King Fahd University for Petroleum and Minerals (KFUPM) has the unique distinction of imparting specialized courses in petroleum technology even while offering BS, MS and Ph.D. programmes in nearly all disciplines of engineering, architecture and management. Situated in Dahran, close to oilfields and the renowned oil drilling and refining establishment Arabian-American Oil Company (Aramco), it is one of the top-notch destination for those seeking degrees in engineering. The campus boasts of an international community of student including Americans. Similarly, its faculty draws 70 per cent of its members from all over the world, several of them being Indians.
The KFUPM campus is a picturesque locale on a hill (called ‘Jebel’ in Arabic) in the midst of sands of Arabian peninsula. The campus sprawls over 900 acres of land where greenery has been coaxed out the barren desert. It was established in 1968 by a royal decree and was named after the then ruler King Fahd in 1986. It held its first convocation in 1971 when four students took the baccalaureate degr-ees in engineering. It became a University in 1975. It was primarily established to impart skills to manage the Saudi Arabia’s vast petroleum and mineral resources. However, emphasis is on disciplines associated with petroleum. Several leading industrial establishment have also come up in the vicinity to avail of the research facilities at the KFUPM.
While the graduate courses (i.e., B.S.) admit only Saudi students, the Masters and Ph.D. programmes admit foreign students too. However, selection process starts with an entrance test where eligibility is a graduation in any discipline of science. According to Dr. Omar bin Abdullah As-Suwailam, registrar of admissions at the KFUPM, 20 programmes in Masters and 10 in Ph.D. are conducted by the University currently. Medium of instructions at all levels is English. Students need to pass TOEFL for English proficiency with 520 out of total 550 marks. Dr. As-Suwailam says at least 2,000 Indian students have taken various degrees from the KFUPM during the last 30 years.
According to Dr. As-Sawailam, admission is granted to applicants who satisfy all admission requirements, and is based on the applicant’s grades in the secondary school and admission examinations, or any other conditions set by the University.
KFUPM programmes are recognized by Accreditation Board for Engineering, Technology (Abet) in the USA and the Industrial Management Programme is accredited by Advanced Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) in the US. Education is absolutely free and students have to pass the test for entrance, aptitude and physical fitness. MS and Ph.D. students can as well teach at the undergraduate level and earn some money. Currently, 800 students are studying for their Masters. At the Ph.D. level the emphasis is on petroleum, water resources, environment, refining of petroleum, communication and renewable resources. The University has so far earned 20 patents for products and processes.
Dr. As-Suwailam says the alumni of the KFUPM occupy senior positions including CEOs in several industrial establishments of Saudi Arabia including Aramco. All students have to stay in hostels and all facilities comply with American standards.
The Academic Complex of the Jebel, with its dramatic water tower, dominates the surrounding countryside. Fortune magazine called it “A jewel of a university on Arabian sands”, and few can view it at any hour without being deeply impressed. Silhouetted at dawn against the pink sunrise over the Arabian sky, at sunset against the western desert’s gold, and at night washed with pale blue-white light against the midnight blue of the sub-tropic sky, it has amply fulfilled its objective of making a technical institution one of almost poetic beauty
For further information, aspirants can contact the admission office of the KFUPM by email: admissions@kfupm .edu.sa or Phone: 00966-3-8602919.