Higher Education System in the UAE: What You Need to Know

Higher Education System in the UAE: What You Need to Know

Higher Education System in the UAE: What You Need to Know

In recent years, the number of foreign students in the UAE keeps on increasing making it one of the top study destinations, not only in Asia but in the world. In fact, in 2016, according to UNESCO, the UAE welcomed around 77,463 foreign students to the country. 

One of the many reasons for this is due to the higher education system in the UAE, along with its universities, which has been rising for quite a while now, promising top-notch education to foreign students. 

If you are thinking about studying in the UAE for a higher degree or a short-term study program, here are some of the things you need to know about the country’s higher education system. 

The UAE Has Only Three Government Higher Educational Institution (HEI)

If you are planning to apply to a state institution, expect very high competition as there are only three of them in the whole UAE. the following are the only government institution in the country: 

  • UAE University – the country’s flagship university.
  • Zayed University – originally a university for women, but throughout the years, has begun accepting male students. The primary language in this institution is English.
  • Higher Colleges of Technology – the largest HEI in the country with its four campuses.

Aside from those three, most of the top-notch institutions in the UAE are privately owned and are even sought after by foreign students due to many of them being internationally accredited, such as the American University of Sharjah, Khalifa University, and the American University in Dubai. Aside from its public HEIs, many of the UAE’s private universities also belong to the QS World University Rankings. In fact, in 2022, eight of them ranked in this list. 

UAE is Home to Various International Universities

Throughout the years, the national government of the UAE, and its individual Emirates have created various partnerships with many US institutions to make higher education in the country better. At the same time, the partnerships promote exchanges between American and Arab cultures. One of the products of these partnerships is the establishment of international university campuses or study programs in the UAE. 

Some prominent universities that have decided to build their campuses in the UAE are the following: 

  • New York University in Abu Dhabi 
  • The Rochester Institute of Technology in Dubai 
  • The Sorbonne in Abu Dhabi 
  • Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, on the other hand, is assisting in the creation of a public health doctoral program in the UAE

You Don’t Need to Learn Arabic to Study in the UAE

Although it would be good to learn a new language such as Arabic, learning it to get into a UAE university is unnecessary. This is because most of the country’s HEIs have their own English programs.

When it comes to talking with the locals, like most Emiratis, especially in the city, many can speak in English. Plus, the country has a huge expat population. In fact, there are more expats in the UAE than Emiratis.  

Also, just like other education systems in the world, the higher education system in the UAE is heavily influenced by western systems, so most people, especially in the academe, can speak in English. 

Learn more about the UAE as a student destination by checking out MSM Unify’s articles about the UAE. To start, check out our article on 4 Reasons Why the UAE is a Thriving Study Destination.


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