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United Arab Emirates (UAE)

Country flag: United Arab Emirates

Consisting of seven states, each with universities that offer modern facilities and a top-class education, there are plenty of options for studying in the UAE

The UAE education system

There are three state-funded universities in the UAE:

  • Higher Colleges of Technology;
  • United Arab Emirates University;
  • Zayed University.

There are over 50 private (licensed) universities in the UAE and since the federation formed in 1971 there have been measures to ensure education at all levels is available to all nationals.

Many universities from Europe, the USA and Asia have campuses in the UAE. The University of Bath - United Arab Emirates  is one such university.

Many higher education institutions in the UAE are set in state-of-the-art buildings with equally impressive facilities and modern technology.

Entry requirements

To study in the UAE, you will need:

  • a Bachelors degree to study a postgraduate course;
  • a Masters degree to study for a PhD;
  • for all UK qualifications to be obtained from an accredited higher education institution.

International students need to have received a student visa before they start any course. Acceptance on to a university programme does not guarantee you a student visa.

Course fees

Students are required to pay admission fees for all universities in the UAE, plus additional costs for applying and registering for courses.

It is a good idea to check with each institution you are applying to as fees will vary depending on the university and the course.

Courses in the UAE are assessed in semester credit hours with each course carrying a certain number of credits. These credits are awarded after the course has been successful completed. The costs of each credit hour changes depending on the course.

For example, A MSc in Electrical Engineering at the United Arab Emirates University will cost around £280 per one-credit hour with the complete programme totalling 30-credit hours. This equates to around £9,000 for a postgraduate programme at a state-funded university.

The MSc in Information Technology at Ajman University of Science and Technology costs £160 with the programmes total credit hours at 33.

To find out about entry requirements and costs, search for individual universities at the UAE Commission for Academic Accreditation  .

Funding to study in the UAE

There are funding options to support your study in the UAE. It is probably easier to secure funding from a UK organisation or university than from within the UAE as scholarships from UAE universities are often specifically for national school-leavers.

If you are studying at a UK university and planning a study period in the UAE, speak to your university regarding funding while you are away.

If you are applying to study at an institution in the UAE, you should contact them directly to discuss your funding options as an international student.

The Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank (ADCB) offers bank loans with reduced rates to students who are studying at the British University in Dubai (BUID).

UAE exchanges and placements

If you are enrolled at a UK university you may be able to study at universities in the UAE through exchange programmes.

Many institutions in the UK will have links to the UAE such as the Heriot-Watt University Dubai Campus  so discuss this with your tutor or visit the international office.

You will be able to organise your own exchanges and placements by contacting the university at which you wish to study.

Science, engineering and technology students have the chance to embark on 12-week paid placements in the summer and for longer periods at other times of the year with IAESTE UK .

Student visas

To study in the Emirates, a student visa is mandatory. You need to be sponsored by a UAE institution as recognised by the UAE Ministry of Education . You should apply through the immigration authorities and most student visas will be valid for one year.

Getting a student visa for the UAE can be a lengthy process so begin your application early. Find out more at UAE Interact - Visas and Immigration .

Written by Editor, Graduate Prospects
February 2013

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