How Expats Can Take Admission in MBBS in Saudi Arabia

In the past decades Medical education has been one of the main reasons expat families in KSA are forced to relocate their children after their school education to their home countries particularly India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. However this trend is geared towards change as world class medical colleges in KSA’s top cities open their doors to foreign students.

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Top Medical Colleges for expat students in KSA
Eventually, in response to the need for medical schools that cater to a larger section of the population, several private medical colleges have been established in KSA which are open to foreign students wishing to study MBBS.
Among these the most popular are:
1. Al Faisal University, Riyadh
2. Global Medical College, Riyadh
3. Al Maarefa Colleges, Riyadh
4. Batterjee Medical college, Jeddah
5. Ibn Sina College for Medical Studies, Jeddah

Eligibility Criteria 

IMG-20160301-WA0013Normally most Medical Colleges offer admission for foreign students who have completed at least 12 years of their schooling in the science stream either in a recognised institution in KSA or an equivalent qualification from anywhere in the world. Usually most universities recognise 10+2 certificates, GCSE A levels as well as SAT qualifications and as per Ministry of Education requirements a 12 class (or equivalent) school report card must be presented.

Additionally  the following cqtagories of applicants are also entertained:
• Bridging students (Diploma students)
• University/College transfer students (Undergraduate students)

Generally male and female students who have their parents working in KSA and hold valid iqamas are eligible for admission in MBBS courses. However students who come to visit their parents or who don’t yet live in KSA may also be considered for admission.

Naturally, studying MBBS in KSA also requires the expat student to obtain Student Visa and hence might have to forego the sponsorship of their parents during the period of study especially if their iqama can not be renewed any further.

Admission Requirements and Process

All MBBS applicants are required to visit the website of the college they intend to apply to and fill in the online registration  form. Once they create an online application, they are required to upload all supporting documents online such as:

  • Scanned iqama/ Passport
  • Scanned Official School/ College Transcripts
  • Scanned English test results like IELTS/ TOEFL
  • Passport  sized photograph
  • Permission from government  to study in KSA for outside applicants.

Additionally the dependents of medical college employees might also need to present Birth certificate  while siblings of current students might also need to show proof of relationship.

Once all required documents are uploaded with completed application form and submitted, the student will be notified through email about the status of their application. Based on the Academic calendar of the respective university successful  candidates are informed about the dates for registration at the university. Additionally  some colleges like BMC  require the candidate to sit for an interview.

However if a student fails to meet the requirements for direct admission to MBBS, they can enroll in the foundation course offered by the university to make them eligible  for MBBS. These foundation courses are usually one year in duration.

Once the admission is confirmed  and innitial tution fee is paid, the student then has to process their health insurance as well as student visa for which their university will seek permission from concerned Ministry.

Fees and other expenses

The private medical colleges in KSA are not based on donation system that is popular among many Asian countries. Intead they charge tution fees per semester or per annum. This fees ranges from 70,000 SAR p.a. to 85,000 SAR p.a. at Ibn Sina and Marefa Medical college respectively, while Batterjee Medical college  charges 45,000 SAR per sem and Al Faisal charges 47,000 SAR per sem.

In addition to the tution fees students have to make a one time payment at the time of admission which varies ftom college to college as well as an annual Health insurance in addition to managing their own accomodation and food expenses.

Scholarships 

Though the fees of these colleges seems exuberant  and is at par with India’s Top Private Medical Colleges, there are several means through which expat families find it possible to send their children to these institutions:

  • Installment plans
  • Excellent grades based discounts
  • Sibling discounts
  • Employee children discounts
  • Need based scholarships

Value of doing MBBS in KSA
The MBBS degree in KSA which is generally 6 years long followed by one year internship and recognised internationally, offers a wide range of advantages over medical education in the Subcontinent.
Not only is the atmosphere peaceful and amicable for studies, children brought up in KSA find it easier to adjust. Top that up with hygenic food and living spaces, international faculty,
World class infrastructure and labs, disease resistant cadavers and availability  of scholarships.

IMG-20160301-WA0006Interestingly, these medical colleges have opted for a shift towards a modern Medical curriculum that is student centric and based on intergrated hybrid curriculum particularly PBL (problem  based learning) which makes it possible for the Medical ctudents to have a strong foundation in the practice and ethics of                                                medicine, not just theory.

IMG-20160301-WA0007Furthermore,  research based writing and exposure to research environments in the early years of MBBS is at the core of these medical programs particularly  Al Faisal University  which follows the style  of Harvard Medical School and offers several incentives  to students who take up research such as funding them to undergo summer training programmes at top research centers in USA and UK. Similarly Batterjee Medical college, Jeddah incorporates features of German Medical Schools based on European education system.

Another attractive feature of these universities  is that they are geered towards preparing students for prestigious  medical licencing  exams like USMLE such as at Global medical college where USMLE PREP is part of the curriculum and clinical rotation is possible in the UK and US.

Testimonials by current MBBS students in KSA

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Medical Students at Al Faisal University

Qsaudi contacted some expat students doing MBBS at Al Faisal University  in Riyadh to ask them about their experience as medical students.

Omar, a second year Medical student from Kashmir describes his experience as thus: “The decision to study MBBS at Al Faisal was perhaps the best decision my parents took for me. Being medical doctors themselves, they were very keen for me to study at a world class institutions. Having spend several months trying to get admission at top medical colleges in India, we were discouraged by the chaotic atmosphere, lack of hygiene  and rampant corruption we witnessed. Finally we saw a ray of hope when we came to know that some medical colleges in KSA accept expats and thus my journey to Al Faisal University. My experience  here has been nothing short of life changing. To think that I would be actively involved in medical research  so early in my degree and that would be taught professional ethics and skills from day one is a dream come true. However world class education does come at a price and my family has managed to meet the expenses through the merit based scholarship that I have received”.

Another student from Hyderabad who has an elder sibling at the university and thus receives a discount in addition  to a 50% merit based scholarship says it is amazing to be studying  in a world class institution for half as much as he would be paying in popular MBBS destinations  like Bangladesh.

Further, the students expressed gratitude over the fact they are studying at a non-profit institution since that means that whatever they give to the university they receive back in many ways in the form of incentives for writing  articles in journals, getting paid  for their skills like photography, event management and better preparation  for licensing exams.

According to them it is no coincidence that 8 out of 9 students from the university  who recently applied for US Residency got accepted. They attribute such success to the innovative and practice oriented teaching methods that firmly ground students in the practice of Medicine and the presence of an experienced  faculty from all parts of the world.

Important guidelines for MBBS in KSA
When seeking admission for MBBS in KSA one must make sure the college is recognised by Ministry of Higher Education (MOHE) and the National Commission for Accreditation and Academic Assessment (NCAAA). Those looking to work outside KSA might also find it worthwhile to check international accreditations/ recognition of a college for instance by looking at the FAIMER International Medical Education Directory (IMED). Additionally, it is necessary  to contact the university  directly  instead of being mislead by agents.

  • Suleman

    Birth certificate of applicants of medical college employees? What is this? Only those childrens of medical college employees or siblings are eligible for admission?

    • princilamurrell

      I understood that birth certificates are required for APPLICANTS WHOSE PARENTS are employees at the medical college. An applicant might not be required to provide a copy of their birth certificate if none of their parents is an employee at the college. Maybe I’m wrong?

      • Iesha Javed

        Yes thats right normally birth certificates are not a requirement. since there are special discounts for employees’ children and siblings of already registered students, hence the additional requirements.

    • Iesha Javed

      Birth certificates of children of medical college employees who wish to apply as proof of relationship in order to avail the fee discount. The sibling discounts are offered when more than one child from same family enroll at the university. Some univesities offer 10% sibling discount and others offer 20%.
      While anyone satisfying the Eligibility criteria are considered for admission there are special discounts for employees’ children and siblings of already registered students, hence the additional requirements.

  • Suleman

    Thank you Lesha for the clarification. However, Tuition fees will come around half million riyals excluding the other expenses, which may not be affordable by a middle class parents of asian origin working here in Saudi arabia.

    • Iesha Javed

      Thank you very much for bringing that up. Well that might be true for average students from middle class backgrounds. However competitive and hardworking students from such families have a chance to study for free by getting scholarships based on their merit or need based scholarships. In the Subcontinent most private colleges do not offer such opportunities . Besides many Asian families are paying exuberant amounts IN NRI QUOTA to average colleges where students get no hands on experience or profession exposure.

      In our judgement we would place colleges like Al Faisal medical college in league with reputed colleges. From those standards the fee is somewhat proportionate to the quality.
      Fyi an NRI student in top colleges in India like DY Patil currently has to pay 80 lac-1 crore for MBBS.
      The aim of the article is to create awareness about the availability of medical colleges in KSA.

  • Fayzee

    Thanks for the information. It is really very helpful. But considering the fees, its far too much for upper-middle asians as well.

    Anyways, is it possible to provide similar information for engineering students as well?

    • Iesha Javed

      Thank you for taking time to comment. Yes we are working on it. InshaAllah we will be delving into topics.

    • Danish Hasan

      In philippines very cheapest study in engineering…only 2000 sar.and 30 thousand indain rupees..

  • M Akhtar

    Whether MBBS degree from Saudi Arabia is recognised in India/ Pakistan/ Bangladesh, the country of origin of expats. As per my knowledge, MBBS degree from aboard not recognised by India. Such student need to pass an exam conducted MCI, where hardly 25% student pass.

    • Iesha Javed

      Thank you for following up with us. While the colleges in KSA differ in their recognition status, some being internationally recognized while others are recognised locally, if an expat prefers to work back home they will have to check about the recpgnition of foreign degees in their respective countries. It also seems MCI problem with foreign degrees could be more about politics than about scrutiny. The huge fail percentage in MCI exams can be attribute to a number of factors, one being lack of preparation by first attempt students and policy of MCI with regards to how many foreign degree students they want to allow to qualify each year.
      Nevertheless the article is merely informative so that those xpats who find it worthwhile may benefit from these opportunities.

      • Danish Hasan

        In philippines only riyal 20 thousand per year fees and indian rupees only 2.5 lac per year…philippines very cheapest country and good communication…any information plz contact me
        [email protected]

      • Saaz

        Lesha jacked
        Can you explain the term science stream

  • SJ

    What are the requirements for admission in Alfaisal University. IS there any cutoff marks from 12th grade score???? For SAT is it general or subjective. What are the requirements for transfer students from UAE?

    • Iesha Javed

      Thank you for your questions. MBBS at Al Faisal is 5 years long followed by one year internship. You will find all the details on official al faisal university website. Here is the link for your convenience http://admissions.alfaisal.edu/freshman
      Yes, there are minimum marks requirements for direct entry to mbbs and anyone who has a lower score in 12th grade has to join a one year UPP ie university preparatory program before joining mbbs. Al faisal doesnt normally accept transfer students and college of medicine does not accept credit transfer but u can enquire with them directly.their toll free number is 920000570.

  • zairus

    so as a girl how can i take admission in Al Faisal university i am currently studying in Cbse class 12 in Saudi Arabia.Please give a detailed procedure.would be very helpful .

    • Iesha Javed

      Thank you for your questions. Al Faisal University accepts both male and female students for MBBS and the procedure is the same. Once you get ur 12th class results you can apply online and upload all the required documents.there are some minimum marks requirements for direct entry to mbbs and if someone does not have the required percentage they have to undergo one year UPP i.e. University Preparatory Programme after completing which they can start mbbs.

      Since you seem to be interested in a scholarship you can get considerable discounts by sitting for and scoring well in qudraat and tahseeli tests. These are local examinations in KSA and expats can sit for them. If you score really well it will considerably lower the fee you have to pay. The other option is to take admission, pay the first sem fee and then secure a merit scholarship based on your performance in semester examination. Kindly visit the official website for details. http://admissions.alfaisal.edu

      http://admissions.alfaisal.edu/scholarships

      • zairus

        thanks alot for ur quick reply. can you please tell me the fees also if one does it without scholarship.

        • Iesha Javed

          The fees is mentioned in the above article. There are roughly 10 semesters in mbbs.

        • Danish Hasan

          In philippines only riyal 20 thousand per year fees and indian rupees only 2.5 lac per year…philippines very cheapest country and good communication…any information plz contact me
          [email protected]

          • zairus

            what about bangladesh

          • Danish Hasan

            I dnt now …but bangladesh very costly….near by 40 lakhs

          • Danish Hasan

            I know mbbs in philippines and ukraine …

  • muhibulla Khan

    can you pls tell how many sem are in one year or total sem in course of six years?

    • Iesha Javed

      There are roughly 10 sems in mbbs

  • kasish khan

    Please can you provide some information for Engineering as well (specially for job holders). Thanks & regards

  • wasay

    lesha javed may allah bless u for the good work u r doing. you work reminds me of the quote – a candle that lights another loses nothing. keep it up

  • Mohammed Shah

    Very good information actually I was looking for many months now. Just reached googling here and felt happy to find answers to many of my questions. Just a few points. Are these colleges recognized by MCI. Qualifying MCI is a different matter. Secondly, is there any quota for expats or it all depends upon the merit. Thank you so much…Mohammed Hussain

    • Danish Hasan

      In philippines only riyal 20 thousand per year fees and indian rupees only 2.5 lac per year…philippines very cheapest country and good communication…any information plz contact me
      [email protected]

      • Mohammed Shah

        Please update your information. SAR 20 K PA means about INR 3.5 lakhs and not INR 2.5 lakhs. Also your comment for Bangladesh fees somewhere else in this thread needs to be updated. In Bangladesh the fees for the full course range from INR 20 lakhs to INR 30 lakhs in total depending upon the college as can be seen from various sources and websites of BD colleges. Thanks

        • Danish Hasan

          Philippines first 1.5 years fees and visa and ticket =5.5 lac inr after that 2.2 lac to 2.5 lav per yeara fees…currency Fluctuate…course name= doctrate of medicine
          After graduation 4 years program…and after 12th 5.5 years program..

        • Danish Hasan

          Yes i know…i think 13 sar to 14 sar thousand near by…

          • Danish Hasan

            2.5 lac indian ..you calculate to sar …okay..i think 2.5 lac near by 13 to 14 sar thousand…i am right

  • zairus

    can mbbs in saudi be upto rs 25 lakhs…….info please

    • Danish Hasan

      In philippines only riyal 20 thousand per year fees…philippines very cheapest country and good communication…any information plz contact me…
      [email protected]

  • Maria Abdul Wahed

    Thanks for the information its really helpful ………I actually wanted to know that how much consideration or scholarship will be given to a expat student and is there any entrance exam for admission????

  • Danish Hasan

    In philippines only riyal 20 thousand per year fees…philippines very cheapest country and good communication…any information plz contact me
    [email protected]

  • Danish Hasan

    In philippines only riyal 20 thousand per year fees and indian rupees only 2.5 lac per year…philippines very cheapest country and good communication…any information plz contact me
    [email protected] https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/04e4be9e177cc60bf57c750db750c66ac5f6dcf1f11eba38f0dd61eb3da44d2a.jpg

  • Saaz

    Can you explain the term science stream
    Can a student with subject of Computer science, mathematics and physics in higher secondary school
    Can apply for mbbs