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The stunningly picturesque city of Abu Dhabi, with its blend of classic Islamic architecture and modern corporate skyscrapers, was built on an island in the Arabian Gulf. Abu Dhabi also is the name of the region, one of seven that make up the federation known as the United Arab Emirates.
Eighty percent of the population of the city, which is the capital of the UAE, consists of non-natives. They represent more than 150 nationalities. English is considered the second language in Abu Dhabi, which has street signs in Arabic and English. The lack of a language barrier eases the transition for incoming students at the emirate’s universities and other postsecondary schools.
Abu Dhabi boasts more than a dozen such institutions. Some are based in the UAE, while others are foreign campuses of universities in Europe, the Americas, and elsewhere. They include public and private schools, which offer a wide range of undergraduate and master’s degree programs.
The oldest and most prestigious postsecondary institution is United Arab Emirates University in the city of Al Ain. According to the QS World Rankings, it is the top university in the UAE. Founded in 1976, it has become the country’s premier teaching and research institution.
More than 14,000 students from the emirate and around the world attend UAEU, which awards bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate degrees. At last report, women comprised more than three-quarters of the student body. Colleges include business and economics, education, engineering, food and agricuture, humanities and social sciences, information technology, law, medicine and health sciences, and health. UAEU is rated the second-best research university in the Arab world. Students and faculty study issues ranging from cancer treatment to water resources.
Abu Dhabi University
At Abu Dhabi University, undergraduate and graduate programs focus on the English language, arts and sciences, business administration, and engineering and computer science. This private university, established in 2003, had 4,311 undergrads and 145 staff members in 2013. Its main site is an Al Ain, with a newer campus (opened in 2006) in Khalifa City.
Khalifa University of Science, Technology, and Research was established in the city of Abu Dhabi in 2007. It evolved from the Etisalat College of Engineering, founded in 1989 in Sharjah. Etisalat is the name of a telecommunications company that needed trained employees. The co-educational university’s 1,300 students represent more than 40 nations. The College of Engineering offers nine undergraduate degrees, five postgraduate programs, and five fields of PhD specialization.
Higher Colleges of Technology
With more than 18,000 students in 2013, the Higher Colleges of Technology was among the country’s largest postsecondary institutions. It was founded in 1988, as a public school. HCT operates 17 campuses in various locations (including the cities of Abu Dhabi and Al Ain) in the UAE. Separate facilities are provided for male and female students. The university has colleges of business, communications, computer and information science, education, engineering technology, and health science. Some of the programs, including bachelor of education, are internationally accredited. The 934 faculty members, who come from throughout the world, teach courses in English.
Paris-Sorbonne University is one of the most renowned postsecondary schools in the world. Its campus on Al Reem Island in Abu Dhabi provides the same humanities and social-sciences curricula as those offered in France. Some of the professors are even the same, as they often travel between France and the UAE. The university also has programs in law and political science, as well as a one-year French class. PSUAD degrees are recognized everywhere. About 500 students from 60 countries live in single dorm rooms, with separate housing blocks for men and women. According to its website, the university provides “world-class” education, and functions as a “centre for research and cultural activities.” The school’s huge library features books in six languages.
Al Ain University
In the city of the same name, Al Ain University of Science and Technology was founded in 2004. Students from more than 20 countries receive instruction in the English language, in addition to their chosen fields of study. The school has accredited programs in business administration, education, engineering, information technology, law, and pharmacy. Thirteen undergraduate degrees and 10 graduate programs are available at this co-educational institution.
Established in 2005 in the city of Abu Dhabi, ALHOSN University consists of three colleges. They provide degree programs in education, English, social science, accounting, business administration, management information systems, architecture, civil engineering, interior design, mathematics and natural sciences, mechanical and industrial engineering, software engineering, and urban planning.
A graduate school and research facility in Masdar City, the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology enrolled 417 students in 2013. Only 162 of them were from the UAE. More than 80 faculty members provide an impressive student-teacher ratio of 5:1. Bachelor’s and master’s degrees in various scientific fields, as well as a doctorate in interdisciplinary engineering, are available. At last report, faculty and students were conducting more than 300 research projects. They concerned issues like alternative energy, sustainability, and the environment. The school opened in 2009.
New York Institute of Technology
Founded in the United States in 1955, the New York Institute of Technology is a private institution with campuses in North America, China, and the Middle East. It features a College of Arts and Sciences, as well as a College of Osteopathic Medicine. There are also schools of architecture and design, education, engineering and computing sciences, health professions, and management. NYIT offers more than 50 degree options for undergraduates, and a similar number of graduate programs.
New York University Abu Dhabi
Downtown Abu Dhabi and Saadiyat Island are the sites of campuses operated by New York University. The school’s Center for Science and Engineering, a research and laboratory facility, is 12 miles outside the capital city. NYU has five academic divisions in Abu Dhabi: arts and humanities, engineering, science, social science, and multidisciplinary. Students choose from among 22 undergraduate majors. Graduate programs are provided in biology, chemistry, and engineering.
Named for the founder of the UAE, Zayed University was established in 1998 and became accredited 10 years later. It has three campuses, including one in Abu Dhabi, where classes are taught in English. The government-sponsored school accepts more than 7,000 male and female students annually. In recent years, they have represented about 20 countries. Zayed awards bachelor’s degrees in arts and sciences, business, education, information technology, and media. Master’s programs include business administration, health-care management, diplomacy and international affairs, and museum studies. Foreign students learn Arabic while pursuing their degrees.
In addition, Abu Dhabi has two business colleges (INSEAD and the University of Strathclyde Business School), a branch of The Petroleum Institute, and the Emirates College for Advanced Education.
The faculty and staff at Abu Dhabi’s higher-education institutions come from 50 countries. Such diversity matches that of the cosmopolitan city. International students find that the emirate not only offers quality postsecondary education. It also is an interesting place to live for a few years.
Among the options for off-campus activities are hanging out at the Corniche, a favorite waterfront area; going to public beaches on the Arabian Gulf coast, where boating and water-sports opportunities are available; and shopping and dining in the city. Festivals and fairs featuring art, music, and film take place annually. Students get around in taxis or leased cars, as there is no public transportation in the monarchy.
International students who have been accepted by a university in the UAE are required to obtain student residence visas from the government. Educational institutions assist their students in securing these documents, which must be renewed each year. To qualify, students have to be enrolled full time and earn passing grades. They also are asked to prove their financial ability to pay for their studies.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
||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.
|Al Ghurair University
||Undergraduate and Graduate
||About AED 24,000 per semester depending on the course load.
|American College of Dubai
||About AED 13,500 per semester. Slight variations per course load.
|University of Wollongong in Dubai
||Undergraduate and Graduate
||About AED 35,000 per semester depending on the course load.
|British University in Dubai
||Postgraduate and Doctoral
||AED 165,000 to AED 250,000 for the complete course.
||Undergraduate and Graduate
||AED 32,000 to AED 165,000 depending on the course.
|American University in the Emirates
||Undergraduate and Graduate
|The Murdoch University, Dubai
||Undergraduate and Graduate
||Up to AED 138,000 depending on the course.
Many international students who choose to study at institutions of higher education in the United Arab Emirates attend universities in the emirate of Sharjah. The schools, within an area called University City, are near the cosmopolitan city of Dubai.
Sharjah, which has been called the country’s “cultural capital,” borders the emirate of Dubai on the Arabian Peninsula. The UAE, a federation of seven emirates, boasts a vibrant economy due to the region’s rich reserves of oil and natural gas. Once a tiny town where residents survived by fishing and diving for pearls, the city of Sharjah has grown into a metropolis of nearly a million people.
Studying abroad in Sharjah affords opportunities to explore a foreign land and learn about myriad cultures. The universities’ students and faculty are extremely diverse, representing nations around the world. Courses are taught in English, which is considered the second language in the UAE.
American University of Sharjah
One of the emirate’s larger and more popular institutions for international students is the American University of Sharjah. Founded in 1997 by the nation’s ruler, it is “based upon American institutions of higher education” and “thoroughly grounded in Arab culture,” according to the school’s website. It enrolled 5,400 students (4,700 of whom were undergraduates) in 2013. They represented 82 countries.
AUS is an independent, nonprofit, coeducational university that employs more than 350 full-time academic staffers. Twenty-six majors, 53 minors, and 13 master’s degrees may be pursued in colleges of architecture, art, and design; arts and sciences; engineering; and business administration. The university is renowned as one of the best in the region, as indicated in rankings compiled by Times Higher Education. The school’s picturesque campus has been described as “the jewel of Sharjah.”
University of Sharjah
Another institution in University City has a similar name. The University of Sharjah enrolled 12,448 students (7,994 men and 4,454 women) during the 2013-14 academic year. Among them were 1,168 students from non-Arab nations. The school is widely recognized for its medical campus, which features a hospital, dental clinic, and medical research facilities.
Seventy-five bachelor’s and master’s programs, as well as five doctorate degrees, are available. Colleges, arranged in “domain clusters,” include those dedicated to medicine, health sciences, dental medicine, pharmacology, engineering and science, fine arts and design, and communication and journalism. Other programs are arts, humanities, and social sciences; business, management, and finance; and Shariah and Islamic studies.
The university has educational program agreements with the United States, Canada, England, Japan, and Australia. The faculty consists of educators from numerous nations. International students are encouraged to form and join national clubs, which represent their cultures at the annual UOS Global Day.
Skyline University College
Established in 1990 by the emirate’s ruler, Skyline University College educates and trains students seeking careers in a number of fields. It offers undergraduate degrees in business administration, tourism and travel management, information systems, international business, marketing, and finance. Areas of emphasis in the school’s master of business administration program include marketing, finance, human-resource management, and strategic management and leadership. SUC officials reportedly plan to add a doctorate in business administration.
The university “features state-of-the-art academic and administrative blocks, a sports center, an adequately furnished library, and computer labs,” according to its website. Articulation agreements with colleges in the United States, England, Canada, and several other countries are in place.
Khalifa University of Science, Technology, and Research is an independent, nonprofit, coeducational school based in the UAE emirate of Abu Dhabi. Its campus in Sharjah, like the others, is focused on preparing students for careers in science. The enrollment at KUSTAR-Sharjah is about 1,300.
The university grew out of the Etisalat College of Engineering, founded in 1989, which had its main campus in Sharjah. The purpose of the school was to educate and train technological employees for the Emirates Communications Corp. By 2012, students on KUSTAR’s campus in Sharjah reflected cultures from many lands. Faculty and staff represented more than 40 countries.
The school provides nine types of undergraduate engineering degrees, as well as five postgraduate programs in the College of Engineering and at the university’s Institute of International & Civil Security. Recently added doctorate specializations concern mechanical, aerospace, nuclear, biomedical engineering, and robotics disciplines. KUSTAR has formed international academic and research partnerships with institutions in the United States and elsewhere.
Higher Colleges of Technology
Sharjah is home to two of the 17 institutions which make up the Higher Colleges of Technology in the UAE. At last report, 2,188 women and 763 men were studying and living on separate campuses in University City. About 300 staff members represent more than 25 nations.
Established in 1988, HCT educated more than 18,000 students on its campuses throughout the UAE in 2013. Degrees are rewarded in business, education, engineering technology, computer and information science, applied communications, and health sciences. HCT has formal alliances with educational and training institutions, and corporate partnerships with area and international firms.
Other institutions of higher education in the emirate of Sharjah include the Westford School of Management, the Manchester Management Training facility, the Sharjah Police Academy, the Judicial Studies and Training Institute, the Sharjah Institute of Technology, and the Institute of Nursing. Since its establishment in 1997, University City has become one of the leading educational centers in the Middle East. The site is a 25-minute drive from Dubai International Airport, and 15 minutes from Sharjah International Airport. Bus service is available.
Universities in Sharjah that receive international students facilitate applications for the visas and residency permits the government requires. Visas purchased at airports in Dubai and Sharjah expire in two months, after which residency permits are necessary. The first step is to be accepted by one of the schools, which impose varying admission requirements. Students must possess valid passports to travel to the UAE, and typically have to demonstrate the financial ability to pay for their education.