The capital and most populous city in Saudi Arabia, Riyadh is one of the richest cities in the world, demonstrating the country’s highly developed infrastructure with its modern skyscrapers and highways. With its intriguing combinations old and new, Riyadh could be a fascinating city to spend your student days, remaining conservative and upholding traditional Islamic values while simultaneously experiencing significant change due to economic prosperity and innovation.
While there’s much to adapt to, there’s also plenty in Riyadh to make you feel comfortable. The city boasts a number of fine hotels and restaurants, almost all residents speak English, and there’s lots to explore. Interesting sites of historical significance include the Murabba Palace, Masmak fort and (just outside the city) the historic town of Diriyah – the original home of the Saudi royal family, in which the At-Turaif District is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Others may be impressed by the city’s vast contemporary architecture, such as the impressive Kingdom Center, a 41-storey skyscraper boasting a range of famous shopping brands, the Four Seasons Hotel Riyadh, and fantastic views of the city from its Sky Bridge.
Students will doubtless be interested to know that tuition in Saudi Arabia is usually free, with a mix of both English- and Arabic-taught programs.
Riyadh is also home to the world’s largest women-only university – Princess Nora bint Abdul Rahman University. Two of the city’s universities appear in the QS World University Rankings® 2016-2017, with King Saud University featured in the top 250.
Internationally ranked universities in Riyadh
More about Riyadh
Number of universities ranked by QS
Top ranked institution
King Saud University (ranked 227th in the world)
Average international fees (at ranked unis)
Employer Activity rank
Student Experience rank
To find out how each of the above categories is calculated, view the methodology.