Saudi Arabia / Entry requirements

General requirements for undergraduate courses

If you are studying A-levels or the International Baccalaureate (IB) then you can apply for ‘direct entry’ to the first year of a bachelor’s degree.  Please note that only A-levels or IB will be considered for admission to Medicine or Dentistry.  

Due to differences in the UK and Saudi education systems, students with the Thanaweyyah A’ama (or Tawjihi, secondary school certificate) will be required to follow an approved international foundation course. Students who have an overall average of 90% or above in the l-Thanawaya Al-Aama or Tawjihi (including 90% in Maths and Physics) would be considered for the University's Science and Engineering with an integrated foundation year programme. Applications for the University’s Biosciences with a foundation year programme would be considered following completion of the Al-Thanawaya Al-Aama on a case-by-case basis.

Students who have achieved an overall Al-Thanawaya Al-Aama, secondary school certificate grade of 85% or higher would be considered for the foundation programmes (Engineering and Science, Humanities and Social Sciences (including Management and Law), Biosciences, Pharmacy and Psychology) run in partnership with the University by INTO Manchester. Subject-specific requirements may apply.

If you are completing three GCE A-level subjects, or the International Baccalaureate, you will be considered for direct entry to Year 1 provided that your predicted grades meet the minimum requirements stated on the individual course webpages.

If you are currently doing a US Diploma at school we would generally consider you for the international foundation course, and the minimum requirement will be a GPA of 3.0/4.0. SAT I and SAT II tests are not required but will be considered a bonus (provided you have the minimum GPA). Under certain circumstances, three Advanced Placements (AP) subjects with high grades on top of SAT I/II may be considered for direct entry into Year 1.

General requirements for postgraduate/research courses

For master’s programmes, we consider a first degree from a recognised Saudi university with a high percentage or GPA.

Master’s degrees from recognised universities in Saudi Arabia (classified as Merit or above, or equivalent) are generally considered for PhD entry at The University of Manchester.

English language requirements

All applicants to the University (from the UK and overseas) are required to show evidence of English language proficiency.

The UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) requires that every student from outside the UK and the EU must show evidence of a minimum level of English language in order to be granted a UK visa (Tier 4 visa) to study at undergraduate or postgraduate level. This level is often referred to as the ‘B2 level’.

Additionally, individual Schools may ask for specific English language proficiency levels that are necessary for their academic programmes. In most cases, these requirements are likely to be higher than the B2 level. Further information about our English language policy, including a list of some of the English language qualifications we accept, can be found on our English language requirements page.

Some Schools ask that the appropriate score has been met before you apply for a course, while others give conditional offers subject to applicants achieving our general entry requirement level of English language proficiency before starting the course.

Pre-sessional English language courses

Our University Centre for Academic English offers pre-sessional English language courses that can last up to 10 weeks prior to the start of the academic course. They are only available for students who nearly meet our English language requirements but have fallen short by a small amount (for example, half a score in IELTS). They are also subject to approval by the academic School to which you apply (some programmes do not accept pre-sessional English language and require applicants to achieve the required IELTS/TOEFL grades). Please, therefore, enquire from the School as to whether you would be eligible for a pre-sessional course. Read more about pre-sessional English language courses.

If you require a longer English language course, you can apply for one of our English for Academic Purposes courses. Although students cannot generally progress automatically from these language courses to the academic degree, they provide excellent preparation for IELTS. In many cases, the PhD applicant can obtain a conditional offer for a PhD (based on achieving a certain IELTS score) and then enrol in one of the English for University Study courses with a view to taking IELTS at the end of the language course.

Applying for a PhD

Application and decision process

To maximise your chances of a successful PhD application, you need to first meet the minimum academic requirements and these are mainly related to your bachelor’s and master’s degrees (both need to be from a recognised university with a sufficiently high GPA). You'll also require an English language qualification that we accept.

The second part is related to your chosen research. In the majority of cases, you'll need to identify a research idea on which you should be able to write a detailed research proposal. While in some countries a PhD candidate can start writing their research proposal after they enrol, in the UK generally you have to finalise your proposal (and get it approved by a supervisor) before enrolling on the course.

Find some general advice on writing research proposals.

It is important to match your research proposal and interests to those of an academic member of staff who would be your potential supervisor. Therefore, you might want to read about the research interests of our academics (in the School or Faculty that you're interested in) as you prepare to write your proposal. You can usually find their research profiles, biographies and a list of projects and publications in the Research section within our individual School webpages.

Once ready, you'll need to submit an online application where you upload all the relevant academic documents as well as the research proposal itself. You may also mention as part of your application if there are any specific academic members of staff to whom you feel your proposed work is relevant.

Sponsored students applying to Manchester

A large number of our PhD students from Saudi Arabia are sponsored by key government institutions, universities and corporations in Saudi. Often, the sponsor requires a very specific title, topic or area of research for the PhD project. In some cases, they require the supervisor to be from a specific background or discipline.

To avoid disappointment, it's strongly suggested that prospective PhD applicants keep their sponsors informed about the following information during their discussions with The University of Manchester School, Faculty or potential supervisor:

  • The precise title of the subject area of the PhD programme.
  • PhD project topic and proposed thesis title.
  • The background of the potential supervisor and which School/Faculty they're based in.

By ensuring the sponsor’s approval of such details in the early stages of discussions between you and the University, late rejections by the sponsors (based on, for example, a mismatch with their desired project title) could be avoided.