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ARWU LogoKing Saud University is among three Saudi universities prominently featured in the 2012 Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU), released on August 15. According to ARWU’s annual assessment of the world’s best 500 universities, KSU ranks among the top 300 and maintains its 2011 status as the premier university among Arab and Islamic nations.

The ARWU, also known as the Shanghai Ranking, has been compiled by the Center for World-Class Universities of Shanghai Jiao Tong University (CWCU) since 2003. Initially created to measure the global standing of Chinese universities, it is now considered among the world’s most trusted international university ranking thanks to its scientific methodology and strong commitment to objectivity.

King Fahd University for Petroleum and Minerals (KFUPM) remains among the top 400 international universities, an honor now shared by Saudi Arabia's King Abdulaziz University (KAU).

The presence of three Saudi universities on the Shanghai Ranking is an unprecedented achievement for any Arab or Islamic nation, and illustrates the Kingdom's strong commitment to elevating the quality and international status of its institutions of higher education and scientific research.

Indeed, Saudi universities have achieved remarkable progress regarding the ARWU in the past four years. Not only was KSU the sole Saudi representative among the top 500 international universities in 2009, it was the only Arab university to make the list. In 2010, KSU was ranked No. 391, while KFUPM entered the top 500 at No. 480. Last year, KSU broke into the list of top 300 international universities, placing No. 261, while KFUPM moved up into the top 400.

This year, the presence of three Saudi universities on this prestigious list is an unprecedented achievement for the Kingdom.

Four other Islamic universities are included on this year’s ARWU:

  • Cairo University placed among the top 500 universities;
  • Teheran University placed among the top 400 universities;
  • Istanbul University and Malaya University in Malaysia placed among the top 500 universities;

ARWU criteria include:

  • Quality of Education: Based on the number of alumni having won awards such as the Nobel Prize. This criterion carries a weight of 10%.
  • Quality of Faculty-Staff winning Nobel Prizes and Fields Medals (pure mathematics): Assessed by the number of staff of an institution winning outstanding awards such as the Nobel Prize. This criterion carries a weight of 20%.
  • Quality of Faculty - "ISI Highly Cited" Researchers: Based on a university’s highly-cited researchers in broad subject categories that include natural sciences and mathematics (SCI), engineering/technology and computer Sciences (ENG), life and agriculture sciences (LIFE), clinical medicine and pharmacy (MED) and social sciences (SOC).
  • Articles published in Refereed Journals: Assessed by the number of articles published in top scientific journals such as Nature and Science. This criterion carries a weight of 20%.
  • Articles in Science Citation Index - expanded and Social Science Citation Index: Assessed by the number of times this research is quoted by other researchers. This criterion carries a weight of 20%.
  • Size of Institution: This refers to the performance of an institution as related to its size. This criterion carries a weight of 10%.

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