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Higher Education Options in Dubai International Academic City

The number of choices for students studying abroad in the United Arab Emirates continues to grow. When the Dubai International Academic City (DIAC) was established in 2007, it consisted of 10 universities and 2,500 students. Today, the sprawling, 18 million square-foot campus features 27 institutions of higher learning, and more than 20,000 students from 125 countries.

The DIAC bills itself as “the world’s largest free zone for postgraduate education,” and “the premier destination for higher education in the region.” Twenty-one of the 37 international branch universities operating in the UAE are within the DIAC complex. These institutions represent 10 countries, more than can be found at any other site in the world.

British Universities
Institutions based in the United Kingdom pioneered international education in Dubai. Heriot-Watt University was the first foreign school established at the DIAC. Middlesex University-Dubai offers graduate and postgraduate degree programs to more than 1,300 students from 60 countries. The Manchester Business School has MBS, MBA, and DBA programs. Branches of the University of Exeter and the University of Bradford also operate at the DIAC.

American Universities
The Hult Business School in the United States has been ranked as the 27th-best business school in the world. Its Dubai campus provides undergraduate, master’s, and MBA degrees. In addition, Michigan State University, a nonprofit research institution offering master’s programs; and the British Columbia-based Canada International College have branches at the DIAC.

Australian Universities
Schools from Australia include a branch of the University of Wollongong, considered one of the world’s best postgraduate institutions; the S.P. Jain School of Global Management, rated among the top 10 business schools in India; and the SAE Institute, the largest worldwide private college for audio and film production. Also, there are Cambridge College International, which awards vocational diplomas in management and marketing; and the Murdoch University International Study Centre.

Other Universities
The DIAC features four India-based institutions: Amity and Manipal universities, the Institute of Management Technology, and BITS Pilani (an engineering school). Representing Europe are the Saint Petersburg State University of Engineering and Economics, one of the oldest and largest schools in Russia; and the ESMOD French Fashion Institute, based in Paris.

Other institutions include Pakistan’s Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto Institute of Science and Technology, an independent, nonprofit graduate school; Lebanon’s St. Joseph University Law School; and Iran’s Islamic Azad University.

UAE-based schools at the DIAC are the British University in Dubai (the first research-based postgraduate school in the Middle East), committed to teaching and researching technological innovations; American University in the Emirates, licensed by the UAE government; and Imam Malik College.

Degree Programs
Universities on the DIAC campus offer more than 400 undergraduate and postgraduate degree programs. Among the career paths (in addition to those already mentioned) are journalism, hotel management, film direction, fashion design, forensic science, biotechnology, tourism and logistics, renewable energy, public health, and entrepreneurship.

Other courses include business administration, finance, computer science, architecture, health-care management, diplomacy, education, environmental studies, animation, information technology, Islamic studies, nanotechnology, project and quality management, solar and alternative energy, and interior design.

International Students
Students from other countries wishing to study in the UAE must first be enrolled at a licensed university in this Middle Eastern nation. The universities’ administrative staffs help their international pupils apply to the government for one-year student residence visas. This document may be renewed annually, so long as a student is enrolled full time and receives passing grades.

Undergraduates must be 25 years of age or younger, but there are no age restrictions for graduate students. Visa applicants must show “proof of funds” to qualify. Getting a job while studying in the UAE is forbidden. Prospective international students should contact the Dubai Technology and Media Free Zone Authority at the DIAC.

International interest in the UAE began after the discovery of the region’s vast oil fields spurred rapid economic growth. Dubai’s pleasant climate and renowned modern architecture draw visitors from around the globe. The availability of acclaimed institutions of higher education add to the nation’s appeal. According to the widely recognized QS World University Rankings, the UAE is home to some of the best universities in the Gulf region.

Top Universities in Dubai

The importance of education cannot be undermined these days owing to the rapid advancements in technology and related sciences. Education has become one of the most important tools for economic progress. The United Arab Emirates has recognized these changing trends and adapted accordingly in order to compete effectively in the world.

Dubai is one of the most prominent emirates of the United Arab Emirates. It is not only the most populated city but also the business and economic center of the United Arab Emirates. With respect to education, it is blessed with about 65 colleges and universities. This city experiences an extremely high influx of international students which in turn contributes towards its multicultural society. There is a distinctive contrast between modernization and traditional Arab values being practices simultaneously in the region. This makes the area fertile for all nationalities.

The educational institutes are concentrated in specific regions in Dubai. One of the most popular ones is known as the Knowledge Village where the educational initiative began. Besides this, the Dubai International Academic City (DIAC) serves as the purpose-built platform for tertiary academic institutions. In most educational institutes, Arabic is considered as the primary medium of teaching while English is considered the second language. However, seeing the large number of expatriate communities enrolled in Dubai universities and colleges, quite a few have refocused on teaching courses in the English Language instead. The educational industry of Dubai is currently in the budding stage and is expected to yield phenomenal growth in the upcoming years.

The universities and colleges of Dubai have launched their international student enrollment programs as well as special exchange programs to encourage cross-cultural mixing. Here is some insight about the top educational institutes of Dubai.

University Name Programs Offered Cost of Programs Total Student Population
American University in Dubai Undergraduate and Graduate About AED 28,000 per semester depending on the courses. More than 3,000
University of Dubai Undergraduate and Graduate About AED 23,000 per semester depending on the courses. Over 2,000
Al Ghurair University Undergraduate and Graduate About AED 24,000 per semester depending on the course load. Over 1,000
American College of Dubai Undergraduate About AED 13,500 per semester. Slight variations per course load. Over 2,000
University of Wollongong in Dubai Undergraduate and Graduate About AED 35,000 per semester depending on the course load. About 3,500
British University in Dubai Postgraduate and Doctoral AED 165,000 to AED 250,000 for the complete course. About 2,500
Zayed University Undergraduate and Graduate AED 32,000 to AED 165,000 depending on the course. Over 1,000
American University in the Emirates Undergraduate and Graduate Not disclosed Over 3,000
The Murdoch University, Dubai Undergraduate and Graduate Up to AED 138,000 depending on the course. Over 2,000