Since 2010, Qassim University has been steadily accepting a larger number of non-Saudi scholarship students, studying at various academic levels – from the pre-university Arabic Language Institute to post-graduate studies. Because the university and the region of Qassim is not known to many outsiders, and perhaps many are hearing about it for the first time, I have decided to write a brief overview that can act as a guide for those interested in studying here.
The region is served by schools in every city and town for all three educational levels (primary, intermediate, and secondary), and includes various types of school (public, private, Qur’anic and international), with international and private schools mainly concentrated in the cities of Buraydah and ʿUnayzah. Although there are many private colleges in the region, there is only one university, Qassim University.
There are at least one or two general hospitals in every city of the region, in addition to the private health care sector, which has a stronger presence than the governmental one. Private hospitals are distributed everywhere in the cities of the region.
The People of Qassim
It is well known that the people of Qassim are some of the friendliest and most hospitable of Saudis. In general, the people of Qassim are known for being more religious and conservative, as it is well established that the most conservative part of Saudi Arabia has always been Qassim. One who lives in Qassim for some time will begin to notice that many of the vices that have plagued the larger cities of Saudi Arabia are not present, or are very minimal, in Qassim. This, along with a cleaner environment (minimized pollution), allows a student to spend his time focusing on his studies rather than being distracted.
- ʿAbdullah bin Sulayman al-Hamdan – former Minister of Finance and the very first minister in Saudi Arabia
- Muhammad al-Hamad al-Shubayli – former Minister of Labour and Social Affairs, and the former Ambassador of Saudi Arabia to Iraq, Pakistan, India, Afghanistan and Malaysia
- ʿAbdullah bin Salih al-ʿUbayd – former Minister of Education
- Ibrahim bin ʿAbdul-ʿAziz al-ʿAssaf – current Minister of Finance
- Salih bin ʿAbdullah bin Humayd – former chairman of the Shura Council
- Salih bin Muhammad al-Luhaydan – former chairman of the Supreme Judicial Council
- Muhammad bin ʿAbdullah al-Subayyil – former Imam of Masjid al-Haram
- ʿAbdul-Rahman bin ʿAbdul-ʿAziz al-Sudays – current Imam of Masjid al-Haram
- Muhammad bin Sulayman al-Muhaysini – famous Qari and businessman
- Salih bin ʿAbdul-ʿAziz al-Rajhi – billionaire and founder of Al Rajhi Bank
Historically, the region of Qassim is known to be a place that has produced many scholars in the various Islamic disciplines, whether it be in ʿAqidah, Tafsir, Hadith or Fiqh (of the Hanbali madh-hab). The reason for that is the religious and conservative nature of the people, along with a special attention paid by religious people for their children to study the Islamic disciplines. And so children start at a very young age by firstly memorizing the Qur’an along with short concise texts in each of the Islamic disciplines. This helps them to build a strong foundation before moving on to the more advanced levels. Furthermore, all of this is done under the supervision of a local shaykh in small groups or one-on-one. After that, they move on to studying more intermediary and advanced texts. Apart from this method of learning, which usually takes place in the local masjid, the students are enrolled in day time Islamic schools and institutes, such as al-Maʿhad al-ʿIlmi, where they study their primary, intermediate, and secondary schooling before heading to university where they specialize in a particular Islamic discipline.
- ʿAbdul-Rahman bin Nasir al-Saʿdi [d. 1367 A.H.]
- ʿAbdullah bin Muhammad al-Duwaysh [d. 1409 A.H.]
- Muhammad bin Salih al-ʿUthaymin [d. 1421 A.H.]
- Humud bin ʿAbdullah bin ʿUqla’ al-Shuʿaybi [d. 1422 A.H.]
- ʿAbdullah bin ʿAbdul-Rahman al-Bassam [d. 1423 A.H.]
- ʿAbdullah bin ʿAbdul-ʿAziz bin ʿAqil [d. 1432 A.H.]
- ʿAbdul-Rahman bin Nasir al-Barrak
- Salih bin Fawzan al-Fawzan
- ʿAbdul-Muhsin bin Hamad al-ʿAbbad
- ʿAbdullah bin Muhammad al-Ghunayman
- Muhammad bin Nasir al-Suhaybani
- ʿAbdul-Karim bin ʿAbdullah al-Khudayr
- ʿAbdul-Rahman bin ʿAbdullah al-ʿAjlan
- Yusuf bin Muhammad al-Ghafis
- Sulayman bin Nasir al-ʿUlwan
- Salman bin Fahad al-ʿAwdah
- Nasir bin Sulayman al-ʿUmar
- ʿAbdul-Rahman bin Salih al-Mahmud
- Khalid bin ʿAli al-Mushayqih
- Khalid bin ʿAbdullah al-Muslih
- Ahmad bin ʿAbdul-Rahman al-Qadhi
- ʿAbdullah bin Muhammad al-Tayyar
- ʿAbdullah bin Salih al-Fawzan
- Yusuf bin ʿAbdullah al-Shubayli
- Ibrahim bin ʿAbdullah al-Duwaysh
Qassim University was established in 2004 by merging the Qassim branches of King Saud University and Imam Muhammad ibn Saud Islamic University. Subsequently, its constituent colleges that were scattered throughout different cities of Qassim became a part of Qassim University. At present, the university encompasses 28 colleges for both male and female students in different cities across the region. The number of male and female students registered at the university during the academic year of 2010-2011 approached 50,000, and the number of faculty members and staff reached well over 4,000.
The main campus of Qassim University is located in the middle of the region just outside Buraydah. That is where the main administration and various deanships are located. It is also where the College of Shariʿah and Islamic Studies is situated, as well as the College of Arabic Language and the Arabic Language Institute.
In 2010, Qassim University started accepting non-Saudi scholarship students from abroad. Most of these students were from the Balkans (Bosnia, Kosova and Albania) and a few other countries such as the Philippines and some African countries. Ever since, the university has seen an increase in applicants from around the world. The majority of these students are non-Arabic speakers, and as such they are required to complete a two year Arabic program similar to that of other Saudi universities. After that, the students have the opportunity to enroll in the College of Shariʿah and Islamic Studies, or any other college of their choice (with exception to certain colleges, such as the College of Medicine), to complete a bachelors degree. The College of Shariʿah and Islamic Studies consists of four main departments: ʿAqidah, Tafsir, Hadith and Fiqh. A student can choose from one of these for his specialization. Upon successful completion of the bachelors program, a student has the option to continue on to post-graduate studies in one of the aforementioned disciplines.
As for female students, Qassim University has a College of Shariʿah and Islamic Studies for women which is located in the city of Buraydah. However, the college does not cater for non-Arabic speaking students and does not have an Arabic Language Institute like the one for male students. Hence, the university does not accept non-Saudi female applicants from abroad unless they already know Arabic and can enter the college directly, and are already living in Qassim with their husbands.
Once accepted, a student receives the same benefits that non-Saudi scholarship students receive in all other Saudi universities. That includes, but is not limited to:
- A student visa and residence permit
- A yearly round-trip plane ticket to the country the student came from
- A monthly stipend of 850 SR (900 SR for post-graduates students)
- Free accommodation (for single students only)
- Free basic medical care
- Discounted meals
The first way is by sending one’s documents to the university by postal mail. Hence, there is no online application process like there is for other Saudi universities, such as the Islamic University of Madinah. However, in recent years, the university has given very little consideration to applications that come to them via mail, as they don’t have any first hand knowledge of the applicants, and are thus reluctant to consider them for admission.
The other way to apply is by sitting for an interview that the university conducts when it visits certain countries. The university gives preference to those who they meet and conduct an interview with, especially if the applicant is known by the local teachers and scholars. The only problem is that there is no official way of finding out when and where the university will go to conduct these interviews. As for coming to the university itself for an interview, like people do for the Islamic University of Madinah, it is not possible if you come on an ʿUmrah or Hajj visa, as the Saudi authorities do not permit such visa holders from traveling outside Makkah, Madinah and Jeddah.
Finally, there is no official application form that the university provides for applicants. Interested applicants should simply send the following list of documents (translated into Arabic) to the postal address below:
- Cover letter addressed to the Deputy Dean of Student Affairs (Dr. Abdullah Abdul-Aziz al-Tuwayjiri), stating the applicant’s desire to study at the university, and written in either Arabic or English
- Complete postal address of applicant, along with phone number and email address
- At least two tazkiyahs (letters of recommendation) from known Islamic centers in applicant’s country
- Copy of high school diploma
- Copy of academic transcript
- Copy of birth certificate
- Copy of valid passport
Dr. Abdullah Abdul-Aziz al-Tuwayjiri د. عبد الله بن عبد العزيز التويجري
Vice Dean of Student Affairs وكيل شؤون الطلاب
Qassim University جامعة القصيم
P.O. Box 6620, Buraydah 51452 ص. ب. ٦٦٢٠ – بريدة ٥١٤٥٢
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia المملكة العربية السعودية
There is no official deadline for applying to the university. Whoever wishes to apply can send their documents at any time of the year.
Once the documents have been sent, there is no practical way of following up on one’s application with the university. One should just be patient and continue on with life until the university contacts them through the contact information they provided with their documents. Also, there is no official acceptance list that the university posts of accepted applicants like other Saudi universities.
As for those wishing to apply for post-graduate studies, the procedure is completely different than what I have mentioned above. Post-graduate applicants should visit the website of the Deanship of Graduate Studies for more information: www.gsd.qu.edu.sa
Official site of Qassim University: www.qu.edu.sa/en
Buraydah, Saudi Arabia
7th of Safar 1434
Last Updated on 16th of Shaʿban 1437 (23rd of May 2016)