Jordan is one of the most educated countries in the Arab region which is not surprising given that Jordan is one country that has invested a lot in its young: education is free for all primary and secondary school students, and compulsory for all Jordanian children through to the age of fifteen. This educational success is reflected in the country’s strong higher education sector, which has seen an increase in demand year on year over the past decade. Despite its small size Jordan is home to no less than 61 Community Colleges and 27 universities, the majority of which are private undergraduate institutions.
To qualify for a course in higher education in Jordan, nationals must have completed the General Secondary Education Certificate, which is roughly equivalent to secondary or high school qualifications obtained abroad.
Community Colleges differ from universities in that they offer specialised two- or three-year programs in various areas of study, which are completed upon passing of a comprehensive government exam at the end of the course of study. Community colleges tend to offer practical education geared towards specific professions such as education, commerce, computer studies, medicine, pharmacology, hotel management, interior design, social work, nursing and midwifery.
There are some 236,000 students enrolled in Jordan’s universities, including 28,000 foreign students from the region and beyond.
When it comes to university, most Jordanian institutions follow either the British or American university system and some universities even have links with American or British counterparts. As in the UK or the USA, the length of time it takes to complete a degree varies with the course chosen. Most Bachelor’s take around 4 years to complete, whereas dentistry, pharmacy, engineering and medicine take longer to complete. For students who choose to work while they study, distance higher education courses can be taken at Jordan’s branch of the Arab Open University.
The most well-known university in the country is probably the University of Jordan, which is the oldest public university, established in 1962. The university is a comprehensive teaching, research and community-service institution, and offers more than 3500 different courses by 18 faculties. Jordan however, is home to a number of other well-respected institutions which include (but are not limited to) Yarmuk University, Mu’tah University, and the renowned University of Science and Technology
Similar to overseas institutions, upon successful completion of an undergraduate course of study, students can elect to continue and pursue a Master’s level degree, which usually takes a further one to two years’ study. These are offered in Jordan’s public universities and are usually examined through a mixture of exams, coursework and required credit hours of research. In addition to the standard Master’s degree based on the UK/US model, students in Jordan who wish to follow a different system have the option to do so. The German Jordanian University for example, offers the Magistar while there are universities that follow the French system awarding the DEA’s degree.
Like elsewhere in the world, brain boxes in Jordan can continue onto the third stage and obtain a Doctorate degree, also known as a PhD. In Jordan a Doctorate Degree is awarded after three to five years of further study and the submission of an original dissertation.