In Bahrain there are 4 public and 14 private higher education institutions. While most are mixed, in 2005 the first university for women was built: The Royal University for Women. In terms of international recognition, this country is a very popular choice among students. For the academic year of 2013/2014, almost 14% of all students enrolled in universities were foreign, coming from all continents. Also, universities are well ranked, especially within the Arab region, being in the top 25. The category in which they scored the most was ‘International faculty’ which places Bahrain as one of the most diverse countries with faculty members coming from all around the globe to teach in their universities. For further information the Ministry of Education’s website is available at http://moedu.gov.bh/hec/ .
The educational system in Bahrain works in three cycles: Bachelor’s (البكالوريوس), Master’s (ماجستير) and doctoral studies (الدكتوراه). Typically, undergraduate studies will last for 4 years before completion and, depending on the subject, the duration might vary. Medicine and related courses tend to be longer or designed as an Integrated Master’s where the first two cycles are completed at once. Master’s studies last for 2 years, in general, while PhDs take about 3 years to receive a diploma. There is also the possibility of studying for an Associate degree, which is shorter in length and it is not recognized as a Bachelor’s degree. Bahrain uses the National Qualifications Framework (NQF). According to it, Bachelor’s have a minimum of 480 NQF, Master’s a minimum of 120 NQF, and doctoral studies a “majority of credits at level 102 of the NQF”.
Application to universities in Bahrain might differ depending on courses and institutions. However, general requirements include the proof of a secondary school certificate or its equivalent with a minimum cumulative GPA of 70%. If the application is successful, students will need, based on their subject of interest, to attend an interview or have to sit an exam (or other forms of assessment). Application to postgraduate studies are considered based on previous degrees (BSc/BA/etc. and/or MSc/MA/etc.). The academic year has two semesters, each of them followed by an exam period. It starts in September and will usually end around June. A vast majority of courses are taught in English, even though Arabic is the official language of the country.
Tuition fees are internally regulated by universities. Courses are as expensive as BHD 200 per credit hour which is ~482 euros. Prices tend to be slightly more expensive for Master’s and PhDs. Scholarships are available not only for full coverage of tuition fees, but also for living expenses. A full list of programs and detailed information about application is provided here.
Information for International Students
Even though it is recognized for being an expensive country, finding accommodation in Bahrain is not a difficult task. While universities do offer affordable and convenient places for students, private renting is also common. However, renting privately might be expensive, especially if it is in the capital city. Transportation, on the other side, is cheap. Students get free bus transportation and taxis have reasonable prices. Studying in Bahrain represents a real opportunity for international students. Since one distinct feature of the country represents the multicultural and diverse environment within the higher education system, students choose to come here more often in recent years.