King Saʿud University

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The oldest and largest university in Saudi Arabia.

Established in 1957 as the University of Riyadh and renamed in 1982, King Saʿud University has about 31,000 students, one-fourth of the country's total. In addition, it has some 2,700 instructors working in thirteen colleges, most on the large and modern Riyadh campus and others on smaller campuses in al-Qasim and Abha. The language of instruction for most subjects is Arabic, except for engineering and medicine, which are taught in English. During the 19611962 academic year, women were permitted to enroll as external students (taking correspondence courses from their homes) in the colleges of arts and administrative sciences for the first time. On-campus instruction became available to them beginning with the 19751976 academic year. As in other areas of Saudi society, women in higher education were given separate facilities and unequal access to areas of study. In the 1990s the university offered majors in sixty-one subjects and doctoral programs in Arabic, geography, and history.


Al Salloom, Hamad I. Education in Saudi Arabia, 2d edition. Beltsville, MD: Amana Publications, 1995.

Metz, Helen Chapin, ed. Saudi Arabia: A Country Study, 5th edition. Washington, DC: Library of Congress, 1993.

anthony b. toth