Saudi and Qatari universities lead the region in global education rankings

Khalifa University of Science and Technology was the top performer in the UAE, ranking sixth in the region and 202nd overall

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Universities from Saudi Arabia and Qatar have been ranked the best in the Arab world in a new global higher education league table.

Seven institutions across the region made the top 250 of the QS World University Rankings 2025, with three from Saudi Arabia and two from Qatar making up the top five in the Middle East.

King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals led the way in 101st position – up from 180th last year – out of 1,500 universities worldwide.

Qatar University is the second highest-ranked university in the Arab world, rising more than 50 places from 173rd to 122nd in the list.

King Abdulaziz University, in Saudi Arabia, was ranked 149th, down from 143rd last year.

Qatar's Hamad bin Khalifa University climbed more than 100 places, from 310th to 183rd.

King Saud University, in Saudi Arabia, was ranked 200th.

Khalifa University of Science and Technology was the top performer in the UAE, ranking sixth in the region and 202nd overall, up from 230th in the 2024 rankings, released on Tuesday.

“Our programmes are specifically designed with an eye on the employability of our graduates,” Arif Sultan Al Hammadi, Executive Vice-President, Khalifa University, recently told The National.

“In addition, we are also actively engaged in research innovation, working closely with industry partners to ensure that impactful research is taken all the way through commercialisation.

“We focus on not only improving our rankings every year but fostering interdisciplinary collaborations and attracting world class expertise and talent creation.”

United Arab Emirates University improved its position from 290 last year to 261 this year.

American University of Sharjah improved from 364th spot last year to 332nd.

University of Sharjah rose from 465th to 434 year-on-year.

How have universities in the region performed?

The Arab region has 82 universities in the latest rankings, with 43 climbing the league table this year.

Universities were judged on academic reputation, employer’s reputation, faculty staff ratio, citations per faculty, international faculty ratio, international students ratio, sustainability score, employment outcomes’ score and an international research network score.

In the Arab world, Saudi Arabia is the dominant higher education system with 20 ranked universities, four of which are new entries, and have 85 per cent of their universities in the top 1,000.

UAE’s twelve ranked universities all featured in the top 1,000 and improved their overall performance by 75 per cent, with a slight decline in some cases.

Saudi Arabia exceeds the global average in two performance indicators, for faculty staff ratio and international faculty ratio.

Qatar's two ranked universities exceeded the global average in all nine indicators measured.

Which countries have the best universities?

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology cemented its position as the world's best university for a 13th consecutive year.

Imperial College London was second, up from sixth last year.

The University of Oxford and Harvard University placed third and fourth respectively, while The University of Cambridge made up the top five.

California Institute of Technology (Caltech) was the only university to break into the world’s top 10 in this edition. The university jumped from 15th to 10th.

Switzerland and Singapore are the only countries besides the UK and the US to feature in the top 10, with ETH Zurich – Swiss Federal Institute of Technology and National University of Singapore (NUS) placing seventh and eighth respectively.

Updated: June 05, 2024, 11:02 AM