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QS Rankings on Sustainability for 2024 Include 72 Arab Universities

Seventy-three universities across 14 Arab countries are included in the QS World University Rankings on Sustainability for 2024, nearly 4.5 times as many as last year. 

The classification, published by the British higher-education analytics company QS Quacquarelli Symonds, evaluates how universities are taking action to tackle the world’s most pressing environmental and social issues. This year’s edition, the second after a pilot edition last fall, features 1,397 institutions across 95 countries and territories, nearly double the 700 universities ranked last year.

The University of Toronto claimed the top spot in the 2024 QS Rankings on Sustainability, followed by the University of California, Berkeley, in second place and the University of Manchester in third.

QS uses metrics in three categories—environmental impact, social impact, and governance—designed to help students gauge institutions’ commitment to a more-sustainable existence.

Each category contains multiple sub-indicators, or “performance lenses”. The environmental impact category, worth 45 percent of an institution’s overall score, aggregates three sub-indicators: environmental sustainability, environmental education, and environmental research.

The social impact category, also worth 45 percent of an institution’s score, aggregates five sub-indicators: equality, knowledge exchange, impact of education, employability and opportunities, and health and well-being.

The governance category aggregates 10 factors related to good governance, including ethics culture, open-access publishing, transparent financial reporting, and having staff positions dedicated to sustainable development. For more information on each performance lens, see QS’s methodology description.

For the second year, the United States dominated the rankings, with 209 ranked universities, including one in the world’s top 10. The United Kingdom was the second-most featured country, with 93 ranked institutions, including two in the top 10. China was in third place, with 90 universities ranked, though none were among the top 100.

72 Universities in the Arab Region

In the Arab region, Egypt was the most represented country, with 18 ranked universities, followed by Saudi Arabia with 17. 

The American University of Beirut was the top-ranked Arab institution this year, placing 152nd, which put it in the top 11 percent of all 1,397 universities ranked. Last year, it was 140th out of 700, or just inside the top 20 percent.

The next four highest-ranked universities in the Arab region this year were:

  • Qatar University (195th overall, second in the region),
  • the United Arab Emirates’ Khalifa University of Science and Technology (264th overall, third in the region),
  • Saudi Arabia’s King Abdulaziz University (276th overall, fourth in the region), and
  • Oman’s Sultan Qaboos University (286th overall, fifth in the region).

Rounding out the top 10 were:

  • Cairo University (330th overall, sixth in the region),
  • Egypt’s Mansoura University (364th overall, seventh in the region),
  • The University of Jordan (372nd overall, eighth in the region),
  • the United Arab Emirates University (394th overall, ninth in the region), and
  • Saudi Arabia’s King Saud University (422nd overall, tenth in the region). 

The 10 next-highest ranked universities in the Arab region were:

  • Jordan University of Science & Technology (497th overall, 11th in the region),
  • Saudi Arabia’s King Fahd University of Petroleum & Minerals (537th overall, 12th in the region),
  • the Lebanese American University (552nd overall, 13th in the region),
  • Saudi Arabia’s Imam Abdulrahman Bin Faisal University (557th overall, 14th in the region),
  • Kuwait University (570th overall, 15th in the region),
  • the American University of Sharjah (576th overall, 16th in the region),
  • Tunisia’s Université de Tunis El Manar (579th overall, 17th in the region),
  • the American University in Cairo (609th overall, 18th in the region),
  • the University of Sharjah (637th overall, 19th in the region), and
  • Egypt’s Ain Shams University in Cairo (695th overall, 20th in the region). 

Ben Sowter, QS senior vice president, commented on the growing importance of higher education in the Arab region, especially in wealthy countries that are seeking to shift from oil-based to knowledge-based economies.

Noting that the United Nations’ COP28 climate-change conference is currently underway in Dubai, Sowter said: “The Arab region, and the Gulf countries in particular, remain at the epicentre of global environmental discourse. As many countries in the region look to transition from economic reliance on fossil fuels and assert themselves as innovators in the future of energy and industry, its higher-education sector becomes ever more pivotal in the continued development of the region.”

Egypt

Egypt is the most represented Arab nation in this year’s ranking, with 18 ranked universities, including four in the region’s top 20 (Cairo University, Mansoura University, the American University in Cairo, and Ain Shams University in Cairo).

Seven other Egyptian universities made it to the top 1,000 globally. They were Suez Canal University (in a group ranked 721 to 730), Alexandria University and Benha University (both ranked 761–770), Assiut University and Zagazig University (821–840), Beni Suef University (841–860), and Tanta University (921–940). 

Other Egyptian universities ranked in the top 1,200 were Aswan University and Port Said University (1,001–1,050), South Valley University (1,051–1,100), Fayoum University (1,101–1,150), and the Arab Academy for Science, Technology, and Maritime Transport and Helwan University (1,151–1,200). Kafrelsheikh University was in a large group ranked 1,201+.

Egypt’s top-placed institution, Cairo University (330th), was also the region’s top performer In “knowledge exchange”, a subcategory of QS’s social impact measure. Cairo University placed 106th in knowledge exchange, followed closely by Saudi Arabia’s King Abdulaziz University (110th) and Université de Tunis El Manar (142nd).

Saudi Arabia: 2nd Most Represented 

Saudi Arabia came second in the Arab region with 17 ranked institutions, including four universities in the Arab region’s top 20 (King Abdulaziz University, King Saud University, King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals, and Imam Abdulrahman bin Faisal University).

Six other Saudi institutions made it to the top 1,000 globally. They were: Qassim University (701–710), King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (841–860), Prince Sultan University (901–920), and Princess Nourah bint Abdulrahman University, Taif University, and Umm Al-Qura University, all in the band ranked 921–940).

Other Saudi universities in the ranking were King Khalid University (1,001–1,050), the University of Hail (1,151–1,200), and five institutions in the group ranked 1,201+: King Faisal University, Taibah University, Majmaah University, Prince Mohammad bin Fahd University, and Prince Sattam bin Abdulaziz University.

“The Arab region, and the Gulf countries in particular, remain at the epicentre of global environmental discourse.” As the region seeks to shift from oil-based to knowledge-based economies, “its higher-education sector becomes ever more pivotal in the continued development of the region.”

Ben Sowter, QS senior vice president

Saudi Arabia also led the region in the “employability and opportunities” indicator, which assesses career prospects and graduate opportunities. Four of the region’s five top performing universities in this indicator are Saudi Arabian. King Abdulaziz University took the highest rank, in 123rd place. King Saud University and King Fahd University of Petroleum & Minerals tied for 225th place on this indicator, Qatar University was in 230th place, and King Abdullah University of Science & Technology was in 331st place. 

Jordan

With 10 ranked universities, Jordan is the third most represented Arab nation.

Apart from Jordan’s two universities in the region’s top 20 (the University of Jordan and Jordan University of Science and Technology), two other Jordanian universities made it to the top 1,000 globally: Yarmouk University (741–750) and Al Balqa University of Technology (771–780).

Other Jordanian universities ranked this year were the Hashemite University (1,001–1,050), JApplied Science Private University (1,101–1,150), Al-Ahliyya Amman University and Mutah University, both in the group ranked 1,151–1,200, and the German Jordanian University and Princess Sumaya University for Technology, both ranked 1,201+.

Jordanian universities also took the Arab region’s top places in the “environmental sustainability” subcategory. This metric quantifies an institution’s commitment to, and implementation of, its sustainability and climate strategies. The University of Jordan was the region’s highest-ranked institution in this metric, and the only one to place in the world’s top 100. Three other highly ranked Jordanian universities in this category were Al-Balqa Applied University, the Hashemite University, and Applied Science Private University. 

Lebanon, Iraq, and Palestine

Lebanon had four universities in the classification, including two in the region’s top 20 (the American University of Beirut and the Lebanese American University). Its other ranked universities were the Lebanese University (801–820) and Saint Joseph University of Beirut (1,201+).

The American University of Beirut was also the Arab region’s top-ranked university in “environmental education” subcategory, placing 17th globally, the region’s strongest position in any QS metric.

Iraq had two ranked universities, the University of Baghdad (921–940) and the University of Babylon (1,201+), while Palestine had one ranked institution, East Jerusalem’s Al-Quds University (941–960). 

United Arab Emirates and the Gulf

The United Arab Emirates came fourth in the Arab region, with nine ranked universities, including four in the the region’s top 20 (Khalifa University of Science and Technology, the United Arab Emirates University, the American University of Sharjah, and the University of Sharjah).

Two other Emirati universities made it to the top 1,000 globally: Al Ain University (821–840) and Zayed University (941–960). Abu Dhabi University and the Canadian University Dubai were in the group ranked 1,151–1,200, while Ajman University was in the group ranked 1,201+.

Khalifa University was the regional leader on the “health and well-being” indicator, which assesses relevant research and quality of life for students and staff, placing 201st. Khalifa University’s strength in this indicator is highlighted by its Healthcare Engineering Innovation Center, aimed at healthcare innovation in the Emirates and the Arab region, with a particular focus on cardiovascular disease.

Oman’s only ranked institution, Sultan Qaboos University, placed 286th globally.

Qatar’s two ranked universities were Qatar University (second in the Arab region and 195th overall) and Hamad Bin Khalifa University, in the group ranked 981–1,000. 

Bahrain had two ranked universities: Ahlia University (1,001–1,050) and Applied Science University–Bahrain (1,101–1,150). 

Apart from Kuwait University (15th in the region and 570th overall), Kuwait had one other ranked institution, the American University of the Middle East (901–920). 

More Arab African Universities

After Université de Tunis El Manar (17th in the region, 579th overall), Tunisia had one other ranked university, the University of Sfax (731–740).

Morocco also had two ranked universities: Mohammed V University in Rabat (941–960) and Ibn Tofail University (1,201+).

Nine Arab countries were not represented on QS’s list this year: Algeria, Comoros, Djibouti, Libya, Mauritania, Sudan, Somalia, Syria, and Yemen.

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