Qatar is a desert land on the northeast coast of the Arabian Peninsula. Its role in the petroleum industry makes it one of the richest countries in the world. The country wisely invests this affluence towards more growth through improving its higher education system. Thus, many international students choose to study in Qatar for its first-rate educational facilities, faculty of experts, and conducive learning environment overall. In this article, we will be looking at the best universities in Qatar for international students.

Is Qatar good for international students to study in?

Qatar has a dedicated area in Doha for higher education called the Education City. It shows the country’s commitment to providing the best academic experience to local and international students alike. Students have a wide range of disciplines to choose from, whether they are pursuing a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree.

Many established international universities have branches in Qatar’s Education City. These divisions provide the same curriculum and have the same accreditations as their main branches, meaning students who graduate in Qatar-based universities have internationally recognized degrees.

International students pay the same fees as local students, unlike in other countries where foreign nationals pay double the amount of fees. Tuition fees range around 20000 USD or 200-500 USD per credit hour. Living in Doha may be a little more expensive than Kuwait or Muscat, but it is also more affordable than Riyadh or Dubai. Students can allot around 1800 – 2500 USD per month for accommodation, food, travel, and other expenses.

Can international students work in Qatar while studying?

International students are not allowed to work off-campus on a student visa. Working off-campus requires a regular work visa which they can process with the Ministry of Interior (MoI). Nonetheless, universities in Qatar offer student employment programs that can help learners experience a real working environment. These programs allow students to work up to 20 hours a week or regular semesters, 40 hours during breaks, and 30 hours during Ramadan.

Can international students stay in Qatar after graduation?

International graduates can stay in Qatar and pursue several work opportunities in the progressive country. However, they must first cancel their residence permit and leave Qatar within five days after the graduation ceremony or getting the graduation certificate. Afterward, they can return and apply for a Work Residency Permit (RP) which is required for all foreign nationals. The RP is a combined residence and work permit applied for by a Qatari employer on behalf of the foreign national. It is valid for one year and can be renewed annually. With a degree from a Qatar-based university, international students will find it easier to access the local job market for wonderful opportunities.

Best Universities in Qatar for International Students

1. Qatar University

Qatar University is a leading public research institution and the only government university in the country. It is composed of ten colleges in various disciplines, including social sciences, natural sciences, engineering, business, education, and arts. All students admitted to the university, including international learners, start with a Foundation Program to improve their skills in English, Math, and Computer technology. Qatar University is considered the best university in Qatar for international students.

Qatar University’s research focus includes environmental sustainability, social change, health & wellness, and information & communications technology. These are often international projects where students and faculty cooperate with affiliate schools abroad. Its award-winning campus in Doha makes excellent research possible, with first-rate infrastructure, state-of-the-art library, the latest software, and many more inclusive student services.

2. Texas A&M University at Qatar (TAMUQ)

The Texas A&M University at Qatar is an international branch of Texas A&M University. While the American branch focuses on space research, TAMUQ has been providing top programs in electrical, chemical, mechanical, and petroleum engineering. It offers two graduate degrees in chemical engineering as well. This top university in Qatar also teaches mathematics, liberal arts, and humanities. Furthermore, courses are held in English and a coeducational setting.

The curriculum at TAMUQ is similar to its main campus, and it carries the same reputation for excellent training of future engineers. It shares the same accreditations as the main campus as well, including the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) in awarding degree levels.

3. Hamad Bin Khalifa University (HBKU)

The Hamad Bin Khalifa University is a new university founded in 2010. It carries the name of the former Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, who’ve made immeasurable contributions to the country during his reign. The HBKU promotes interdisciplinary learning and research among its colleges, which are Islamic Studies, Humanities and Social Sciences, Health and Life Sciences, Science and Engineering, Law, and Public Policy. It also manages three national research centers where students and specialists in the field conduct studies about energy & environment, biomedicine, and computing.

HBKU has over 800 students, where 38% are Qatari. Students are involved in year-long activities in student organizations, sports, and outreach programs. As one of the universities in Doha’s Education City, HBKU is at the center of innovative pursuits that define the progressive country of Qatar.

4. Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar (VCUarts Qatar)

The Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar is a branch of the Virginia Commonwealth University from Wesmond, Virginia. It is the first international university in the Education City and the leading institution when it comes to Fine Arts degrees. Students study and research fashion design, interior design, graphic design, and painting & printmaking. They can pursue a Bachelor of Arts degree in art history as well as a Masters of Fine Arts in Design. While VCUarts Qatar originally admitted women, it began accepting male students in 2008.

This top university in Qatar for international students provides the best technical spaces for learning and research in creative fields. These facilities include a digital fabrication lab, a media lab, a photography studio, printmaking studios, and the first materials library in the country.

5. Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar (CMU-Q)

The Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar is the first undergraduate branch campus of the Carnegie Mellon University in Pennsylvania. It was established in 2004 and was ranked among the most innovative universities, according to the U.S. News & World Report. Under the same curriculum and degrees of its main campus, students can finish undergraduate degrees in Business Administration, Computer Science, Information Systems, Biological Sciences, and Computational Biology.

Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar started with 41 students back in 2004. Presently, it has 400 students from 35 different countries and is continuously growing. While maintaining the excellence of Carnegie Mellon, CMU-Q has developed traditions unique to the Qatar campus.


I hope that this article on the best universities in Qatar for international students was helpful. To know more information like this, check out the Available Programs for International Students!

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