Top 10 Universities in the Arab Region 2020

Top 10 Universities in the Arab Region 2020

Chloe Lane

Updated January 17, 2020 Updated January 17

The newly published 2020 edition of the QS Arab Region University Rankings, out today, features 130 leading universities in the region.

To compile the rankings, 10 indicators are used: academic reputation, employer reputation, faculty/student ratio, international research network, web impact, proportion of staff with a PhD, citations per paper, papers per faculty, proportion of international faculty and proportion of international students.  You can find out more about the methodology used here.

Read on as we count down the top ten universities in the Arab region…

QS Arab Region University Rankings 2020: Top 10





King Abdulaziz University (KAU)

Saudi Arabia


American University of Beirut (AUB)



King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals (KFUPM)

Saudi Arabia


Qatar University



United Arab Emirates University

United Arab Emirates


King Saud University (KSU)

Saudi Arabia


American University of Sharjah

United Arab Emirates


Sultan Qaboos University



The American University in Cairo (AUC)



University of Jordan


 10. University of Jordan

University of Jordan

Location: Jordan

Kicking off our list of the top universities in the Arab region is the University of Jordan in 10th place. Established in 1962, the University of Jordan is the largest and oldest university in Jordan, enrolling over 37,000 students and is also one of the Hashemite Kingdom’s leading research universities.

The university earns its highest score in the employer reputation indicator, placing sixth in the region, reflecting the strong position of the university’s graduates amongst graduate employers. 

9. The American University in Cairo (AUC)

Location: Egypt

Down one place this year, but remaining solidly in the top ten, is the American University in Cairo which takes ninth place. Founded in 1919, the American University in Cairo (AUC) is a leading English language and American accredited higher education institution and its community of students, parents, faculty, staff, alumni and trustees represent more than 60 countries, giving it a strong international outlook.

The university gains its highest scores in the web impact and employer reputation indicators, ranking third and fourth respectively.

8. Sultan Qaboos University

Image credit: Neil Turner (Flickr)

Location: Oman

Rising two places in the rankings this year is Sultan Qaboos University (SQU), in eighth place. Set in a valley beneath the nearby foothills of the Oman Mountains and built in the traditional Islamic style, the university is certainly picturesque. Established in 1986, SQU is also the Sultanate’s only public university and ranks joint 379th in the QS World University Rankings® 2020.

The university scores highest in the international research network in fourth place, reflecting the strong international outlook of its academic work.

7. American University of Sharjah

Location: United Arab Emirates

Remaining in seventh place for the region this year is the American University of Sharjah, placing 371st in the world university ranking. All classes and administrative functions are conducted in English and the university has an almost 50:50 ratio of male and female students.

The university earns perfect scores in the web impact and international research network indicator, both ranking first – showing the university’s focus on expanding its international outlook.

6. King Saud University (KSU)


Location: Saudi Arabia

King Saud University (KSU) takes sixth place in 2020, dropping two places from last year. KSU scores well in the academic reputation, employer reputation and international research network indicators and ranks joint 281st in the most recent world university rankings.

Named after the founder of Saudi Arabia, KSU was established in 1957 and was Saudi Arabia’s first university. The university’s programs are taught in either English or Arabic, depending on the chosen major, and many courses have no tuition fees.

5. United Arab Emirates University (UAEU)


Location: United Arab Emirates

Established in 1976 by the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, United Arab Emirates University (UAEU) is the first and largest institution in the UAE . Today, the university continues to fulfil its founder’s progressive vision, contributing to the development of the UAE.

UAEU places fifth of the top universities in the Arab region and ranks joint 329th in the world rankings, scoring well in all indicators, particularly the academic reputation, employer reputation and international research network.

4. Qatar University

Location: Qatar

Rising two places this year and entering the top five is Qatar University, in fourth place.. The university was established in 1979 and is continuously improving in the world university rankings, placing 276th this year.

Qatar University scores well across all indicators, but scores particularly well in the international research network and employer reputation indicators, ranking fifth and seventh respectively.

3. King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals (KFUPM)

Image credit: Abdulrahman Y. idlbi (Flickr)

Location: Saudi Arabia

Top of the table last year, King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals (KFUPM) drops to third place in the 2020 rankings. Founded in 1963, KFUPM is now one of the most selective higher education institutes in Saudi Arabia, only accepting 10 percent of all applicants.

KFUPM ranks in joint 200th place in the world university rankings, scoring in the top 10 for most indicators. This includes the papers per faculty and citations per paper indicators, where it ranks third and fourth respectively – an indication of the quality of the university’s academic research.

2. American University of Beirut (AUB)

Location: Lebanon

Narrowly missing out on the gold medal position is the American University of Beirut, in second place. The university offers over 120 programs, all of which are taught in English. The University of Beirut was founded in 1866 and is a private, nonsectarian and independent university, and is now one of the most prestigious universities in the middle east.

As expected, the university ranks highly in all indicators, scoring particularly well in the employer reputation indicator where it comes first in the Arab region.

1. King Abdul Aziz University (KAU)

Location: Saudi Arabia

In first place, and officially the top university in the Arab region this year, is King Abdul Aziz University (KAU). As well as rising two places in the regional rankings, KAU also scores well in the world university rankings, in joint 186th place.

KAU ranks in the top 10 for all but three of the indicators, scoring particularly well for academic reputation, citations per paper and international research network; reflecting the strength of the university’s academic output.

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This article was originally published in October 2019 . It was last updated in January 2020

Written by

A Content Writer for, Chloe has a bachelor’s degree in Economics from the University of Reading and grew up in Leicestershire, UK. 

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