Times Higher Education: UAE universities score highly on Arab league table

125 universities in the Arab world were listed in the inaugural regional rankings

Khalifa University ranked number six in the region in the inaugural Times Higher Education Arab University Rankings.
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Two UAE universities have made the top 10 of a regional higher education league table.

The Arab University Rankings, published by Times Higher Education on Tuesday, ranked Abu Dhabi's Khalifa University sixth out of 125 universities, while the United Arab Emirates University in Al Ain took seventh.

King AbdulAziz University in Saudi Arabia claimed the overall top spot to be ranked the region's best higher education institution. Five other Saudi universities also made the top 10.

Saudi Arabia is clearly investing strongly in its Higher Education sector
Duncan Ross, Times Higher Education

Four out of the top five higher education institutions are in Saudi Arabia. Universities in Qatar, Lebanon and Egypt also feature in the top 10.

The new Times Higher Education Arab University Rankings ranked universities in 14 countries across the region for the first time based on a methodology including new regional measures on reputation and collaboration.

Phil Baty, chief knowledge officer at Times Higher Education, said: “While Saudi Arabia dominates the top five, to see five countries represented in the top 10 and 11 in the top 50 is testament to the strength of higher education across the Arab world regardless of a university’s size, status or research output.”

One hundred of the 125 ranked institutions are public universities, while the remaining are private.

Bahrain, Oman, Jordan, Kuwait, Tunisia and Morocco are represented in the top 50, with Palestine, Iraq and Algeria claiming places in the top 100.

Duncan Ross, chief data officer at Times Higher Education, said: "Saudi Arabia is clearly investing strongly in its Higher Education sector.

"Saudi Arabia is also the second most represented country within the rankings with 22 institutions overall, so it’s perhaps not surprising that they are doing very strongly.

"The Emirati universities are also very strong, as is recognised in last year’s World University Rankings.

"Looking broadly at UAE universities, they tend to have slightly lower average citations than Saudi universities, but have slightly stronger reputation.

"Emirati universities could build stronger research networks, both within and outside the Arab world – this internationalisation will help to support and grow other metrics."

The universities are judged across 16 performance indicators in five areas: teaching (the learning environment); research (volume, income and reputation); citations (research influence); international outlook (staff, students and research); and society (knowledge transfer and impact).

Universities must supply data to be included in the ranking and need to have published more than 500 research publications between 2016 and 2020.

The new methodology used for this table meant the results included 55 ranked universities that did not meet the criteria to be included in the Times Higher Education's latest World University Rankings, which require institutions to publish a minimum of 1,000 academic papers over a rolling five-year period and teach undergraduates.

In April, a Saudi Arabian university was ranked the best in the world for its efforts to achieve gender equality.

Princess Nourah bint Abdulrahman University, described as the largest women's university in the world, topped the table released by UK magazine Times Higher Education.

Khalifa University was the first university in the UAE to rank among the top 200 of a global higher education league table in the alternative 2022 QS World University Rankings.

Times Higher Education rankings in the Middle East

Updated: July 27, 2021, 11:47 AM