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Umm al-Qura University

Umm Al-Qura University may also refer to a calendar (Umm Al-Qura Calendar) of Saudi Arabia or the city of Mecca (Makkah Al-Mukarramah.) See Islamic calendar and Mecca.
Umm Al-Qura University
جامعة أم القرى
Jāmiʿat ʾUmm Al-Qurā
Established 1981
Type Public
Budget SR 3.5 billion (US$ ~900 million)
Rector Dr. Bakri Matooq Al-Assass
Academic staff 3,000+
Undergraduates 61,000+
Postgraduates 5,000+
Location Mecca, Mecca Province, Saudi Arabia
Campus Abidiyyah (Mecca), Aziziyah (Mecca), Al-Zahir (Mecca), Al-Lith, Al-Qundufah, Jamoom
Website Website

Umm Al-Qura University (UQU) (Arabic: جامعة أم القرىJāmiʿat ʾUmmi l-Qurā) is a public university in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. It is considered one of the most prestigious universities in the entire Islamic world due to its contributions in various fields over many decades as well as due to its unique location in Mecca. The university was established as the College of Sharia (Islamic Law) in 1949 before being joined by new colleges and renamed Umm Al-Qura by royal decree in 1981.[1]

UQU started primarily as an Islamic university offering degrees in Islamic Law and Arabic language studies. It now offers many more course, in subjects such as Technology Management, Business Management, Islamic Economics, Marketing, Engineering, Technology, Medicine, Education, Architecture, as well various Applied, Social and Engineering Sciences. Indeed, UQU is regarded to be among the top four universities in Saudi Arabia, along with King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals, King Abdulaziz University, King Saud University, etc.


  • History 1
  • Academics 2
  • Colleges 3
  • Famous Alumni 4
  • Accreditation 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7


In 1949 King Abdulaziz Al Saud established the College of Sharia (Islamic Law) in Mecca, making it the first higher education institution in the country. It constituted the kernel of Umm Al-Qura University and its most prominent college. It was followed by the establishment of the Teachers' College in 1952. This continued until 1959 when the College of Shari'a took the responsibility of teachers' preparation and became the College of Shari'a and Education. In 1962 the College of Education was established as an independent college.

In 1971 the Colleges of Shari'a and Education became part of King Abdul Aziz University in Jeddah and constituted its branch in Mecca. However, The University of Umm Al-Qura was established in 1981 by the royal decree number 39 in 1981 and the colleges of Shari'a and Education were detached from King Abdul Aziz University and joined by new departments to form the new university.

It has student exchange programs with Purdue University, Tufts University, and King's College London.[2]


The medium of instruction in most UQU academic programs is English, with exceptions like College of Sharia, College of Arabic Languages, College of Islamic Economics and Finance, as courses on Islamic studies and Arabic language are taught in Arabic. University offers degrees of Bachelor of Science, Master of Science, and Doctor of Philosophy. The grading system is the standard 0 to 4.0 scale with classes of:

Grade Numeric Grade Letter Grade GPA
Exceptional 95% or above A+ 4.00
Excellent 90-94% A 3.75
Superior 85-89% B+ 3.50
Very Good 80-84% B 3.00
Above Average 75-79% C+ 2.50
Good 70-74% C 2.00
High-Pass 65-69% D+ 1.50
Pass 60-64% D 1.00
Fail below 60% F 0.0


  • College of Da’wa and Usul-ud-Din
The College of Da'wa and Usul-ud-Dinwas established on 21/12/1401A.H. by the Royal Decree No. 27278/32/3.[3] This college is considered as an extension of the two ancient colleges; College of Shari`ah and Islamic Studies and College of Education. It was renamed into "the College of Da'wa and Usul-ud-Din". At the beginning, the college had only one department, which had been inaugurated at the college of Shari'ah and Islamic Studies in 1395-1396 A.H. in its 14th session held on 26/8/1402 A.H, it approved the inauguration of the following departments:[4]

- The Department of Aqeedah (Creed); - The Department of Media (later moved to the College of Social Sciences); - The Department of Qera'at (various readings of the Qur'an).

By the beginning of the academic year 1402/1403 A.H, the College started to offer courses and it included four departments for both male and female students; except the Department of Media. However, by the academic year 1404/1405 A.H, the Department of the Qur'an and Sunna was inaugurated by virtue of resolution No. 30/4/16/6827/1, issued on 22 Rajab, 1404 A.H, according to the resolution of university's high council during its second session dated 25 Jumada II, 1404, which required moving the Department of the Qur'an and Sunna from the College of Shari`ah (Islamic Law) to the College of Da'wa and Usul-ud-Din (Call to Islam and Religion's Fundamentals).

The College has four departments:[5] Department of Da'wa and Usul-ud-Din; Department of Kitab and Sunna; Department of Aqidah (Creed); Department of Qera'at (various readings of the Qur'an). It is worth mentioning that the postgraduate studies in the specializations of the college started since it was supervised by the College of Shari`ah and Islamic Studies, before their separation is effected. In 1420 A.H, the deputy deanship of the College of Da'wa and Usul-ud-Din for postgraduate studies was established as it started to supervise the postgraduate studies in the college.[6]

  • College of Arabic Language
The Department of Arabic was established in 1962 as an independent department at the College of Education before it was joined to the College of Shari'a in 1965. Graduate Studies were introduced to the department in 1973 and the College of Arabic Language was created by a royal decree in 1981.
The College includes the following departments:
1. Department of Arabic Language and Grammar.
2. Department of Rhetoric and Criticism.
3. Department of Literature.
4. Department of the Languages of Islamic Societies.
5. Department of Graduate Studies.
The College offers the Bachelors, Masters, and Ph.D. Degrees in all the above-mentioned disciplines, except for the Department of the Languages of Islamic Societies which offers the Bachelors degree only.[7]
  • College of Business (CoB)
The Umm Al-Qura College of Business was established in 2009 under the inspiring leadership of Prof. Dr. Mohammad Fawwaz Rajallah Al-Omiri. The CoB is currently led by a visionary administrator and professor, Dr. Sultan Al-Bogami. The vision of the College of Business (CoB) is to be recognized as an institution of excellence in Business education and research both regionally and globally. Consistent with the stated University mission, the mission of the CoB is to graduate leading and inspiring business professionals, who can act as leaders of technology-enabled change and innovation as well as ethically, socially, and environmentally responsible agents in organizations. Through knowledge discovery, dissemination, and application, we want to advance the design, management, operations, and interaction of business, financial, technological, and social systems.
The CoB has five departments offering high quality and cutting-edge teaching and learning in various business and management programs. The forward-looking intent of the CoB is evident from the fact that in September 2014 the CoB started offering the undergraduate Business Technology Management program, which is considered to be the only such undergraduate program in the whole Middle East and North Africa as well as among the very few in the whole world.
The CoB aspires to be accredited by AACSB (The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business) and it has been officially declared Eligible for Accreditation by AACSB.[8] The CoB is an academic member of AACSB International, which is a membership association of educational institutions, business, not-for-profit, and government organizations devoted to the advancement of higher education in business. The CoB also boasts the only Center for Teaching Excellence in the whole university striving for achieving even higher excellence in teaching, advising, and mentoring of the college students. These efforts towards achieving AACSB accreditation as well as continuous improvement in teaching excellence, among others, are coordinated by Prof. Dr. Abdul-Rahim Ahmad, who has numerous academic and research awards and grants related to teaching, research, and academic service.
Faculty members at the CoB are involved in leading-edge research in such diverse areas as Strategic Management, Optimization, Operations Research, Supply Chain Management, Technology Management, Sustainability, Decision Modeling, Accounting and Finance, Marketing Management, Economics, Mathematical Modeling, Pedagogy, etc. The research is disseminated through publications in international journals and presentations at world-renowned conferences, workshop, and symposiums. The CoB faculty members are working on various industry- and government-funded research projects worth millions of dollars (the research funding is provided from such eminent institutions as National Science, Technology, and Innovation Plan (NSTIP), King Abdulaziz City of Science and Technology (KACST), UQU Institute of Consulting Research and Studies (ICRS), Design And Analysis Inc. (DNA), etc.
  • College of Education (in Makkah)
The College of Education as part of King Abdulaziz University from Rajab 1390 to Rajab 1401 AH: As of Rajab 1390, the College of Education became a university college when it was merged into King Abdulaziz University. During that period, academic departments were established successively and the college eventually comprised the following departments:[9]
§ Department of Islamic Education, § Department of Curricula and Teaching Methods, § Department of Psychology, § Department of Art Education, § Department of Physical Education (Sports), § Department of Nursery Education, § The Training Courses Center, § Department of Educational Administration and Planning
The College of Education as part of Umm Al-Qura University from Rajab 1401 AH to date: Since its inception in Rajab 1401 AH, Umm Al-Qura University has been vigorous and well established. It started with two old colleges; the College of Education and its elder sister, the College of Shari`ah. Henceforth, new colleges were established, some of which took over departments from the College of Education as follows:

1- The departments of chemistry, biology, physics, and mathematics were transferred from the College of Education to the College of Applied and Engineering Sciences, which was established in 1402/1403 AH. 2- The departments of geography and English language were transferred to the College of Social Sciences, which was established in 1404/1405 AH.[10]

  • College of Applied Sciences
The College of Applied Sciences, the first scientific college at Umm Al-Qura University, was established in 1990 and includes four departments (Physics, Mathematics, Chemistry and Biology). The college departments award Bachelor's and Master's degrees and also the departments of Chemistry and Biology award the Ph.D. degree. The College of Applied Sciences has taken concrete steps to enhance its scientific programs and lab as well as research facilities. It now has over 60 laboratories as well as an interactive training center that is concerned with giving students the opportunity to train at governmental sectors and private sector establishments.[11]
  • College of Social Sciences
The College of Social Sciences, comprising departments of Humanities within Umm Al-Qura University, was established in 1404 A.H. as part of the development process of the University, some departments and centers of the College of Education were separated from the college and became the kernel of the College of Social Sciences; namely Departments of Geography and English Language and Center of English Language.[12] The new College soon began to grow as the University Council approved establishing new departments and centers, reflecting the constant process of dynamic development in Umm Al-Qura University. New departments included the Department of Information Science (previously known as Department of Libraries and Information Science), Department of Social Work and Department of Islamic Media. The College has an elite teaching staff of highly qualified and experienced professors.
So far, the number of departments has become six listed below as:[13]

Department of Geography; Department of English Language; Department of Social Work; Department of Information Science; Department of Islamic Media; and Center of English Language.

  • College of Engineering and Islamic Architecture
The Academic Departments of the College of Engineering and Islamic Architecture are as follows:[14]

1. Department of Islamic Architecture. 2. Department of Electrical Engineering. 3. Department of Mechanical Engineering. 4. Department of Civil Engineering. 5. Department of Computer Engineering.

Degree offered:

Graduates of these departments are offered the bachelors degree. All academic programs offered by the College are ABET Accredited.[15][16] Bachelors Degree Requirements: The Bachelors degree normally takes five years of full-time study (ten semesters), and each department requires successful fulfilment of a certain number of credit hours as follows: 1- Department of Mechanical Engineering: (165) credit hours. 2- Department of Civil Engineering: (165) credit hours. 3- Department of Electronic Engineering: (160) credit hours. 4- Department of Islamic Architecture: (169) credit hours.

  • Faculty of Dentistry
Led by Dr. Mohammad Beyari, College of Dentistry is one of the latest faculties in UQU. It was founded in 2007 by the decree no. 13/47/1428 dated 27/8/1428 hijri as a gate for knowledge and science in dentistry and pioneers in scientific research and centre of modern medical education based on educational outputs that creates an encouraging academic environment for both students and faculty to innovate and excel and to have a role in sponsoring the community in Mecca and serve pilgrims. The inspiring faculty worked hard since the inception of the College and developed innovative and forward-looking curricula applying modern education and evaluation methods used worldwide. The College has collaborated with the best universities.[17]
  • College of Medicine
The College of Medicine at Umm Al-Qura University, established in 1995 as the first medical college in Mecca, aims at participating in medical education and research so as to contribute to the health welfare of the Saudi society and the pilgrims, as well as the world medical scientific progress.[18]
The vision of the College is to become a Leading College in the Middle East in the Fields of Medical Education, Research and Healthcare By 2017. The College strives to graduate highest calibre physicians to satisfy market aspirations, and highly capable researchers and specialists required for distinguished scientific research in medical basic and clinical fields. The College also works on developing creative solutions to health problems faced by the Nation and humanity, and on providing advanced curative and preventive health services to the local Community.[19]
  • College of Computer and Information Systems
The College of Computer and Information Systems was established in the year 2006. Its establishment came in wake of rapid scientific developments and accelerated technologies in the fields of computer engineering and sciences as well as information systems, which became the main impetus for the economic and social development and the keystone for job opportunities in developed countries and raising the living of human beings. As such developments have become a mainstay of national comprehensive defence and security, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has executed ambitious plans and programs for comprehensive development over three decades. The most remarkable features of such plans are the development of human resources, supplying main provisions, offering developed services and establishing a broad basis of national industries. The sector of science and technology has achieved a leading progress that provided the Kingdom with the necessary means and potentialities to cope with the aspired scientific and technological advancement. Depending primarily on computers with their software and hardware, information systems have become a mainstay of economic, educational, social and media development. Therefore, the development plans, particularly the seventh one as well as the general objectives and strategic policies of the eighth development plan, have tended to focus on using such technologies and making them among the key strategies of the country. They are meant for supporting the course of comprehensive development helping the Kingdom cope with the massive world development in this field. Among the main tendencies and objectives of Umm Al-Qura University, as a Saudi university, is the application of such technologies and placing them among its policies designed for qualifying efficient cadres that would play a part in meeting the needs of their country's development plans. The Kingdom aims at widening the basis of higher education in the fields of computer and information technologies and seeks to fulfil the needs of labour market in its governmental and private sectors. Such market has only very few numbers of specialized national cadres. Therefore, Umm Al-Qura University established departments for computer science, computer engineering, and computer information systems.[20]
1. Department of Computer Engineering
2. Department of Computer Sciences
3. Department of Information Systems
  • College of Pharmacy
The College of Pharmacy was established in the year 2006. During session 39 of the Supreme Council of Higher Education (SCHE), held on 5\10\1426 AH, a royal decree was issued to establish the College of Pharmacy to join the medical colleges (College of Medicine and Faculty of Applied Medical Sciences) at Umm Al-Qura University.[21]
  • College of Applied medical Science
In 1983 A.D., the Universities Supreme Council approved in its first session dated 20.05.1403 A.H., the establishment of the Medical Sciences Department, to be affiliate to the College of Applied Sciences, Umm Al-Qura University, Makkah Al-Mukarramah. The first class was admitted in 1985, consisting of 20 students and the Department became the seed of the College of Medicine and Medical Sciences. In 1986, the late King Fahd Ibn Abdul Aziz, laid down the cornerstone of the new campus of Umm Al-Qura University in Abidiyyah and issued directives to adopt necessary preparations and steps for the establishment of a college for medicine and medical sciences as well as a university hospital for the college students' education and training. In 1995, the resolution of the Universities Higher Council on the conversion of "Medical Sciences Department" to the "College of Medicine and Medical Sciences." The first class of female students was admitted to the College of Medicine and Medical Sciences in 1998. In 2005, the separation between the Medical Sciences Department and the College of Medicine was approved that the Department became an independent college nominated, "College of Medical Applied Sciences" to encompass eight academic specialities:[22]
Laboratory Medicine Program;
Community Health Sciences Program (Clinical nutrition - Environment health);
Physiotherapy and Rehabilitation Program;
Nursing Program;
Health Management Program;
Dentistry and Mouth Health Program;
Radiography Program; and
Clinical Techniques Program.
  • College of Isamlic Economics and Finance
  • College of Community Service and Continuing Education
  • Institute of Scientific Research and Revival of Islamic Heritage
  • Institute of Arabic Language for Non-Native Speakers
  • College of Shari`ah and Islamic Studies
  • College of Education for Girls at Al-Qunfudah
  • College of Teacher Preparation in Al-Qunfudah
  • College of Teacher Preparation in Makkah
  • College of Education for Girls in Al Leith
  • College of Education for Girls - Literature Sections
  • College of Education for Girls - Domestic Economy
  • College of Education for the Preparation of Female Teachers

Famous Alumni


All programs in all the engineering-related colleges were evaluated for "Substantial-Equivalency" recognition by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET).[24] They were found substantially equivalent to similar accredited programs in the USA and elsewhere. In May 2014, all Business and Management degree programs offered by the College of Business (CoB) are formally declared Eligible for Accreditation by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB).[25] In addition to these global accreditations, all UQU academic programs are formally declared Eligible for Accreditation by the National Commission for Academic Accreditation and Assessment (NCAAA) of Saudi Arabia. These programs are in advanced stages of getting full accreditation by NCAAA. [26]


  1. ^
  2. ^ Ursula Lindsay, 'Saudi Arabia Reaches Out to Foreign Colleges at Conference', in The Chronicle of Higher Education, 21 April 2011 [1]
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  23. ^ Biography of Dr. Abdul Aziz al-Harbi on the official website of the Arabic Language Academy. 7 February 2012. Accessed 29 January 2013.
  24. ^ [2]
  25. ^ "Schools with Business Memberships – ordered by country/region, state, name". AACSB. Retrieved 1 April 2014. 
  26. ^ "National Commission for Academic Accreditation and Assessment". 

External links

  • Umm Al-Qura's Official website

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