Study in Saudi Arabia for International Students in 2024

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The Government of Saudi Arabia’s global education initiative, Vision 2030, aims to promote diversity and innovation within the country’s educational system. The objective of this initiative is to provide opportunities to study in Saudi Arabia for international students. 

Under this initiative, 25 universities across Saudi Arabia will encourage international students to study in Saudi Arabia. In the last year, over 100,000 international students enrolled in Saudi universities, with India being one of the top source countries.

By attracting international students from around the world, Saudi Arabia seeks to create a global academic community that reflects cross-cultural understanding and facilitates the exchange of ideas. 

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Key Highlights

TopicImportant Points
Global InitiativePromoting diversity and innovation in education, aligned with Vision 2030.
Study BenefitsFull/partial tuition fees accommodation up to INR 960,000 per year
List of Saudi Arabia UniversitiesKing Abdulaziz UniversityKing Fahd UniversityKing Saud University
Scholarship OptionsFull/partial tuition fees accommodation up to INR 960,000 per year
Living CostsOn-campus housing: INR 200,000 – INR 400,000 per year monthly expenses: INR 40,000 – INR 64,000
EmploymentThe graduate employment rate is around 92% 1,000,000 new jobs by 2025

Why Take Admission in Saudi Arabia Universities?

Study in Saudi Arabia for International Students in 2024

There are great opportunities to Study in Saudi Arabia for international students. Students immerse themselves in a rich cultural heritage while pursuing their academic aspirations. Here are some compelling reasons why Saudi Arabia is an excellent choice for international students.

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Study in Saudi Arabia for International Students in 2024

International Connections and Cultural Knowledge

Saudi Arabia is a melting pot of cultures, with students from numerous countries studying and collaborating within its academic institutions. By choosing to study in Saudi Arabia, you’ll have the chance to make lasting connections with peers from diverse backgrounds, broadening your perspectives and gaining invaluable cultural knowledge.

English-taught Programmes in Diverse Fields

While Arabic is the official language of Saudi Arabia, many universities offer programmes taught entirely in English, catering to the needs of international students. 

From engineering and business to medicine and computer science, you’ll find a wide range of courses and degree programmes available in English, allowing you to get admission in Saudi Arabia universities without language barriers.

Financial Incentives and Scholarships to Study In Saudi Arabia for International Students

Saudi Arabia’s commitment to attracting international talent is reflected in the various scholarships and financial incentives available to students from around the world. 

Scholarships such as the King Abdullah University Scholarship, the King Fahd University Scholarship and the Saudi Cultural Bureau Scholarship not only cover tuition fees but also provide additional benefits such as accommodation, health insurance, and, in some cases, even travel allowances, making the cost of studying in Saudi Arabia comparatively affordable.

Affordable Cost of Education to Study In Saudi Arabia for International Students

Particularly for bachelor’s degree programmes, the cost of studying in Saudi Arabia is relatively low compared to many other popular study destinations. The cost of studying in Saudi Arabia is relatively low compared to popular destinations like the US (INR 2,300,000 per year), the UK (INR 1,500,000 per year), and Australia (INR 1,700,000 per year). The average annual cost for international students in Saudi, including tuition and living, ranges from INR 1,200,000 – INR 2,000,000.

This affordability, coupled with the availability of scholarships, makes Saudi Arabia an attractive option for international students seeking high-quality education without the burden of excessive financial strain. 

List of Saudi Arabia Universities

Saudi Arabia is home to several world-renowned universities and academic institutions that consistently rank high in global rankings. While King Abdulaziz University is known for its vibrant campus life with over 200 student clubs/societies, King Fahd University emphasises industry collaborations and hands-on learning. 

University and QS World Ranking 2024Popular Courses OfferedAvg Annual Tuition Fees
King Abdulaziz University (Rank: 143)Engineering, Medicine, Business, Computer ScienceINR 600,000-INR 1,000,000
King Fahd University of Petroleum & Minerals (Rank: 180)Petroleum Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Chemical EngineeringINR 900,000
King Saud University(Rank: 203)Medicine, Dentistry, Engineering, Humanities, Social SciencesINR 700,000INR 1,200,000

Eligibility Criteria for Undergraduate and Graduate Courses

While specific requirements may vary across universities and programs, some common eligibility criteria for undergraduate (bachelor’s) admissions in Saudi Arabian universities include the following.

  • Completion of higher secondary education (10+2) or equivalent
  • Minimum percentage/grades in final exams (usually 60-80%)
  • Entrance exam scores like SAT, ACT or national exam equivalents (minimum scores: SAT: 1400, ACT: 32)
  • English language proficiency test scores for IELTS (minimum 6.5), TOEFL (minimum 550 for Paper-Based Test), etc.
  • Academic transcripts and recommendation letters

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For graduate (masters & PhD) program admissions, typical requirements are as follows.

  • Undergraduate degree from an accredited university
  • Minimum CGPA/percentage criteria (usually 3.0/4.0 or 70-80%)
  • Research proposal and statement of purpose
  • Academic references and relevant work experience (for some courses)

Top 3 Scholarships to Study in Saudi Arabia for International Students

Saudi Arabia offers a range of scholarships and financial aid options to study in Saudi Arabia for International Students. Here is a list of Saudi Arabia universities offering scholarships for international students.

ScholarshipAnnual AccommodationOther Benefits
King Abdullah University ScholarshipUp to INR 800,000Tuition, Health Insurance
King Fahd University ScholarshipUp to INR 640,000Tuition Fees
Saudi Cultural Bureau ScholarshipINR 400,000 – INR 960,000Tuition (Full/Partial), Travel Allowance (Up to INR 160,000)
Please Note: Eligibility criteria and availability may vary yearly. Check with institutions for updates.

Application Process for Admission in Saudi Arabia Universities  for International Students

Study in Saudi Arabia for International Students in 2024

To apply for admission in Saudi Arabia Universities as an international student, you’ll need to follow a comprehensive application process and meet certain requirements. Here’s an overview of what you can expect.

Document Translation

Many Saudi universities require official documents, such as academic transcripts and certificates, to be translated into Arabic. It is essential to ensure that your documents are properly translated and certified by authorised translation services.

Admission Requirements to Study In Saudi Arabia for International Students

Each university and programme will have its own set of admission requirements, but generally, you’ll need to provide the following.

Additional Requirements for Female Students

In some cases, female international students may need to provide additional documentation or approvals, such as a guardian’s consent or a no-objection certificate, depending on the university’s policies and regulations.

Programme Options to Study in Saudi Arabia for International Students

Saudi universities welcome applications for bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral (PhD) programmes across various disciplines, allowing international students to pursue their desired level of education.

It’s crucial to carefully review the specific admission requirements and application deadlines for your chosen university and programme, as these may vary.

Visa Procedures for Studying in Saudi Arabia

Once you’ve been accepted into a Saudi university, the next step is to obtain a student visa. The visa application process involves several requirements and procedures.

Student Visa Requirements to Study in Saudi Arabia for International Students

To apply for a student visa, you’ll typically need to provide the following documents.

  • Admission confirmation from a Saudi university
  • Valid passport with a minimum validity of six months, with 2 blank pages for official use that are facing each other
  • 3 copies of a recent medical report, issued within the last 3 months by a licensed physician, bearing the doctor’s licence number and address, complete with lab results that prove the applicant is disease-free
  • Proof of financial stability (bank statements, sponsor letters, etc.)
  • Relevant academic and personal documents, such as a high school diploma, plus 1 copy. Please note that diplomas must be certified by the Saudi Arabian Cultural Mission
  • A recent police report, issued at least 6 months before applying for the Saudi Student visa, that details the applicant’s criminal record or lack thereof
  • 3 recent colour photos against a white background, 2×2 inches in dimension, natural facial expressions, 80% of the face visible, no eyeglasses, no headwear, except for religious reasons

Detailed Visa Application Guide to Study in Saudi Arabia for International Students

The Saudi Arabian embassy or consulate in your home country will provide a detailed visa application guide outlining the specific requirements, procedures, and necessary supporting documents. It is essential to follow these guidelines carefully to ensure a smooth visa application process.

  • Secure admission from a Saudi university
  • Obtain a visa application form from the Saudi embassy/consulate
  • Submit required documents (admission letter, passport, photos, etc.)
  • Pay the visa fee (INR 6,800 for Indian students)
  • Undergo medical examination and fingerprinting
  • Wait for visa processing (typically 4-6 weeks)
  • Collect your visa once approved

The visa requirements and processes may vary based on your nationality, so it’s crucial to check the guidelines provided by the Saudi embassy/consulate in your home country.

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Living in Saudi Arabia as an International Student

Once you’ve secured your admission and student visa, it’s time to prepare for your life as an international student in Saudi Arabia. Here’s what you can expect.

Living Expenses Required to Study In Saudi Arabia 

Many universities in Saudi Arabia offer on-campus housing options for international students, providing a convenient and inclusive living environment. 

On-campus housing costs for international students typically range from INR 200,000 to INR400,000 per year, depending on the university and accommodation type. 

The estimated monthly living expenses in Saudi Arabia, including food, transportation, and utilities, can range from INR 40,000 to INR 64,000.

Student Life and Social Engagement

While your academic commitments will be a top priority, Saudi universities offer various opportunities for social engagement and extracurricular activities. 

Student clubs, organisations, and cultural events provide platforms for you to connect with fellow students, explore your interests, and immerse yourself in the local culture.

Health Insurance and Healthcare Facilities

To study in Saudi Arabia as an international student, you’ll likely be required to have comprehensive health insurance coverage.

Most Saudi universities require international students to have health insurance coverage of at least INR 320,000 per year for basic medical expenses. Some scholarship programs, such as the King Fahd University Scholarship, may provide higher coverage, up to INR 640,000 annually. 

When to Study in Saudi Arabia for International Students

The best time to start studies in Saudi Arabia is September/October for the fall semester and January/February for the spring semester. Some factors include the following.

  • Weather: Cooler months from Sept-April are more comfortable
  • Academic Calendar: Most follow semester system – Fall (Sept-Dec), Spring (Jan-May)
  • Visa Processing: Apply 3-4 months prior for student visa
  • Housing: Secure on/off-campus housing well in advance

University academic calendars and intake dates may vary slightly. It’s advisable to refer to official university websites for accurate intake timelines.

Post-Graduation Opportunities in Saudi Arabia

Studying in Saudi Arabia can open doors to a wealth of professional opportunities, both during and after your studies. Here’s what you can expect.

Working While Studying

Depending on your programme and the university’s regulations, you may have the opportunity to work part-time or participate in internships while pursuing your studies. 

These opportunities not only provide valuable work experience but also offer a chance to earn additional income to support your living expenses.

International students in Saudi Arabia can expect an average part-time wage of INR 2700 per hour for on-campus jobs or internships, depending on the role and number of working hours.

Employment Prospects After Graduation

Saudi Arabia offers lucrative employment opportunities for fresh graduates across various industries. The average entry-level salaries tend to be higher compared to many other countries. Here are some typical salary ranges for different job roles:

Job RoleAverage Salary (INR per month)
Software EngineerINR 250,000
Management ConsultantINR 440,000
Finance AnalystINR 260,000
Mechanical EngineerINR 185,000
Marketing ExecutiveINR 290,000
NurseINR 130,000
School TeacherINR 180,000

With the country’s focus on developing sectors such as technology, renewable energy, tourism, and healthcare, there is a high demand for skilled professionals in these fields. Graduates with relevant qualifications can expect competitive salary packages.

The Saudi government aims to create over 1,000,000 new jobs in the private sector by 2025 through its Vision 2030 initiatives.

It’s important to note that employment regulations and opportunities may vary depending on your field of study, nationality, and other factors. 

Conclusion

From renowned universities to attractive scholarship programmes and promising post-graduation prospects, Saudi Arabia has much to offer international students seeking a transformative academic experience. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  • Q. Can international students work in Saudi Arabia while studying?

    A. The ability to work while studying in Saudi Arabia depends on the university’s regulations and the specific programme you’re enrolled in. Some universities may allow international students to work part-time or participate in internships, while others may have stricter policies. It’s essential to check with your university’s international student office for the latest regulations and guidelines.

  • Q. Is it mandatory to know Arabic to study in Saudi Arabia for international students?

    A. While Arabic is the official language of Saudi Arabia, many universities offer programmes taught entirely in English, catering to international students.  However, having basic Arabic language skills can be beneficial for daily life and cultural integration. Some universities may also require international students to take Arabic language courses as part of their curriculum.

  • Q. Are there any age restrictions to study in Saudi Arabia for international students?

    A. Generally, there are no specific age restrictions for international students in Saudi Arabia. However, some universities or programmes may have age requirements or preferences, particularly for certain professional or graduate-level programmes. It’s advisable to check with your chosen university for any age-related guidelines or regulations.

  • Q. Can international students bring their families to Saudi Arabia?

    A. International students in Saudi Arabia may be allowed to bring their families (spouse and children) with them, subject to meeting specific requirements and obtaining the necessary visas. However, the regulations and processes can vary depending on the university and the student’s nationality.

  • Q. Are there any dress codes or cultural considerations to study in Saudi Arabia for international students?

    A. Saudi Arabia has a conservative culture, and international students are expected to respect local customs and traditions. This may include adhering to dress codes, particularly for female students, and being mindful of cultural norms and behaviours in public spaces. Universities typically provide guidance and orientation programmes to help international students understand these cultural considerations.

  • Q. Are there any scholarships specifically for students from India?

    A. Yes, there are several scholarship opportunities specifically for Indian students interested in studying in Saudi Arabia such as the Saudi Arabian Cultural Bureau Scholarships, King Abdullah University Scholarship and King Fahd University Scholarship. It’s important to note that eligibility criteria and application deadlines may vary for each scholarship program. Interested Indian students should check with the Saudi Arabian Cultural Bureau in India or the respective universities for the most up-to-date information and application guidance.

  • Q. What is the duration of a typical bachelor’s degree program in Saudi Arabia?

    A. The duration of a typical bachelor’s degree program in Saudi Arabia can vary depending on the specific field of study. However, most programs generally follow these timelines.

    -Bachelor of Arts (BA) and Bachelor of Science (BS) programs: 4 years
    -Engineering programs (ex: Civil, Mechanical, Electrical): 5 years
    -Architecture programs: 5 years
    -Medicine (MBBS) and Dental programs: 6 years
    -Pharmacy programs: 5 years
    -Law programs: 4-5 years

    Some universities may have slightly different structures, with certain programs being a semester or year longer or shorter. 

  • Q. Can I transfer credits from my previous university to a Saudi university?

    A. Credit transfer policies vary among universities in Saudi Arabia. Some institutions may accept transfer credits from recognized universities, while others may have stricter requirements. It’s advisable to check with your chosen university regarding their credit transfer policies and procedures.

  • Q. Are there any restrictions on certain programs or fields of study in Saudi Arabia for international students?

    A. While Saudi universities offer a wide range of programs to international students, there may be some restrictions or limitations on certain fields of study, particularly those related to sensitive or strategic sectors. For instance, programs related to military studies or specific engineering disciplines may have additional requirements or restrictions for international students. It’s recommended to check with the university or relevant authorities regarding any potential restrictions or limitations on your desired field of study.

  • Q. How is the quality of student housing and facilities for international students?

    A. Saudi universities place a strong emphasis on providing high-quality student housing and facilities for international students. Many campuses offer modern, well-equipped accommodations with amenities such as air conditioning, internet access, laundry facilities, and sports facilities. However, the quality and availability of housing may vary among universities, so it’s best to research and compare options before making a decision.

  • Q. Are there any gender segregation rules on university campuses?

    A. Saudi Arabia has strict gender segregation policies in many public spaces, including some university campuses. While co-educational institutions do exist, particularly in major cities, certain facilities or classrooms may be segregated based on gender. It’s advisable to check with your chosen university regarding their specific policies and guidelines related to gender segregation on campus.

  • Q. Can international students drive in Saudi Arabia?

    A. International students in Saudi Arabia are generally not permitted to drive unless they have a valid Saudi Arabian driver’s licence. Obtaining a local licence can be a lengthy and complex process, involving several requirements such as taking driving lessons, passing theoretical and practical exams, and providing proof of residency. Most universities recommend using public transportation or university-provided shuttle services for commuting.

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Saket Kohli

An International Higher Ed professional with 7+ years of experience studying, working, and living across three geographies, currently on a mission to share his journey as an International Student.

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