Procedure for Expats to take admission in the MBBS program in Saudi Arabia

Over the last few years, the Medical education has been one of the major reasons that the expatriate families in the Saudi Arabia are being forced to relocate their children, once they have completed their school education, back to their home countries, particularly India, Bangladesh, and Pakistan. This trend, however, is gearing to be changed as now medical colleges of the highest class are opening up in the top cities in the Saudi Arabia, and they are opening their doors to foreign students too.[irp]

TOP MEDICAL COLLEGES FOR FOREIGN STUDENTS IN Saudi Arabia: Eventually, in response to the huge demand for medical schools which will cater to a much larger section of the population of Saudi Arabia, private medical colleges have been formed in the Saudi Arabia, which are all open to those foreign students wishing to study the MBBS program;

  • Global Medical College, Riyadh
  • Al Faisal University, Riyadh
  • Ibn Sina College for Medical Studies, Jeddah
  • Al Maarefa Colleges, Riyadh
  • Batterjee Medical College, Jeddah

CRITERIA FOR ELIGIBILITY: Under normal circumstances, most of the Medical colleges do offer admission to those foreign students who have completed a minimum of 12 years of schooling in the science field, in either a recognized institute in the Kingdom or an equivalent qualification from elsewhere in the world.

Usually, most of the universities accept 10+2 certificates, A Levels as well as SAT score, and as per the requirement by the Ministry of Education, a 12 class school report card must also be present.

Additionally, these categories of applicants are also being entertained;

  • Diploma students or Bridging Students
  • College/University transfer students (Undergrad students)

Generally, all the female and male students who have parents who are working in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and are holding valid Iqamas will also be eligible to take admission in the MBBS courses. However, those students who have come to visit their parents or those who do not reside in the Kingdom can also be considered for enrollment.

Naturally studying the MBBS program in the Saudi Arabia will also require that the expatriate student will have to obtain a Student Visa; hence he might have to forfeit or forego the sponsorship of their parents during the period of their studies, especially if the Iqama can no longer be renewed.

ADMISSION PROCESS AND REQUIREMENT: All of the MBBS applicants are required to visit the website of the particular college that they intend to apply to, and fill in the online form. Once they have created an online application, they will be required to upload the following supporting documents;

  • Scanned Passport / Iqama
  • Scanned Official College/school transcripts
  • Passport sized Photograph
  • Scanned English test result TOEFL / IELTS
  • Permission from the government to study in the Saudi Arabia

Once all of the required documents have been uploaded and the application is completed and submitted, the student will then be notified via an email about the status of their admission application. Based upon the Academic calendar of each university, those candidates who are successful in gaining admission will be informed about the dates of registration at the University. Some colleges such as BMC will also require the candidates to sit for interviews. If any student fails in meeting the admission requirements for the MBBS program, they can enroll in the 1-year long foundation courses which are offered by these universities.

FEES AND OTHER EXPENSES: The privately owned medical colleges in the Saudi Arabia are not based upon any donation system, which is popular in several Asian countries. Instead, they charge fees for tuition per semester or per annum, depending upon the university. The fees for these universities range from 70,000 to 85,000 SAR per annum at the Ibn Sina and Marefa Medical College (Respectively). The fee for the Batterjee Medical College is at 45,000 SAR per semester and the Al Faisal University charges 47,000 SAR per semester. Additionally, a one-time payment also has to be made when getting an admission, in addition to health insurance, food expenses and accommodation and food expenses.

SCHOLARSHIPS: Even though the fees for these colleges may seem exuberant, they are at par with the top private medical colleges in India. There are also other means through which expatriate families find it conveniently possible to send their children to study at such colleges;

  • Grades based discounts
  • Installment Plans
  • Need Based Scholarships
  • Siblings Discount.
  • Employee Children Discount

VALUE OF MBBS FROM Saudi Arabia: The MBBS degree in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, which tends to stretch over 6 years of studies, followed by 1 year of internship is internationally recognized and offers a huge range of different advantages over the medical education in the Asian subcontinent.

Not only is the atmosphere amicable and peaceful for studies, those children brought up in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, will find it easier to adjust anywhere else in the world. You can top that up with hygienic living and eating, world class infrastructure, international faculty, availability of scholarships and disease resistant cadavers too.

Interestingly, the medical colleges in the Kingdom are now opting for a shift towards modern Medical curriculum which is centered on the student and also based upon the problem based learning, which has made it possible for the Medical students to build an immensely strong foundation in the ethics and practice of medicine and not just in theory.

Another feature which attracts students to these universities is that they are geared towards preparing their students for the medical licensing exams such as USMLE.[irp]

IMPORTANT GUIDELINES FOR MBBS IN Saudi Arabia: When you are seeking admission for MBBS in the Kingdom, you must ensure that the college is recognized by the Ministry of Higher Education (MOHE) and the NCAAA or National Commission for Accreditation and Academic Assessment. Those medical students who are looking to seek employment outside the Kingdom might also find it beneficial to check out the international accreditation or recognition of the college they are studying in or planning to study in.

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Steve has been living in Saudi Arabia since 2013 and writing about Saudi rules, regulations, guides, and procedures since then.