Study in United Arab Emirates
Dwelling beautifully alongside the Persian Gulf, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) offers spectacular locations, tall buildings, huge shopping malls, dazzling beaches, and, supposedly, a newly unveiled “Mars Science City.” Now, that’s a city I’d like to hang out in.
It’s almost like going to UAE can be a wonderfully educational experience in itself. But, luckily for you, there are also great universities for you to pursue your Master’s or Bachelor’s degree anywhere in the city. As a foreign student, there are some interesting options to consider, and there is plenty to learn about the history, culture, and politics that make UAE unique.
Why Study in the United Arab Emirates?
1. The Emirates are an expanding research and education hub
The population in the UAE has a very high literacy rate — almost 90% — and these days the country has invested tons of money into the improvement of their science and technology institutes.
Joining ranks with other major research and training enterprises, the UAE has formed the Centre of Excellence for Applied Research and Training (CERT) group, where they’ve been working with major companies around the world to develop nanotechnology, biotechnology, and a major supercomputing centre in South Asia.
2. UAE universities have grown in popularity and reputation
Universities in the UAE have started to gain a significant reputation all over the world, and their graduates have gone on to work in science, technology, and politics, making the UAE an excellent choice for higher education. Some of the top-ranked universities in the Emirates are:
3. English has been growing as the second unofficial language
While they don't need to worry about language barriers during classes, because there is a substantial number of English-taught degrees, many international students wonder if they'll encounter difficulties while trying to communicate in the Emirates.
But they don't need to! The UAE is among the best Arab countries when it comes to English language proficiency. This is largely due to the positive impact of the finance and tourism sectors.
4. Be amazed by modern feats of architecture
The Emirates are known for being very ambitious and making use of all their resources to create stunning buildings and infrastructure.
While living there, you can be amazed by the Burj Khalifa, Burj Al Arab, the Emirates Palace, the Dubai Mall, the Zayed National Museum, or the artificial Palm Islands created in Dubai.
5. Enjoy thrilling outdoor activities
For adrenaline seekers, the UAE comes with an endless list of activities that will get your heart racing in no time. From sky diving to dune bashing, from camel riding to desert safaris, from kayaking to surfing — these and more await you while living and studying in the Emirates.
Which universities to attend in the United Arab Emirates?
In each of the major cities and all over the UAE, you can find plenty of universities and institutions offering Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in lots of subjects. Furthermore, some of those universities even reach some of the top rankings worldwide, giving them a great global reputation.
Here are some universities and institutions we’d highlight:
- Ajman University
- Emirates Aviation University
- American University in Dubai
- Hamdan Bin Mohammed Smart University
- Paris Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi
What it is like to study at a university in the United Arab Emirates?
If you find yourself in the UAE and, especially, in a city like Dubai, you’ll be surrounded by a wide range of nationalities, cultures, languages, and religions. And, beyond the classroom, you have plenty of places to find on the weekends – beaches, shopping centres, clubs, and giant skyscrapers.
Universities in the UAE have a high standard for academic admission. Students entering have to show high markings on all of their courses. So if you’re a student there, you’ll be alongside some very serious, intelligent students from all over.
What to Study in the United Arab Emirates?
Well, it’s quite simple: the UAE is known for their science and technology, so that seems like a good place to start. But, don’t go leaping there so fast. There are other interesting topics and subjects to pursue while you’re enjoying a trip along the beach or tearing up the indoor ski slopes.
Here is a list of some interesting degrees to pursue in the UAE:
- Project Management in the United Arab Emirates
- Risk Management in the United Arab Emirates
- Education in the United Arab Emirates
- Executive MBAs in the United Arab Emirates
- Mechanical Engineering in the United Arab Emirates
Where to study in the United Arab Emirates?
What’s the first city that comes to mind when you think of the United Arab Emirates? Is it Dubai?
Of course it is! Dubai has some of the biggest universities, and some of the most spectacular historical and cultural landmarks in the world. You can plenty of information about Dubai, including living costs, places to visit, and information about cultural life.
How to apply
Each university in the United Arab Emirates has its own system on their website that allows future students to apply for and enrol in their degree programmes. So, once you select the university of your choice, you can go through their application and submit your materials there.
Here are some of the basic requirements you’ll need for every application:
- A scan of your diploma (high school or Bachelor’s degree)
- A transcript/record of your previous courses
- A scan of your passport and/or birth certificate
- Your CV
- Testing scores
- Evidence of scholarship or funding
- Letters of recommendation (between 2-3)
- Portfolio and/or writing samples
In some universities and regions, students must be Muslims to attend, and at others admission is only available to nationals. However, other, more expansive universities are starting to arise around the region, giving international students opportunities to learn and attend courses.
How to qualify for a university in the United Arab Emirates
Take Preparation Courses
These kinds of courses enable degree-seeking students to get an extra educational boost just before they start their Master’s degree or other post-graduate degree programmes.
Try a pre-M.B.A., pre-Law, or pre-Medicine programme, as well as any other foundation or preparation courses that will allow you to study in the degree programme of your choice.
Improve your English through an English-language prep course
If you’re attending a degree programme in the UAE you will need to prove that your language skills are good enough to participate in the classes and understand the lectures. These courses will also prepare you for any of the English-language tests that universities require.
To apply to study in the UAE, you’ll need to provide proof you have a diploma for your English proficiency.
The certificates generally accepted by the universities in the UAE are:
Still, you should always check on your university’s website, just to be sure what the exact requirements are.
Living in United Arab Emirates
Let's take a closer look at tuition and living expenses in the UAE:
The cost of attending universities in the UAE can be quite high. But you can look for scholarship opportunities or choose one of the more affordable study programmes.
On average, international students pay between 5,000 and 27,650 EUR per year at public universities. Tuition fees at private universities go even higher.
Cost of living in the UAE
Compared to other countries around the world, the UAE can be a relatively expensive place to live. You should budget 1,100–1,700 EUR/month for living costs in the UAE.
Here's a breakdown of average monthly expenses:
- Rent (depending on the type of accommodation): 700–2,000 EUR/month
- Monthly utilities: 180–220 EUR
- Monthly transportation pass (metro, train, bus): 57 EUR
- 3-course meal for two at a mid-range restaurant: 46 EUR
- Milk: 1.33 EUR
- Loaf of bread: 1 EUR
About United Arab Emirates
The United Arab Emirates, in the eastern part of the Arabian Peninsula, extends along part of the Gulf of Oman and the southern coast of the Persian Gulf. Its neighbours are Saudi Arabia to the west and south, Qatar to the north, and Oman to the east. Most of the land is barren and sandy.
Interesting facts about the United Arab Emirates
- The Dubai police in the United Arab Emirates drives around in style, rollin’ in Lamborghinis and Ferraris – just so they can catch speeders.
- Cash machines in Dubai dispense gold bars.
- The United Arab Emirates once donated laptops to every high school student, in Joplin Missouri after a devastating hurricane.
- Instead of a sewer system, Dubai uses trucks to haul away…sewage. Gross.
Universities, colleges and schools in United Arab Emirates
- University of Paris (2 Masters)
- United Arab Emirates University (40 Masters)
- NYU Tandon School of Engineering (Polytechnic Institute) (3 Masters)
- Mohamed bin Zayed University of Artificial Intelligence (5 Masters)
- Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi (11 Masters)
- Abu Dhabi University (30 Masters)
- Ecole Nationale de l'Aviation Civile (ENAC) (1 Master)
- INSEAD - The Business School for the World (2 Masters)
- Khalifa University (20 Masters)
- Zayed University (6 Masters)
- United Arab Emirates University (40 Masters)
- The British University in Dubai (9 Masters)
- Les Roches (1 Master)
- City, University of London - Bayes Business School (24 Masters)
- Middlesex University Dubai (34 Masters)
- Heriot-Watt University (38 Masters)
- RIT Dubai (7 Masters)
- Strathclyde Business School International Centres (1 Master)
- University of Birmingham Dubai (28 Masters)
- The University of Manchester (2 Masters)
- University of Dubai (10 Masters)
- SDA Bocconi School of Management (1 Master)
- American University in Dubai (13 Masters)
- Canadian University of Dubai (5 Masters)
- Swiss School Of Business and Management (2 Masters)
- Emirates Aviation University (9 Masters)
- Parsons School of Design - The New School (1 Master)
- Hamdan Bin Mohammed Smart University (11 Masters)
- Heriot-Watt University Dubai (54 Masters)
- Institute of Management Technology Dubai (1 Master)
- Hult International Business School (7 Masters)
- University of Europe for Applied Sciences (13 Masters)
- London Business School Dubai (1 Master)
- Abu Dhabi University (30 Masters)
- Birla Institute of Technology and Science (14 Masters)
Ra’s al Khaymah
- Ras Al Khaimah - Academic Centre (5 Masters)
Interested in scholarships for United Arab Emirates? Check out our scholarship search page.
How to Apply to a Master's in United Arab Emirates
If you've decided to study a Master's degree at a university in United Arab Emirates, you will have to gather the right documents to prove that you fit the university requirements. Provide complete personal information, previous qualifications, financial information, and a personal statement.
What documents do I need to provide to apply in United Arab Emirates?
To apply to a university in United Arab Emirates you will likely be asked to provide some of the following documents:
- birth certificate;
- recent photos;
- your passport or national identity card;
- one or more reference letters from past employers or teachers;
- copies of past diplomas or certificates, including your graduated Bachelor's degree;
- academic transcripts;
- letter of intent;
- Curriculum Vitae;
- Some form of proof that you can support your stay in the country during your studies.
Depending on the subject or specialization of your chosen Master's, you might also be asked to provide scores for additional tests like the GRE, GMAT or LSAT. Check if your programme requires any of these, or others.
The list of documents depends on the specific requirements of universities in United Arab Emirates so you might be asked to include additional documents. It’s also likely you’ll have to provide official English translations of your documents, or translations in the local language.
Prove your English skills
Because you’ll study an international degree in English, you'll have to present a language certificate. Some popular options for international students are IELTS, TOEFL or C1 Advanced language certificates. You’ll have to meet a minimum language score set by the university, and your test scores shouldn’t be older than 1-2 years. If you don’t meet the minimum language requirements, you will have to improve your skills and scores by taking an English preparation course.
Application deadlines for United Arab Emirates
The deadlines for applying to a Master's in United Arab Emirates are usually during summer (June-July), or in winter (January-February). Keep in mind that some universities don’t have application deadlines, which means you can apply whenever you are ready.
To avoid delays or missed deadlines send your required documents with plenty of time in advance.