In the largest list so far, 199 Arab universities across 18 countries are compared in the 2023 edition of the QS Arab Region University Rankings.
The new classification, published today by QS Quacquarelli Symonds, a British higher-education analytics company, evaluated the institutions based on 10 indicators. The factors given the most weight were academic reputation, which counted for 30 percent of an institution’s final score, and employer reputation, which counted for 20 percent.
Other indicators included were: faculty/student ratio, international research network, web impact, proportion of staff with a Ph.D., citations per paper, papers per faculty, proportion of international faculty, and proportion of international students. For more detail on how scores were calculated, see the report’s Methodology section.
Of the region’s 20 highest-ranked universities, ten kept their position since last year, five saw their ranking improve, and five saw a decline.
For the fourth consecutive year, Saudi Arabia’s King Abdulaziz University (KAU) took the regional top spot, followed by Qatar University in second place and Saudi Arabia’s King Fahd University of Petroleum & Minerals (KFUPM) coming third.
For the fourth consecutive year, Saudi Arabia’s King Abdulaziz University took the top spot, followed by Qatar University in second place and Saudi Arabia’s King Fahd University of Petroleum & Minerals coming third.
The top 10 universities also included King Saud University (4th), the American University of Beirut (5th), the United Arab Emirates University (6th), the Emirates’ Khalifa University of Science and Technology (7th), Oman’ Sultan Qaboos University (8th), the American University of Sharjah (9th), and the University of Jordan (10th).
In the next 10 places were the American University in Cairo (11th), Cairo University (12th), the Lebanese University (13th), Egypt’s Ain Shams University (14th), the University of Sharjah (15th), Jordan University of Science and Technology (16th), Saudi Arabia’s Umm Al-Qura University (17th) and Prince Mohammad Bin Fahd University (18th), Bahrain’s Applied Science University (19th), and the United Arab Emirates’ Zayed University (20th).
Overall, Egypt is the most represented country in the Arab Region rankings, with 33 listed universities. Saudi Arabia was next with 31, and Iraq had 28.
While there are no new additions to the Arab region’s top 10 this year, Saudi Arabia’s Prince Mohammad Bin Fahd University and Bahrain’s Applied Science University both broke into the top 20. Saudi Arabia had five universities in the region’s top 20 this year, including three of the top five.
Of this year’s newly ranked universities, Tunisia’s University of Sfax scored the highest, placing in a group ranked 51 to 60. The only other new entrant to the top 100 was the International University of Rabat in Morocco, in the 91–100 band.
Ten universities achieved scores of 100/100 for their proportion of faculty members with a Ph.D., signifying strength in terms of faculty expertise. Notably, five of these are in Morocco, highlighting the country as the region’s leader in this indicator.
Overall, Egypt is the most represented country in this year’s rankings, with 33 listed universities. Saudi Arabia was next with 31, and Iraq had 28.
Moreover, 16 Arab institutions scored perfect 100s on the international faculty ratio indicator, while 13 scored 100s for international student ratio, highlighting the region’s exceptional internationalisation.
Saudi Institutions Lead in Reputational Surveys
Saudi institutions commanded top scores in the academic and employer reputation indicators.
Both of these metrics are based on global surveys. The first asks academics to name the universities they believe to be producing the best work in their own field of expertise. The other asks employers to name the institutions they perceive to be producing the best graduates.
King Abdulaziz University was the region’s most well-regarded institution, according to both of these metrics, while KFUPM was among the region’s top five on both indicators.
KAU also produced the region’s most impactful research, according to the citations per paper indicator.
The top-100 list included 18 additional Saudi institutions. Four of them placed in the top 50: Princess Nourah bint Abdulrahman University (21st), Imam Abdulrahman bin Faisal University (29th), King Faisal University (32nd), and King Khalid University (36th).
Following them were Jouf University, Alfaisal University, Prince Sultan University, and Imam Mohammad Ibn Saud Islamic University, all in a band ranked 51 to 60; and Northern Borders University, Almaarefa University, Effat University, and Qassim University, in the group ranked 61 to 70.
In the next group (81–90) were Prince Sattam bin Abdulaziz University and Taibah University, followed by Jazan University, Taif University, the University of Jeddah, and the University of Hail (all ranked 91–100).
Other Saudi institutions ranked this year were the University of Business and Technology and the University of Tabuk (101–110); the Islamic University of Madinah and Majmaah University (111–120); Najran University (121–130); Al Baha University and Dar Al-Hekma University (131–150); and Shaqra University (151–170).
Egypt Excels in Africa
Six Egyptian universities made it to the top 50 this year. Besides the three in the top 20—namely the American University in Cairo, Cairo University, and Ain Shams University—the others were Alexandria University (23rd), Mansoura University (34th), and Assiut University (38th).
Teaching capacity was an area of strength for Iraqi universities, with two institutions in the region’s top five in this category: Al Furat Al Awsat Technical University, and Al Nahrain University.
Cairo University and the American University in Cairo were among the top five institutions on the academic reputation indicator, and AUC was the highest-ranked university in Africa.
Ten more Egyptian universities were among the top 100. Future University in Egypt and Al-Azhar University were in a band ranked 51–60, followed by Helwan University, Zagazig University and Tanta University (61–70); the German University in Cairo and Suez Canal University (71–80); and the Arab Academy of Science, Technology and Maritime Transport, the University of Sadat City, and the British University in Egypt (91–100).
Other Egyptian universities ranked in the top 150 were Banha University, Kafrelsheikh University, Beni-Suef University, and Nile University, in a group ranked 101 to 110; Minia University (111–120); Menoufia University and Fayoum University (121–130); and South Valley University and Aswan University (131–150).
October University for Modern Science and Arts (MSA) and Sohag University were in the group ranked 151–170, and six universities were in the group ranked 171–200: Damietta University, Misr University for Science and Technology, Pharos University in Alexandria, Suez University, Port Said University, and October 6 University.
Iraq: The Third Most Represented Arab Country
While 28 Iraqi universities made it to this year’s list, only the University of Baghdad was in the top 50, ranking 40th, down from 26th in 2022.
Four other institutions were in the top 100: Mustansiriya University, in the 71–80 grouping; and Al-Nahrain University, the University of Kufa, and the University of Technology–Iraq, all in the band ranked 81–90.
Eight more Iraqi universities were in the top 150 this year. They were the University of Basrah (101–110); Al-Furat Al-Awsat Technical University and the University of Babylon (111–120); Nineveh University (121–130); and the University of Anbar, Soran University, the University of Mosul, and the University of Duhok (all ranked 131–150).
Despite tensions and academic disruptions, three of the ten ranked Palestinian universities were in the top 100: An-Najah National University, Birzeit University, and Al-Quds University.
Iraqi institutions in the next grouping (151–170) were Salahaddin University–Erbil, the University of Sulaimani, Tikrit University, the University of Kerbala, and the University of Diyala.
Other Iraqi institutions in this year’s classification were the University of Al-Qadisiyah, the University of Fallujah, Northern Technical University, the University of Thi-Qar, the University of Kirkuk, Southern Technical University, Al Muthanna University, the Islamic University College in Najaf, Middle Technical University, and Al Iraqia University, all ranked 171–200.
Teaching capacity was an area of strength for Iraqi universities, with two institutions in the region’s top five for faculty/student ratio. They were Al Furat Al Awsat Technical University, the joint leader in this category with the Islamic University of Lebanon, and Al Nahrain University.
Four of the Iraqi universities ranked are in Iraqi Kurdistan: Soran University, the University of Duhok, Salahaddin University–Erbil, and the University of Sulaimani.
9 Lebanese Institutions in the Top 50
Despite the country’s stifling economic crisis, 12 Lebanese institutions were ranked this year. After the two in the top 20—the American University of Beirut and the country’s only public higher-education institution, the Lebanese University—seven more were among the region’s top 50. They were: the Lebanese American University (22nd), Saint Joseph University of Beirut (25th), Beirut Arab University (35th), Holy Spirit University of Kaslik (37th), the University of Balamand (39th), the Islamic University of Lebanon (43rd), and Notre Dame University-Louaize (49th).
The Islamic University of Lebanon, despite coming in eighth among Lebanese institutions, had the region’s best score for institutional teaching capacity, as measured by the faculty/student ratio indicator. (It shared this distinction with Iraq’s Al Furat Al Awsat Technical University.)
The American University of Beirut was among the region’s top five on the employer reputation indicator.
Other Lebanese institutions ranked this year were Antonine University, ranked 111–120, and Rafik Hariri University and the American University of Science and Technology, both ranked 151–170.
6 Jordanian Universities in the Top 50
Jordan had 22 ranked universities this year. After its two in the top 20, the University of Jordan and Jordan University of Science and Technology, four others were among the top 50. They were Princess Sumaya University for Technology (42nd), the German Jordanian University (44th), Yarmouk University (48th), and the Hashemite University (50th).
The University of Jordan, besides coming in 10th overall, also was among the 10 universities on the academic and employer reputation indicators.
Five other Jordanian universities were among the top 100: Al-Ahliyya Amman University, Mutah University, and Al-Balqa Applied University, all ranked 71–80, followed by Philadelphia University and Applied Science Private University, both ranked 81–90.
Others in the top 150 were Al-Zaytoonah University and Middle East University Jordan, both in a band ranked 101 to 110; the University of Petra (121–130); and Al Hussein bin Talal University, Zarqa University, Amman Arab University and Al Albayt University, all ranked 131–150.
Isra University–Jordan and Tafila Technical University were ranked 151–170, and two new entrants, the World Islamic Sciences and Education University and Irbid National University, were in the 171–200 grouping.
U.A.E.: High Proportion of Top-Class Universities
The United Arab Emirates had the highest proportion of its universities in the top tiers. Ten of its 14 ranked universities (71%) placed in region’s top 50, five (36%) were in the top 20, and three (21%) were among the top 10.
The five institutions in the top 20 were the United Arab Emirates University, Khalifa University of Science and Technology, the American University of Sharjah, the University of Sharjah, and Zayed University.
After those, five more universities in the Emirates ranked among the region’s top 50. They were the Canadian University in Dubai (24th), Ajman University (27th), Al Ain University (28th), Abu Dhabi University (31st), and the American University in Dubai (33rd).
Other ranked universities in the Emirates, all in the top 100, were the American University of Ras Al-Khaimah (51–60); the British University in Dubai and the University of Dubai (61–70); and the American University in the Emirates (91–100).
Moreover, the U.A.E. is home to the Arab region’s two most prolific research institutions, with the British University in Dubai and Khalifa University of Science and Technology both scoring perfect 100s on the papers per faculty metric. This output is supported by exceptional numbers of faculty members with a Ph.D.
Omani University Leads in International Research
Sultan Qaboos University, placing eighth in the region, was Oman’s best ranked institution this year. It was also among the region’s top five for international research.
Other five ranked Omani institutions were the University of Nizwa (81–90); the National University of Science and Technology (101–110); Dhofar University and the German University of Technology in Oman (111–120); and Sohar University (121–130).
Other Gulf Universities
Bahrain had four ranked universities, three in the top 50. They were Applied Science University–Bahrain (19th), Ahlia University (41st), the University of Bahrain (45th) and the Arabian Gulf University (51–60).
Kuwait also had four ranked universities: the American University of the Middle East (26th), Kuwait University (30th), Gulf University for Science and Technology (47th), and the Arab Open University–Kuwait (148th).
More Arab African Universities
Five of Tunisia’s eight ranked universities made it to the top 100. They were the University of Tunis El Manar (46th); the University of Sfax (51–60); the University of Monastir and the University of Carthage (both ranked 71–80); and the University of Sousse (81–90).
The other Tunisian institutions ranked were the University of Tunis (131–150), and the University of Gabès and Manouba University (171–200).
Three out of eight ranked Moroccan universities were in the top 100: Mohammed V University of Rabat and Cadi Ayyad University (81–90) and the International University of Rabat (91–100).
Other Moroccan institutions ranked this year were the University of Sidi Mohamed ben Abdellah (111–120); Al Akhawayn University, Hassan II University of Casablanca, and Ibn Tofail University (all ranked 121–130); and Sultan Moulay Slimane University (171–200).
Algeria had 10 ranked universities, including three ranked in the 131–150 grouping: the University of Sciences and Technology–Houari Boumediene, the University of Science and Technology of Oran–Mohamed Boudiaf, and the University of Abou Bekr Belkaïd–Tlemcen.
Other Algerian institutions in this year’s ranking were Ferhat Abbas University Setif 1,Djillali Liabes University, the University of Bejaia, and the University of Badji Mokhtar–Annaba, all in a band ranked 151–170; and the University of M’Sila, the University of Oran, and the University of M’Hamed Bougara Boumerdes (171–200).
Three Libyan institutions were ranked: the University of Benghazi and the University of Tripoli, in the 151–170 band, and Sebha University (171–200).
Sudan had only two ranked universities: the University of Khartoum, in the 71–80 grouping, and Sudan University of Science and Technology (131–150).
Despite tensions and academic disruptions, three of Palestine’s ten ranked universities were in the top 100: An-Najah National University (51–60), Birzeit University (61–70), and Al-Quds University (71–80).
The other seven Palestinian institutions ranked were the Arab American University in Jenin, the Islamic University of Gaza, and Palestine Technical University–Kadoorie, all ranked 131–150; and Bethlehem University, Al-Azhar University of Gaza, Al-Aqsa University, and Palestine Polytechnic University, all ranked 171–200.
War-torn Syria’s oldest institution, Damascus University, was in the 121–130 grouping, while two Yemeni institutions were ranked: the University of Science and Technology, in Sana’a (151–170), and Thamar University (171–200).
Four Arab countries were not represented on QS’s list this year: Comoros, Djibouti, Mauritania and Somalia.
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Also see a topical archive or Al-Fanar Media’s previous reporting on university rankings.