and will include 15 colleges, with course offerings in medicine, pharmacy, and computer sciences. Research will be conducted in nanotechnology, biology, and information technology in collaboration with King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology.
The University will provide educational programs that are essential to meeting the needs of the Saudi job market requirements as well as enable women to participate efficiently in the country’s development process.
The regional and international University ranking is quite a controversial issue.
Each ranking has its own critics, and includes advantages and disadvantages.
Ranking can be based on a subjectively perceived “quality” or on surveys of educators, faculty members, alumni, current students, and others.
However, the international ranking guide for universities is an invaluable indicator that tracks changes over time in their regional and international standing to help academic and higher education policy makers determine the weaknesses, constraints, impediments that universities suffer from in terms of quality and competency, and isolate the best means and practices used by outstanding world class universities. Nations that host the best world universities, such as the Kingdom Saudi Arabia, are likely to enter global competition for intellect and innovation, and are able to establish knowledge-based economy.
Such tremendous leaps in academic rankings owe much to the unconditional support of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques and the Minister of Higher Education to scientific research in Saudi universities.
With the establishment of world class universities in Saudi Arabia, and the implementation of the Saudi Ministry of Higher Education reform plans, it is expected that more higher education institutions will gain rankings among world class universities as well as “functional developmental institutes” while providing valuable resources for business, industry, and society. This can be realized through a careful balance between international academic standards, national needs, local cultural identity, and careful management of knowledge production, management, dissemination, access, and control.
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