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History And Heritage
Skip Navigation LinksEffat University > Effat University > About > Why Effat? > History And Heritage
Effat University is a leading private non-profit institution of higher education for women in Saudi Arabia, operating under the umbrella of King Faisal’s Charitable Foundation.

Effat University is strengthened by the legacy of its founder, Queen Effat Al- Thunayyan Al-Saud, wife of the late King Faisal Bin Abdal-Aziz (May God rest their souls).  In 1419 H, (corresponding to 1999 G), it started offering academic programs under the name of Effat College.


In order to be a center of academic excellence, Effat College launched different academic programs taught in English to expand the horizons of women in Saudi Arabia and raise their educational level. The first two departments established by the college were Computer Science and Kindergarten. These programs aimed to prepare women for the job market and increase their chances of finding work opportunities.


During the following academic year 1421/ 1422 H (corresponding to 1999/ 2000 G) the founders of Effat established three new programs; Information Systems, Psychology, and English Language and Translation.

In 1423 H (corresponding to 2002 G), Effat College signed a collateral agreement with King Faisal Private University to become one of its three colleges; Effat College in Jeddah, Prince Sultan College For Tourism and Business in Abha, and Prince Sultan College For Tourism and Management in Jeddah.


After that, three new majors were introduced during the academic year 1426/ 1427 H (corresponding to 2005/2006 G); Business Administration and, for the first time in Saudi Arabia, the first department of Engineering for women consisting of two majors: Architecture and Electrical and Computer Engineering, neither of which had ever been made available to women before in the Kingdom

Then, on the 25th of Shawwal 1426 (corresponding to 11th of December, 2005) a new decree was issued to accredit the official split of ‘The Sister Universities’: King Faisal University and Effat College. Consequently, Effat College became an independent Institution of Higher Education operating under the umbrella of King Faisal’s Charitable Foundation and became completely detached from the King Faisal Universities; the first step towards university status being conferred upon Effat College. Successive efforts were made to develop the College in every possible respect. Consequently the Ministry Decree, dated 23 Shaaban 1429 H (corresponding to July 27, 2008) was issued acknowledging three colleges within Effat University: The College of Science and Humanities, the College of Engineering, and the College of Business Administration. These colleges offered eight programs and different majors responding to national and international demands for development, each playing a crucial role in achieving the goals of Effat University’s strategic plan.

Many factors played a major role in converting Effat College into a university, such as the relentless efforts and the ongoing vision of its founders and administration; the inauguration of the three Colleges and independent Deanships; the establishment of the Research and Consultancy Institute; and the Extension Programs, in addition to the success achieved at the academic, educational and social levels. All these developments paved the way to becoming a University as per the Royal Decree NO. 963/ MB issued by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Abdullah Bin Abdul-Aziz Al-Saud, on the 3rd of Safar 1430 H, (corresponding the 30th of January, 2009 G), associated to the Higher Education Council Decision No. 11, agreement 5.

According to this Decree, Effat College acquired University Status as a private institution of higher education for women with the following Colleges and Departments:

  • College of Science and Humanities: (English and Translation Department and Psychology Department)
  • College of Engineering: (Electrical and Computer Engineering Department, Computer Science Department, Information Systems Department, Architecture Department, and Visual and Digital production Department)
  • College of Business: (Finance Department, Marketing Department, Human Resources Management Department, Operation and Information Management Department, and Entrepreneurship Department).
Effat University exerts considerable effort towards enhancing its graduate programs. In 1431H (corresponding to 2010), the University inaugurated the Deanship for Graduate Studies and Research.  In 1432 H (corresponding to 2011 G), Effat University launched its first graduate program – a Master’s in Islamic Financial Management (MIFM) . The MIFM Program is the first of its kind in the Kingdom and the outcome of collaborative work of three institutions: Effat University; Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University; and the École Supérieure Des Affaires (ESA), Beirut. In the second semester of the academic year 2010/2011 the University received the Ministry of Higher Education’s decree no. 8963 of 26 Muharram 1432 H (corresponding to 2/1/2011) officially licensing the Program. Furthermore, in 2014/2015 Effat University started two new graduate programs which are a Master’s in Translation and Master’s in Urban Design, the first of its kind in the Kingdom, in order to further develop and enhance the advancing the students and the community as a whole.

As the University continues its mission to provide tomorrow's generations with unique opportunities and experiences, in 1434 H (corresponding to 2013 G) it launched the state-of-the-art Visual and Digital Production (VDP) Program, housed in the College of Engineering. The VDP Program at Effat University is distinctive in that it is not available elsewhere in the Kingdom. Graduates of this Program will have the ability to communicate across diverse media platforms; they will understand how to plan, create, manipulate and disseminate still images, moving images, sound, interactive media, and social media; they will understand the history and theory of the global media industries, as well as the specific attributes and conditions of local media culture, outlets, and potentials; they will be able to understand and critically interpret the media they experience; and they will be prepared for lifelong learning and to sustain agility in order to adapt to the constant change in media technologies and platforms.

In order to continue its mission to educate tomorrow’s leaders, Effat University established a new College of Architecture and Design to educate the future generations in the field with aesthetic judgement, professional knowledge, collaborative skills, and highly ethical values in an environment conductive to learning, research, and commitment to serving the community.

Notwithstanding its academic orientation, Effat University has paid equal attention to the different constituents of the community and their needs through its Executive Education and Community Services Institute (EECSI). The EECSI is the bridge between Effat University and the national and international community. The Institute consists of five centers that offer diplomas, short courses, and customized programs covering a wide range of areas that meet the needs of the individuals or groups of the communities it serves.

The EECSI aims to provide opportunities that help students excel professionally and at the personal level. It exists to produce skilled individuals and ensure sustained and rich relationships for the betterment of the community. It will develop and sustain partnerships with leading academic and professional institutions nationally and internationally. To attain the best results, the University signed agreements and MOUs with a number of internationally - as well as nationally - reputable institutions, including the Sorbonne University, Prince's School for Traditional Arts, ICDL; Microsoft, DAADS, Cisco Networking Academy, Human Resources Development Fund, Islamic Development Bank, and National Commercial Bank.