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Masters in Saudi Arabia – All you need to know

Saudi Arabia is officially known as the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and has one of the best higher education systems in the Middle East. This is one of the reasons there are so many influxes of international students in the country in the past one decade. The country is blessed with a beautiful combination of modern architecture, ancient sites and the coast of the Red Sea. This has kept a lot of people in this country, even after studies. Who does not like beautiful things?

Study in Saudi Arabia

There are quite a number of reasons you should give it a shot to study in this colorful country. Some of them are listed below:

  • Saudi Arabia has a great interest in education: education is one of the sectors that are given adequate attention in Saudi Arabia. More than 20% of the annual budget is invested in this sector for the development, improvement, and maintenance of high standard education. This has led to the establishment of over 25 public universities and 65 private colleges.
  • Modern technologies: the infrastructure and facilities made available for studying and living are top-notch. The universities have state-of-the-art resources and facilities used in the classrooms and labs for teaching and research.
  • Funding is made available to international students: there are abounding scholarships offered to students from all over the world who wish to study in Saudi Arabia. The scholarship applications are embedded in the university application process. These cover tuition and living expenses.
  • Saudi Arabia is an economic powerhouse: this country houses the major oils produced in the world and this has transformed it into small heaven within the past few decades. It also ranks as one of the top 20 leading economies of the world. With this, there are found in the country, amazing edifices, beautiful infrastructure, stable economy, and colorful tourist centres for tourists from anywhere in the world.

More importantly, Saudi Arabia has a different culture and system of values. There is also the issue of gender differences as females do not study in the same university as the males. They also do not live on the same campuses.

In this regard, you might encounter many limitations in terms of extra-curricular activities like concerts and theatre plays. The few you can encounter may take place at school premises.

Available Areas of Study in Saudi Arabia

  • Business and Business Management: this includes finance and banking, global and international management, mathematics, supply chain management, construction engineering and management, engineering and systems management, applied statistics, and so on.
  • Computer Science and IT: computer engineering, software engineering, computer science, security and information assurance, computer networks and others.
  • Engineering and Technology: bioscience, computer engineering, electrical engineering, architectural engineering, aerospace engineering, software engineering, civil engineering, radiological and imaging science, sustainable energy and more.
  • Natural Sciences and Mathematics: Bioscience, mathematics, analytical biochemistry, chemistry, medical physics, biotechnology, life sciences, genetic counseling, molecular and cell biology, applied statistics, among others.
  • Medicine and Health: medical physics, public health, infection control, clinical embryology and reproductive biology, health management, biomedical sciences, and so on.

Best Universities in Saudi Arabia

The following universities are some of the top-ranked universities in Saudi Arabia:

  • King Abdulaziz University
  • King Saud University
  • King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals
  • Jazan University
  • King Khalid University
  • Umm Al-Qura University
  • King Faisal University
  • Qassim University
  • King Abdullah University of Science and Technology
  • Imam Abdulrahman Bin Faisal University

Note that each university has its own admission system and you can access this on their website. You are required to submit the following documents during your university application:

  • A scan of your bachelor’s degree or high school result
  • A transcript or record of your previous courses
  • A scan of your passport or birth certificate. In some cases, both are required
  • Testing scores
  • Evidence of your scholarship or funding
  • 2 or 3 recommendation letters
  • Writing samples

How to Apply for Masters in Saudi Arabia

If you have made up your mind to study in Saudi Arabia, it will be important that you gather the right documents as proof that you can meet the requirements of your university of choice. You will be required to provide complete personal information, previous qualifications, financial information and a personal statement.

The following documents are necessary for you to provide if you applied for a master’s in Saudi Arabia:

  • Birth certificate
  • Recent photos
  • Passport or national identity card
  • Reference letters from past employers or professors (could be one or more)
  • Copies of previous certificates or diplomas, especially your bachelor’s degree certificate
  • Academic transcript
  • Letter of intent
  • Curriculum vitae
  • Financial proof that you can support yourself while studying in Saudi Arabia
  • For some programmes, you might be asked to provide scores for additional tests like GRE, GMAT, or LSAT. You can find out if your programme requires any of them.

Check with the university you are applying to for the list of documents they need because everything boils down to the requirements of the university. In some cases, you might be required to provide additional documents. You might also likely to be asked to provide the official English translation of your documents or translations in the local language.

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Proof of English Skills

You must present a language certificate if you are to study for your master’s degree in Saudi Arabia. This is because you are to study for an international degree in English language. Most of the courses are offered in English language, the reason you must present proof of English language. Either IELTS, TOEFL, or C1 advanced language certificates might be required of you. Furthermore, the minimum language score is set by your university and the test score should not exceed two years. However, you can take an English preparation course if you did not meet the minimum language requirement.

Application Deadlines

The deadlines for applying for masters in Saudi Arabia vary. However, they are usually during summer (June – July) or in winter (January – February). It is worthy of note that some universities have no application deadlines and this means you can apply at any time, probably when you are ready. It will be great if you can send your application as early as possible to avoid your missing out on your opportunity.

Tuition and Living Expenses in Saudi Arabia

In Saudi Arabia, tuition expenses are relatively cheap as well as expensive. What this means is that in public schools, tuition can be free and can also be as high as over €22 000 per annum.

In some schools, tuition can be calculated based on the number of credit hours, just the same way the American university system operates. Also, some universities give full scholarships that cover tuition to international students. Some even include monthly stipends! You might be lucky if you give it a try, you know?

Students who are admitted to the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology are offered a fellowship that covers tuition, accommodation, medical and dental expenses. This is up to a whopping sum of $30 000 per annum.

In addition, private universities are far more expensive in Saudi Arabia. So, it is left for you to make your choice based on your pocket.

For living expenses, accommodation could be on the campus or in a private residence. Nevertheless, you should budget between €650 and €1 000 per month. It covers accommodation, meals, transportation, groceries, utilities, and more.

Medical Insurance

It is necessary for every international student to have medical insurance. If you do not have any health insurance covered by your home country, then, it is compulsory that you have one while studying in Saudi Arabia.

Working after Graduation in Saudi Arabia

For international students, finding a job after graduation may take quite some time you. This does not mean that there is no job in Saudi Arabia, but most of the readily available jobs are found in positions of manual labor. However, students who studied in specialty areas might find jobs in banking and finance, healthcare, teaching, construction, telecommunications, IT, or the oil sectors.

The salary is also very impressive. The average salary to be expected at the end of the month is €750. This is one of the highest among the five Gulf Cooperation Council states.

If you must remain in Saudi Arabia after graduation for employment purposes, you must first find a job. It is the duty of your employer to provide you with a work permit.

Visa Requirements

Students who are citizens of Gulf Cooperation Council nations do not require a visa to study in Saudi Arabia. Every other international student is mandated to have a visa.

To apply for a Saudi Arabian visa, prospective students must provide the following:

  • Recent police report
  • Medical report certifying the student free from any contagious diseases
  • Birth certificate
  • Marriage certificate (for married applicants)

Your visa could be applied at the Saudi Arabian embassy in your home country. Be careful of the expiry date as Saudi Arabia does not use the Western solar calendar, but the lunar calendar.

More Information

Saudi Arabia is yet to fully buy into the cashless society. Therefore, credit cards are not so rampant and acceptable in places other than large hotels and malls. However, there are a lot of ATMs to help ease your financial burden.

Also, taxis are the best means of transportation in cities.

It might interest you to know that the Saudi National Day is September 23, when the country celebrates the day the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia was founded. In conclusion, studying master’s in Saudi Arabia is one of the best decisions you can take this year. One of the good sides of it is that your certificate will be recognized by every employer as a world-class certificate – in essence, you will become a hot cake in the labor market. There is every possibility of your being considered for any job you applied for. That aside, the country is filled with amazing surprises that you may be the saddest by the mere thought of leaving the country someday.

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