The Higher Education System

King Fahd University of Petroleum & Minerals (KFUPM) is one of the 21 Saudi Universities that, beside the Council of Higher Education, the Ministry of Higher Education, as well as several specialized colleges and institutions, consist the main component of the higher education system in Saudi Arabia. KFUPM and the other Saudi Universities are supervised by the Ministry of Higher Education, and regulated by The Council of Higher Education.

The Council of Higher Education

KFUPM, same as other Saudi Universities, has a board chaired by the Minister of Higher Education while the rector serves as the deputy chairman. Membership of the Board includes the Secretary General of the Council of Higher Education, the vice rectors, the deans, and three external members appointed by the Minister of Higher Education. This Board is responsible for all university operations, it grants degrees to students, approves programs and curricula of existing departments, and makes recommendations to the Council of Higher Education in other matters.

The Rector of the University is the chief academic and executive officer of the University. He is responsible for administering its affairs in accordance with the Law, the Charter of the Council of Higher Education and the Universities, government edicts, and decisions of the Council of Higher Education and the University Board. He also represents the University in contacts with outside organizations.

The University Board

The Rector is assisted by four Vice Rectors (Vice Rector for academic affairs, Vice Rector for Graduate Studies and Scientific Research, Vice Rector for Applied Research, and Vice Rector for Technology Development and Industrial Relations), four general supervisors (Supervisor for Financial and Administrative Affairs, Supervisor for Technical Affairs, Supervisor for Information and Communication Technology, and Supervisor for Dhahran Techno-Valley) and several advisory standing committees.

The Vice Rectors (appointed for renewable three-year terms) are assisted by Deans, Directors of the Centers in the Research Institute, Academic Department Chairs, the Director of the Information Technology Center (ITC), Director Generals and Directors of the administrative units. The Deans and Academic Department Chairs are appointed for renewable two-year terms. Director Generals and Directors of the administrative units are appointed for indefinite terms.

The University is financed principally by Saudi Arabian government grants, but also receives donations from oil companies, grants and awards from foundations, and other support. Eventually, the University will obtain a portion of its income from student tuition, but at the present time no charges are levied for full-time instruction, or accommodation.

The University’s regular and adjunct faculty is multi-national. Instruction is in English and the resources of the technical library are predominantly, though not exclusively, printed in English. Teaching methods, curricula, administration, and organization of the University are largely designed in accordance with reputable international standards, which have been adapted to Saudi Arabian needs.

The academic organization of the University includes the Preparatory Year Program, seven undergraduate academic colleges, and the Deanship of Graduate Studies. The Preparatory Year Program is designed as a bridge between the level a student attains upon graduating from the secondary schools of the Kingdom and the academic and language requirements of each of the six undergraduate academic colleges. Although the great majority of students admitted to the University begin their studies in the Preparatory Year Program, a small number of high achievers may, upon passing a qualifying examination, enter the college of their choice directly.

The seven undergraduate colleges are the College of Applied Engineering, offering degrees in Applied Chemical, Applied Civil, Applied Electrical, and Applied Mechanical Engineering; the College of Engineering Sciences, offering degrees in Chemical, Civil, Electrical, Mechanical, and Petroleum Engineering; the College of Sciences, offering degrees in Chemistry, Industrial Chemistry, Geology, Geophysics, Mathematics, Physics, and Statistics; the College of Environmental Design, offering degrees in Architecture, Architectural Engineering, and City Planning; the College of Industrial Management, offering degrees in Accounting, Finance, Information Systems, Marketing, and Operations Management; the College of Computer Sciences & Engineering, offering degrees in Computer Science, Computer Engineering, and Systems Engineering; and the College of General Studies that offers services courses in Islamic and Arabic Studies, English and General Studies.

The Deanship of Graduate studies awards Master of Science (M.S.) degrees in 24 major fields, namely:​

Architectural, Chemical, Civil, Computer Science, Computer Networks, Electrical, Mechanical, Petroleum, Telecommunication, and Systems Engineering, as well as in Chemistry, Computer Science, City & Regional Planning, Construction Engineering & Management, Geology, Geophysics, Mathematics, Physics, and Medical Physics.

The Deanship of Graduate Studies also awards Master of Engineering (M.Engg) in Civil Engineering, Master of Engineering (M.Engg) in Construction Engineering & Management, Master of Accountancy (M.Acc.), Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.), Executive Master of Business Administration (Executive M.B.A.), Master of Geology, and Master of Geophysics.

Doctoral programs are offered in nine specializations, namely: Chemical, Civil, Electrical, Mechanical, Petroleum, and Systems Engineering, and Computer Science & Engineering, as well as in Chemistry, and Mathematical Sciences.