The Kingdom’s higher education is provided by both private and public universities that have been accredited by the MOE and the Institute of Public Administration. English is used as the medium of instruction in technological and science fields and all other subjects are taught in Arabic. 

A royal decree number 1/236 in 8/5/1395 AH (1975 AD) stipulated the establishment of the Ministry of Education (MOE) to execute the national higher education policy. The MOE is the Head of the Council of Higher Education (CHE), the governing body for all post-secondary, non-military education. The CHE makes proposals relative to the overall policy of higher education and supervises the application of the state policy in scientific research. The Prime Minister is the president of the Council. The MOE supervises the execution of the Kingdom’s policy in the field of higher education, and it supervises the universities through a University Council.

Admission to Higher Education

Admission to university higher education requires:

  • A Secondary School Diploma
  • A minimum score of 75% is required for admission to Science faculties
  • A minimum score of 75% for Art faculties
  • An entrance examination for some faculties or some universities is also required

Technical Colleges and Vocational Colleges

Post-secondary technical and vocational education is available at technical colleges, higher technical institutes and higher institutions for financial and commercial sciences. Most of these institutions come under the authority of the General Organization for Technical Education and Vocational Training.

Admission to non-university higher education (Technical Colleges)

Admission to any of the technical colleges requires the General Secondary Education Certificate (sciences stream), the Secondary Vocational School Diploma or the Secondary Commercial School Diploma. Programs are up to three years in duration and lead to certificates and diplomas.

Post-Secondary Grading Scale

A Bachelor’s Degree is conferred after four years, except in pharmacy and medicine, which require four years with additional training in the hospital. Engineering and Veterinary Medicine require five years. A Master’s Degree is normally conferred after two years following the completion of a Bachelor’s Degree. Master’s degree requirements include course work and a dissertation/thesis. A Doctor of Philosophy, PhD, is normally conferred after three years of study following the completion of a Master’s and Bachelor’s degree.

Scale Used by Post-Secondary Institutions*

  • 95 to 100 = 5.0 = A+ Excellent
  • 90 to less than 95 = 4.75 = A Excellent
  • 85 to less than 90 = 4.5 = B+ Very Good
  • 80 to less than 85 = 4.0 = B Very Good
  • 75 to less than 80 = 3.5 = C+ Good
  • 70 to less than 75 = 3.0 = C Good
  • 65 to less than 70 = 2.5 = D+ Fair
  • 60 to less than 65 = 2.0 = D Fair
  • Less than 60 = 1.0 = F Fail

*Most Saudi universities adopt a 5.0 grading scale with the exception of a few that calculate out of 4

Government Universities

The MOE is responsible for supervising, planning and coordinating the admission requirements for higher education throughout the Kingdom. The Kingdom now has 25 high-capacity research universities geographically distributed in the Kingdom’s regions. These universities were established to support the Government’s aim of achieving national development through the preparation and qualification of professionals who specialize in both administrative and scientific fields. All 25 universities operate under the MOE umbrella but are highly independent in both administrative and academic scopes.

Private Universities and Colleges

Among its many objectives, the Kingdom’s Sixth Development Plan (1415-1420 H) included the expansion of higher education and establishment of several private colleges to complement the role of the governmental universities and fulfill the country’s development requirements. The Council of Ministers, Decree No. 33, issued in 1418 H, officially approved the establishment of non-profit educational institutions supported by private sector contributions.


List of Private UniversitiesList of Private Colleges
Alfaisal University
Al Yamamah University
Arab Open University
Dar Al Uloom University
Effat University
Prince Fahad Bin Sultan University
Prince Mohammad Bin Fahd University
Prince Sultan University
University of Business and Technology
Umm Al-Qura University
The Islamic University
Al-Imam Mohammed Ibn Saud Islamic University
King Saud University
King AbdulAziz University
King Fahd University of Petroleum And Minerals​
King Faisal University
King Khalid University
Qassim University
Taibah University
Taif University
Hael University
Jazan University
Al-Jouf University​
University of Tabuk
Al-Baha University
Najran University
Northern Border University​
Princess Nourah Bint AbdulRahman University
King Saud Bin AbdulAziz University for Health Sciences
University of Dammam​
Prince Sattam Bin AbdulAziz University
Shaqra University​
Majmaah University
Saudi Electronic University
University of Jeddah