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King Saud University remains the Islamic world’s leading university on the Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU), commonly known as the Shanghai ranking.

The annual ranking, published in mid-August, listed KSU ahead of powerful contenders such as King Fahd University of Petroleum & Minerals (KFUPM), and the universities of Istanbul, Teheran, Cairo and Malaya in Malaysia.

In this latest ARWU, KSU placed among the best 300 universities in the world, at No. 261, a standing never achieved by any Arab university. The Kingdom’s largest university was listed among the top 500 in 2009 and last year was elevated to 391. KFUPM was elevated into the top 500, listed at 480, and Cairo University – one of the first Arab universities to earn top 500 status returned to the rankings after a four-year absence.

The ARWU is considered to be one of the three most influential and widely observed international university rankings, along with the QS World University Rankings and the Times Higher Education World University Rankings. Its consistent and objective methodology is held in high regard compared with other rankings.

KSU’s achievement validates the school’s prominence in other rankings of universities in the Arab and Islamic worlds. KSU earlier had achieved prominence among Arab and Islamic universities in the Spanish Webometrics and British QS Times rankings.Academically ascending position of King Saud University year by year

This also confirms KSU’s prominence internationally. The Spanish Webometrics results announced in July also showed KSU’s progress, earning a ranking of 186th, highest among all Arab and Islamic universities, while KFUPM rose to No. 302.

KSU is No. 221 and KFUPM is No. 255 in the British QS Times ranking.

Table of the Arab and Islamic universities that have been included in the top 500 world universities on the Shanghai Ranking:

No. University Country World Ranking Islamic Ranking
1. King Saud University Saudi Arabia 201-300 First
2. King Fahd University of Petroleum & Minerals (KFUPM) Saudi Arabia 301-400 Second
3. Istanbul University Turkey 301-400
4. Teheran University Iran 301-400
5. Malaya University Malaysia 401-500 Third
6. Cairo University Egypt 401-500

The Shanghai ranking of world universities, compiled by the Shanghai Jiaotong University aims at assess the gap in standards between Chinese and world universities. It was first published in 2003 and quickly received acceptance and esteem and is among the most respected university rankings in the world because it uses scientific methods in its assessment. This ranking is announced annually on Aug. 15.

ARWU's Criteria for this ranking include:

1. Quality of education: This is measured by the number of alumni of an institution winning awards such as a Nobel Prize. This criterion is rated as 10 percent of the score.

2. Quality of faculty: This is measured by the number of staff of an institution winning outstanding awards such as a Nobel Prize. This criterion is rated as 20 percent of the score.

3. Volume of staff-produced research: This is measured by the number of articles published in refereed scientific journals in natural sciences, and research cited in science and social sciences indexes. This criterion is rated as 20 percent of the score.

4. High citations of the institution’s research. This is measured by the number of times this research is quoted by other researchers. This criterion is rated as 20 percent of the score.

5. Amount of the institution’s research indexed in scientific references. This criterion is rated as 20 percent of the score.

6. Per capita performance. This refers to the performance of an institution as related to its size. This criterion is rated as 10 percent of the score.

This ranking recognize all institutions whose members have won a Nobel Prize or a Fields Medal, as well as institutions whose researchers have been extensively cited or have had their research published in journals such as Science or Nature.

In addition, major institutions in each country are recognized if their research has been included in the Science Citation Index Expanded or in the Social Science Citation Index.

The ARWU reviews more than 2,000 universities worldwide for its top 500 ranking.

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