Local Universities: Breaking the Stigma

By Aabiya Baqai, Nora Al Ourfi and Sumaiyya Naseem

Everything a prospective student must know.

 Dar Al Hekma University

18a8079Dar Al Hekma (DAH) is a private, non-profit institution offering bachelors and masters programs to women. It was established in 1999 with academic programs developed by the Texas International Education Consortium (TIEC). The university is accredited by the MOE and the NCAAA.


The campus is one integrated structure consisting of 26,500 square meters. The academic space includes a variety of facilities including a 1,200-seat auditorium.


DAH offers degrees in business, law, design, architecture, education and health sciences.DAHU-!


  • Gymnasium, court and recreational area

  • Counseling and health services

  • Common rooms, lounges and meeting rooms for clubs

  • Cafeterias

  • Photocopying and printing rooms

  • Computer and science labs

  • Prayer area

  • Outdoor gardens/seating areas


  • Dar Al Hekma Scholarship

  • Al Elm Scholarship

  • Ministry of Higher Education Scholarship

Success Story

Lama Al Sharif did her bachelors in management information systems then went on to do her masters in international relations at DAH. She is the founder and manager of Shababuna Consultancy firm and awareness program and forum focusing on youth empowerment. Al Sharif was recently elected onto the United Nations Habitat Youth Advisory Board for two years as an adviser on the Future Saudi Cities Program. She is the only representative from the Gulf on the board.

Web: dah.edu.sa
Tel: +966-12-6303333
Location: Al Faiha Dist.

King Abdulaziz University (KAU)

DSC00090-medicine-kauKAU was originally founded in 1967 as a private university. Ever since 1974, however, it has been one of Saudi Arabia’s most well known public universities. The university enjoys numerous accreditations from various distinguished bodies such as the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology, Inc. (ABET), and the NCAAA. KAU caters to both local and international students.


KAU is one of the biggest universities in Jeddah, and boasts more than 82,000 students.


With over 20 faculties, KAU has a plethora of courses on offer. These include BA degrees in business administration, mathematics, computer programming, medicine and surgery, and petroleum geology and sediments, as well as several MSc and PhD programs.389b4517-9781-49d7-8eea-a66e93c4e508


  • Laboratories with equipment

  • Research and Development Center

  • Computer labs

  • University Medical Services Center

  • Scientific Publishing Center

  • Emergency and Disaster Center

  • University Stadium


  • Ministry of Higher Education Scholarship

  • Postgraduate Scholarship

Unique Selling Point

KAU ranked first out of 15 different universities in The Times Higher Education rankings.

Success Story

One of KAU’s most notable alumni is Amr Al Dabbagh, who studied business administration. Among Al Dabbagh’s many projects is Al Dabbagh Group, of which he is chairman and CEO, as well as the Stars Foundation, which he founded. Al Dabbagh was also governor and chairman of the board of the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority.

Web: kau.edu.sa
Tel: 8001169528
Location: Abdullah Al Sulayman St.

King Abdullah University of Science and Technology

kaust4A private research university founded in 2009, KAUST focuses on graduate studies and research in the fields of science and technology. The student population is from over 60 nationalities from all continents.


The campus covers more than 336 square kilometers and encompasses a marine sanctuary and research facility. KAUST’s campus is the first to be designed under LEED as the world’s largest LEED Platinum campus.


The university has established multidisciplinary collaborative research centers in the fields of Biological and Environmental Science and Engineering (BESE); computer, Electrical, and Mathematical Science and Engineering (CEMSE); and Physical Science and Engineering (PSE). It also offers two graduate programs.camp


  • Extensive laboratories to aid high-tech research.

  • Research and Technology Park

  • Museum of Science and Technology in Islam

  • Residential neighborhoods for staff, faculty and students.


  • KAUST Scholarship and Fellowship

  • IDB-KAUST Joint PHD Scholarship

Bragging Rights

  • First co-educational university campus in Saudi Arabia.

  • One of 2010’s Top Ten Green Projects.

  • The university library received the 2011 AIA/ALA Library Building Award for accomplishments in library architecture.

Notable Achievements

In addition to the myriad of pioneering research that KAUST hosts, the university has achieved the following:

  • Hosted the first regional version of the International Tech Tour called Arabian Tech Tour for leading venture capitalists, high-tech entrepreneurs and industry and government influencers.

  • The new Shaheen-Cray XC40 supercomputer was acquired by KAUST in 2015 in order to facilitate further research in the Kingdom.

Web: kaust.edu.sa
Tel: +966-12-8083428
Location: Thuwal

Batterjee Medical College

Batarjee-Medical-CollegeBatterjee Medical College (BMC) is one of the most recent colleges established in Jeddah, but is quickly making a name for itself by being the first private specialized medical college in Saudi Arabia. BMC caters to both local and international students.


It is undeniable that BMC has one of the top campuses in Jeddah, with facilities that can fit up to 5,000 students.


BMC’s offers programs in medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, physical therapy, radiology, nursing, and health administration.


  • A Virtual Hospital

  • Dental Clinics

  • A Research Center

  • Accommodation


Al Forsan Scholarships

Bragging Rights

Batterjee Medical College was awarded the Excellence Award as the best educational project in the MENA region in 2010, as well as the Okaz Award for Professional Excellence in 2014.

Web: bmc.edu.sa
Tel: +966-12-6561111
Location: Prince Abdullah Al Faisal St., Obhur

Prince Sultan Aviation Academy

PSAA-4Prince Sultan Aviation Academy (PSAA) has come a long way since its humble beginnings in 1959, when it was initially named Saudi Pilot Training Institute. Today, PSAA is one of the most accomplished establishments of its kind, with customers like Saudia Airlines, Flynas, the Royal Saudi Air Force and Air Asia. Their training programs are also developed according to various aviation authorities.


PSAA’s campus has grown considerably over the years; it is now quite a sizable building that accommodates its 1,100 current students very comfortably.


PSAA offers courses in flight training, ground training, safety training and skills development training.


  • Twenty state of the art classrooms

  • Five flight training devices

  • Seven full flight simulators

  • Aviation library

  • Conference rooms

  • Lounge areas

  • Cafeteria

  • Prayer Areas

Bragging Rights

PSAA acquired the Queen’s Anniversary Prize in 2011 for their pioneering efforts in the field of aviation.

Web: psaa.com.sa
Tel: +966-12-686-4163
Location: Al Khalidiyah Dist.

Effat University

EffatEffat University was established in 1999 as Effat College, under the wings of King Faisal’s Charitable Foundation. The university was the first in the Kingdom to offer engineering programs to women. Today, Effat University is fully accredited by the NCAAA, provides a platform for postgraduate learning in three domains, and yields hundreds of local and international graduates every year.


Effat University’s campus is spread over an impressive 82,000 square meters. It is highly organized with designated buildings for each college and administrative feature. It includes the Effat University Library and Cultural Museum, a 750+ seat auditorium, and various research centers.


The university offers 15 Undergraduate and three Graduate courses in the following colleges: Sciences and Humanities, Business, and Architecture and Design.


  • Gym, basketball court, swimming pool

  • Transportation

  • Restaurants (Nestle Toll House, Paul, Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf)

  • Photocopying and printing and digital labs

  • Library

  • On-campus health services with child development center

  • Residence

  • Enhancement centers including Centre of Excellence in Writing and Speaking (CEWS)

  • Mosque

  • Outdoor gardens/seating areas

  • Private counseling services

Bragging Rights

The Visual and Digital Productions program is the only one in the Kingdom for women interested in producing creative media. The program has four concentrations: visual production, animation, screenwriting, and interactive media.


  • Ministry of Higher Education Grants for Saudi Continuing Students

  • Effat University Full & Partial Scholarships for All Nationalities

  • Effat University Financial Aid (Merit + Family Financial Status)

Success Stories

  • Riham Al Timani, a student of visual and digital production, won the Silver Palm Prize at the third edition of the Saudi Film Festival in 2016, and the Best Student Documentary in the Jeddah Youth Film Festival in 2016.

  • Jannah Baarmah won first place at the Jeddah Entrepreneurs Meet at the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce in 2016.

Web: effatuniversity.edu.sa
Tel: +966-12-6364300
Location: Near Old Makkah Rd.

University of Business and Technology

UBt-4UBT is one of the leading private universities for business studies. It started as a junior college, a small-scale initiative, which expanded in 2012 into UBT, a conglomerate of three sister colleges with respective accreditation by NCAAA, and IAA. UBT caters to both local and international students.


UBT has three campuses: the male campus in Dahban is spread over a land of 100,000 square meters. The female campus is located on Sari Street and the MBA campus on Madinah Road.


UBT currently offers undergraduate courses in the following colleges: business administration (CBA), engineering and information technology (CEIT), and Jeddah college of advertising (JCA). An MBA graduate program is also offered at CBA.


  • Gym

  • Printing

  • Library

  • Student Dorms (Males only)


Ministry of Higher Education Scholarships for Saudi Students

Special Feature

  • On-campus bookstore

  • Extensive medical and dental facilities for students and faculty.

  • Facilities for students with special needs, as per the UN guidelines.

Bragging Rights

  • Jeddah College of Advertising is the first IAA accredited college in Saudi Arabia.

  • UBT is the sole university in the Kingdom to partner with the Erasmus Mundus program known as SECRET (Strengthening Research Collaborations in High-Impact and Emerging Technologies). This is a program that focuses on STEM areas (science, technology, engineering and mathematics).

Web: ubt.edu.sa
Tel: 920000490
Location: Men Campus – Dhaban / Women Campus – Sari St.

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