How to Study in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

How to Study in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

If you’re going to study in Riyadh, Then you should be aware of these following points:

The Education System in Riyadh

The education system of Saudi Arabia has gone through a drastic transformation in the last decade. There are over fifty public and private universities with a large number of colleges and educational institutes are available for all citizens, provide free education to the Saudi nationals along with free of cost books and health services. 

Although Islamic studies are the main courses of the country’s education system, there are quality academic studies in diverse fields of arts and science, which aims to ensure the preparation of citizens for their future work and life in the global economy.

Saudi Arabia’s education system is administered by the government based organizations including; The ministry of Education, the Ministry of Higher Education, and the General Organization for Technical and Vocational Training. The availability of education is t the entire population including the foreign citizens, whereas for Saudi nationals there is no cost of education required.

Foreign Students in Riyadh

Although Saudi Arabia is a popular destination for international students, the living style of foreign students is restricted with the cultural norms of the country. The country is rich in history and archeology, and the cost of living is moderate in which students can live a comfortable lifestyle but within the restricted norms. 

International students are generally accepted into the leading universities of the country, the restrictions are likely to vary among lesser-known universities, female students are permitted to take admission in fewer universities or women-only educational institutions. 

The city’s innovation is also one of the reasons, students find it an amazing place to live. With its modern architecture and technology, there are various green parks, temporary structures, sparkling skyscrapers, and a large number of shopping malls that inspire foreigners. 

Universities in Saudi Arabia

There has been a dramatic improvement in Saudia Arabia’s educational system by the rapidly increasing numbers of students enrolling in universities, which is an estimated over 1 million students both male and female.

Saudi students also have the opportunity to pursue their higher education from abroad, which is supported by the government scholarships, every year thousands of Saudi students enrolled in universities abroad. The largest university King Abdulaziz University is located in Jeddah enrolled over 70,000 students. 

Imam Mohammad ibn Saud University is located in the capital of Saudi Arabia, Riyadh. It has multiple international branches located in Japan, Djibouti, Indonesia, Mauritania, and UAE where along with Islamic law, Arabic literature departments, history there are several programs in the fields of art and science. 

As in several world countries, Saudi Arabia also provides numerous institutions teaching international education to Saudi nationals as well as international students. 

Cycles of Higher Education

The higher education degree programs are divided into three cycles along with nondegree courses such as; diplomas and vocational programs in multiple fields of technology and skilled course lines are taught in several vocational and private education institutes. 

The First cycle of University

The first stage of four years is a Bachelor’s Degree program. During this period, there are multiple options of specialized degrees such as; Humanitarian, Business Administration, Natural science, etc.

The Second Cycle of University  

After the completion of a Bachelor’s Degree, students go for a Masters’s Degree which can be continued in the same field or also can be switched to specific options offered for the Master’s Degree program. It lasts for one and a half year or two years, in Masters Degree program students acquire in-depth knowledge and professional training.

The Third Cycle of University 

Master graduates are eligible for the doctoral stage after their post-graduation, which lasts for two or three years. After their successful completion, they achieve a doctoral degree; Ph.D.

Diploma Studies

A diploma is a nondegree program in specific skills or career lines. It is mostly offered by private institutes and some of the universities in Saudi Arabia.

Academic Year

The academic year in educational institutions is mainly semi-annual semester-based, generally, the Fall semester starts in September or Spring semester in January. Students can also take courses offered in the summer semester. 

Saudi Student Visa Process

There is a strict restriction for tourists and foreign students, therefore the requirements of student visa are as follows;

  • By a recognized Saudi university the name of a confirmed place on a degree program;
  • Original birth certificate;
  • Health proving medical certificate signed by a licensed doctor;
  • Proof of payment of all relevant visa fees;
  • A police report if any criminal history;
  • Approval for travel from the native country’s government.

On a student visa, individuals are not allowed to work within the country, while they are studying. 

Foreign Students Accommodation in Riyadh

Students generally rent an apartment or flats, university dorms, studio, or rent a room, it depends on the budget. It’s quite easy to find an affordable place to live in. However, International students mostly go for dormitories, that are located within the university region and are fully furnished. 

Another alternative for students is to live in a student residential compound, where female students are likely to live in only female residences while male students are restricted in only male residences.

Alex Edward

Alex Edward is a senior editor of, also he is a freelance content marketer and content writer. A well-known guy, who loves travelling around the world. He started to write a book about how to make trip memorable

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