The Faculty of Arts and Humanities was established in the academic year 1969/1970 in accordance with a directive issued by the Consultative Committee of Experts which forwarded its report to KAU Foundation Board after a minute study that showed the relationship between the faculty and the Kingdom's need for competent scholars— for the purpose of providing the country's different bodies with competent national cadres for contributing to development plans in different fields.
The Department of English was the first to be launched at the inception of the Faculty of Arts, and its name was later changed to Department of European Languages where its first division graduated in 1972/1973
Since then, organizational development in the faculty has proceeded at various stages, the most important ones of which are as follows:
• The separation of the Faculty's Preparatory Year Program for male and female students from that of the Faculty of Economics & Administration in the Academic Year 1973-74, where the program was composed of general, non-specialized courses.
• The ultimate cancellation of the Preparatory Year Program in both faculties.
• In the Academic Year 1971-72 AH, KAU was transformed from a private
university into a governmental institution. Consequently, the number of
students admitted began to climb rapidly as follows:
- In its first academic year, 1969-70, after the faculty had been established, 28 male and female students were enrolled.
- In the second academic year, 1970-71, 38 male and female students were enrolled.
- In the third academic year, 1971-72, 66, male and female students were enrolled.
- In the fourth academic year, 1972-73, 162 male and female students were enrolled.
- In the fifth academic year, 1973-74, the number of male and female students enrolled increased to 490.
- In the sixth academic year, 1974-75, the number increased to 505 male and female students.
- In the seventh academic year 2000-2001, the number of (regular and external) male and female students increased to 14,000.
- In the 11th academic year, 2004-05, the number of (regular and external) male and female students rose sharply to 21,000.
- In the 14th academic year, 2007-08, the number of (regular and external) male and female students reached 22,067.
Today, the faculty’s programs are no longer confined to theoretical studies. Well-developed departmental curricula have been evolved in numerous wide-ranging modern scientific and experimental fields. This has necessitated the installation of numerous labs and studios utilizing state-of-the-art equipment. Consequently, the faculty has become a bastion for the enrichment of intellectual life and new horizons.
In conformity to the demands of modern progress, the faculty has forsaken the technique of rote memorization in social and humanitarian studies, baggage that has long been abandoned in favor of experimental application and scientific research so that the faculty can cope with the universal demands and of the modern age.
In view of the faculty's academic developmental program, various new curricula have emerged and others have been innovated in some departments to facilitate the Kingdom's development towards securing scientifically and practically qualified cadres in accordance with labor market needs. They are as follows:
1- Translation (Dept. of European Languages and Literature)
2- Tourist Guidance (Dept. of History)
3- Social Work (Dept. of Sociology)
4- Advertising (Dept. of Mass Communication)
5- Four new curricula in the Dept. of Geography were formed as follows:
a) Urban Planning
b) Environmental Studies
c) Resources and Regional Development
d) Geographical Information Systems and Cartography
Within the framework of the faculty's interest in serving scientific research, a royal decree was issued on 16/3/2009 to establish the Research Center for Humanities and Social Sciences in the faculty, which includes twelve research clusters concerned with social issues and problems in Saudi society through presenting studies, research, training and consultations for all sectors and institutions of society.
To insure that the faculty appreciates the importance of adhering to international quality criteria of education, it attained the ISO (9001-2000) on 30/11/2008, granted by the Bureau Veritas. In September 2011, The Board of Trustees of the American Academy for Liberal Education (AALE) awarded the College the Certificate of International Accreditation for its study programs. This is in recognition of the College’s achievement of AALE international benchmarks for accreditation and the commitment to continually improving the quality of services provided to students and the community.
Prof. Al-Ghamdi, the dean of the college, reiterated the fact that securing the international recognition for the College’s programs adds impetus to the retention of high academic standards. This can only be achieved by continuous and comprehensive development of educational structures and by adopting learning methodologies that pursue the achievement of quality education