Top Universities in the UAE 2021


The United Arab Emirates can undoubtedly have its advantages for studies – the lifestyle, the sun, beaches, sea, prospective tax-free income after graduation, and, consistent with the World University Rankings, housing a plethora of the best universities in the Gulf region.

Commonly shortened to UAE, the United Arab Emirates is formed from seven states, or emirates (kind of sort of a much, much smaller version of the United States). As with states within the US, each emirate has a point of independence, but there’s also a federal. This is also known as the Supreme Council of Rulers which is formed from the seven emirs – the leaders of every emirate – who inherit their positions.

Since the 1950s, ever since oil was discovered in the region, the UAE’s economy has undergone a swift transformation. In addition to exporting oil and gas, the Emirates has focused on expanding its construction and leisure industry to such a level that they now go side by side – the remarkable accomplishments of recent design and construction extravaganza that are on display in Dubai are among the sought after attractions for visitors.

United Arab Emirates University

This institution is placed 284th in the international rankings, and the United Arab Emirates University comes fifth inside the Arab region ranking. It is located in the city of Al Ain which is within the Emirate of Abu Dhabi and is the oldest university in the UAE – though still comparatively young, it was established in 1976. The glittering alumni include many influential business and State leaders.

American University of Sharjah

The American University of Sharjah (AUS) is rated seventh in the Arab region rankings and jointly 348th in the international rankings. It is licensed to operate both in the UAE as well as in the United States, offering courses supported by the American model of higher education, and thereby becomes a popular choice among international students, resulting in a very varied student body. It is based in Sharjah. 

Khalifa University

Ranked joint 211th within the world and ninth within the 2021 Arab region rankings, Khalifa University may be a non-profit science-focused university that was founded in 2007 in Abu Dhabi as part of a government initiative. It currently teaches about 1,500 students, but plans for a new campus mean the university could teach up to 6,000 students in the future. The university is patterned around the American system of higher education and is forming a global network of associates, faculty members, and research programs to develop research and innovation in the UAE and its surrounding regions.

University of Sharjah

Established in 1997 by the Emir of Sharjah, Sultan bin Muhammad Al-Qasimi, the University of Sharjah ranks 601-650 in the QS World University Rankings and 16th in the Arab region rankings. The university aims to become a number one academic institution within the Middle East and around the world, and plays a crucial role in the socio-economic development of the emirate of Sharjah.

Zayed University

The Zayed University was formed in 1998 and is currently ranked around 700 in the QS World University Rankings 2019. It happens to be one of the top 150 young universities featured. It has nearly 6,500 students enrolled currently, with 158 international students. Undergraduate fees range between US$20,000 and US$22,000, while postgraduate fees rise to US$30,000.

American University in Dubai

The American University in Dubai (AUD) is a private university that was established in 1995, ranked 601-650 within the global rankings and 26th within the Arab region rankings. Around 2,585 students are enrolled, with 108 nationalities represented within the student body. The university has accreditation in both the United States and the UAE, for every one of its programs, and offers specialized English programs at its acclaimed Center for English Proficiency, to improve the language proficiencies of students prior to the commencement of their studies.

The University of Wollongong in Dubai (UOWD)

Initially established as the Institute of Australian Studies (IAS) by the University of Wollongong (UOW) in Australia in 1993, it made UOW Australia's first tertiary institution to be represented within the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and therefore the foremost international university to set up a campus in the UAE. Initially, it only offered very few English programs. But in 1995, it became a 'feeder college' where students completed some portion of a degree in IT or business, and then left for Australia to finish the program. In October 2000, the establishment was formally opened as UOW, Dubai Campus, and further to this, in 2004, it was officially established as the University of Wollongong in Dubai.

Situated in Knowledge Park, the University campus has a robust infrastructure and provides a plethora of educational and recreational facilities to its students. It offers over 45 undergraduate, postgraduate, language, foundation, short, and research programs in fields as diverse as management, business, engineering, sciences, languages, humanities, finance, accounting, health, and social sciences. The university is home to more than 3,500 students from 108 countries across the world and employs over 380 staff members from 49 different countries.

Heriot-Watt University

It enjoys a long-time reputation for world-class teaching and sensible, cutting-edge research. The University’s Dubai Campus is a satellite campus. Established in 2005, it had been the primary campus of a foreign university to open in Dubai International Academic City. After 180 years of providing world-renowned education within the UK, Heriot-Watt was invited to set up in Dubai to provide specialized programs in different fields, such as management, engineering, environmental studies, food science, and fashion. It has a sparkling new 218,000 sq. ft campus in Dubai Knowledge Park.

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