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Recognition of Degrees

For non- Saudi University Degrees

A. General Principles :

The Saudi educational system and qualification framework are the benchmarks for carrying out the recognition for non- Saudi University degrees, which the committee abides by the long- established academic codes of instructions set for Saudi students when they are abroad which include :

1. The necessity of getting a prior approval from the Ministry of Higher Education to study abroad for self-funded students. It should note that this approval does not entitle, by all means, students to receive the recognition letter after graduation.
2. The program and educational institution or university has to be included in the list of institutions recommended by the Ministry of Higher Education.
3. The degree preceding the degree submitted for recognition has to be either issued by a Saudi institution or the qualifications are recognised by the committee.
4. Student should finish at least 75 % of the degree requirements in an institution accredited by the Ministry of Higher Education ( the remainder of the program requirements should be completed in an accredited institution in the country of residence)
5. A transfer student should have completed at least 25% of the degree requirements in the degree-awarding institution.
6. Students should be registered full-time for the BA degree and should stay regularly in the country of the study. MA and PhD students may register part-time and certain rules apply in such cases.
7. All recognition documents must be certified by the Saudi Cultural Attaché in the country of study: in case no Saudi Cultural attaché is available there, this has to be done in the nearest Saudi Cultural attaché.
8. The non Saudi university degrees are usually recognised to the Saudi Educational framework. However, in some cases where minimum requirements are not met, recognition can be granted for a lower degree.
9. The period of studying a postgraduate Diploma at an academic institution in which this diploma is regarded as a preparation year for the MA degree, counts in the MA study period and both certificates are recognised as an MA.
10. If a student studies for an MA or PhD program in a country , then transfers courses from another country these transfer credit s don’t count when calculating the period of his stay and regularity of the program in the later country.
11. The period of time spent on scientific expedition will not count towards the minimum duration of stay required in the country of study.
12. The period of time spent on complementary or academic studies will not count towards the minimum duration of stay required for a program in the country of study unless this is concurrently done with other core courses that are considered to be a part of the study program.

B. Bases of Qualifications Recognition

1. Intermediate Diploma
For an intermediate diploma to be recognised, the following conditions along with the above – mentioned ones must be met.
a. The duration of study must not be shorter full academic year or 30 credit hours per term or equivalent.
b. Full- time registration is required. The number of years required to finish a diploma; according to the standard numbers of years in the program, has to be explicitly mentioned on the recognition letter.

2. Graduate Degree.

3. To gain recognition, the first university degree (BA/BSc or equivalent) has to meet the following requirements along with the above – mentioned ones.
a. The duration of a bachelor program and any other admission requirements (e.g. post- high school foundation year, etc.) must not be shorter than 4 years. Or 120 credit hours or equivalent, unless the Committee finds a convincing reason for less than that.
b. Engineering or applied Engineering degrees obtained from accredited universities whose program of study and credit hours are below the minimum period mentioned in the above item are granted equivalent for BSC in engineering technology nit a BSc in Engineering.
c. In the case of health majors (e.g. medicine, pharmacy….etc.) where a minimum residency (internship) time is required, the residency period must be spent in a hospital affiliated to a recommended university.

4. Postgraduate Diplomas.
For a postgraduate diploma to be granted recognition, the following conditions, in addition to the general recognition conditions, have to be met:
a. The postgraduate diploma has to be preceded by a graduate degree (BA/BSc or equivalent).
b. The period of study must not be shorter than a full academic year or 30 credit hours per term or equivalent).

5. MA/MSc Degrees
For an MA/MSc Degree or equivalent to be granted recognition, the following conditions, in addition to the general recognition conditions, have to be met:
a. The MA/MSc Degree has to be preceded by the first degree.
b. The duration of study should not be less than one full academic year.
c. Passing a number of course ( no less than 24 credit hours per term or equivalent) in addition to doing equivalent research work ( MA /MSc. Thesis) or studying some courses not less than 30 credit hours or an equivalent study without a dissertation or by research only .
d. Studying full time regularly and staying in the country of the study for the period necessary to finish the coursework of study if there are any, which must not be less than one academic year after first degree.
e. The degree holder should have fulfilled all university courses and research requirements.
f. The MA thesis should be within or close to the area of student’s specialization in the first degree, or the degree holder should have taken prerequisite courses if the MA and BA/BSc specialization is different, or the Committee may find a convincing reason for the different specialization.
g. Supposedly, there should not be any overlap between the BA/BSc and the MA/MSc program requirements. In case of an overlap, the following rules apply:
1. The overlap of more than 9 credit hours or equivalent in MA/MSc program is not allowed according to the semester system.
2. The overlap is only allowed at advanced levels of BA/MSc courses.
h. The Committee may recognise the MA/MSc degree without the condition of obtaining a bachelor if the university system awards both degrees and allows the procession to the MA/MSc degree without having the first degree, where a student must meet the requirements of both degrees.
i. As for students with a 3 year BSc in Military Sciences after high school from the Kingdom or an equivalent degree and wish to proceed to the MA/MSc, the following rules apply:
3. MA/ MSc degrees in military science or close areas of specializations, e.g. Civil Protection, Risk Management, Police Sciences , Criminal Justice, Criminology . Security Sciences, Safety Sciences, Civil Defence Management etc., are recognised without the prerequisite courses.
4. MSc in a non military specialization or close areas can be considered for recognition when students pass prerequisite courses of at least 30 credit hours per term or its equivalent in the specialization prior to commencing the MSc program.

6. The PhD Degree
For the PhD degree (or its equivalent) to be considered for the following conditions, in addition to the general qualification recognition conditions, have to be met:
a. Obtaining a university degree (BA/BSc or MA/MSc).
b. The study period required for obtaining the PhD must not be less than two academic years after Ma degree or three academic years after the graduate degree.
c. Students should study full-time and stay in the country of the study for the required period to studying the courses if there are any. Student must stay in the country of the study on less than one academic year after the MA or two years after BA degree in case of studying the MA and PhD.
d. One of the requirements of obtaining the degree must be to conduct research or pieces of research in the area of specialization.
e. The PhD dissertation must to be within or close to the area of a specialization in the BA or MA, or the degree holder should have completed sufficient prerequisite courses if MA and BA/BSc specializations are different or the Committee finds a c onvincing reason for the different specializations.
f. The PhD degree must be the highest academic degree for which the student is registered in the educational system of the country of study.
g. The Committee may consider the recognition of the PhD degree without the condition of obtaining the MA if the university system allows the procession to the PhD Degree without first having the MA.

More information about recognition of degrees can be found here.