Saudi Arabia’s King Abdulaziz University has been rated at the top university in the Gulf, according to The Times Higher Education Asia University Rankings for 2012.
The Jeddah institution, which was founded in 1967 and is home to around 42,000 students, was ranked 49th in Asia overall. The university specialises in scientific undergraduate and post graduated programmes.
The next academic institution to feature in the list was King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals, also in Saudi Arabia, which came in at 62nd best in Asia. This was followed by King Saud University at 77th and the United Arab Emirates University in Al Ain at 86.
“It is an exciting time for higher education in Saudi Arabia, and this prestigious list shows that the country’s institutions are firmly established among the best in the Asian continent and are very close to the highest world standards,” commented Phil Baty, editor, Times Higher Education Rankings.
“The signs are encouraging: investment in higher education in the region and the political drive to ensure that the country is at the forefront of new knowledge are promising signs.”
Baty added, however, that the UAE “had much work to do... if it is to reach not just regional standards, but global ones too”.
Turkey dominated the higher places when it came to the broader region, with Middle East Technical University in Ankara hitting top spot with a rank of 22nd in Asia. Bilkent University and Koc University were at 28th and 31st, respectively.
“Turkey is firmly established as a research powerhouse in the Middle East, and the Asia rankings show its strong position across the continent as a whole,” said Baty.
“According to our rankings data partner Thomson Reuters, Turkey produces about half of all research in the Middle Eastern region, with particular strengths in medicine.
Iran’s Sharif University of Technology was 42nd, while Tehran University of Medical Sciences was 62nd. In 87th place was American University of Beirut in Lebanon.
The Times Higher Education Rankings is the world’s largest academic reputation survey, with 2012’s study featuring nearly 17,000 academics.
The report analysed 50m citations, while also taking into account factors including number PhDs awarded, staff-to-student ratios, scholarly papers and research income.
On a global basis, the index rated the world’s top university as the California Institute of Technology, followed by Oxford University, Stanford University and Harvard University.