The first female Saudi Arabian student to gain a PhD from the University of Birmingham is celebrating her graduation success.

Sana Al-Mahmoud, a 36 year-old mother of three, stepped up to receive her Doctorate of Philosophy in Heath Services Management after four years of study at Birmingham.

She is the first female PhD student at Birmingham to be sponsored by the  Saudi Arabian Ministry of Higher Education and is the fifth nurse from her country and the first in the Eastern Region of Dammam to achieve the high-level degree.

Now back in her home country, Sana is an assistant professor at the College of Nursing at King Faisal University – Dammam – Saudi Arabia.

She said: "I feel honoured, proud and happy. The people, the country, the university system and the staff are all behind my success."

Sana's accomplishments are even more remarkable, given the challenge of settling in to a new country while balancing motherhood and academia. But a network of new friends and colleagues helped the determined mum to succeed. 

She said: "Thanks to everyone who helped me. Without their support, it would have been hard to achieve anything. The people of Birmingham had a strong belief in me and I felt I was living among family."

Sana hopes other females from Saudi Arabia will benefit from sponsorship and have the same opportunity to continue with their higher education.


Media Information: Anna Dingley, Press Officer, University of Birmingham, on 0121 415 8134/07769 952763.

Notes to Editor:

The University of Birmingham has more than four thousand international students from nearly 150 different countries, making it one of the largest international student communities in the UK.

A founder member of Universitas 21 – a network of 18 research-intensive universities – the university is involved in research projects around the world.