Study in United Arab Emirates

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) are made up of the seven autonomous emirates:

  • Abu Dhabi
  • Ajman
  • Dubai
  • Fujairah
  • Ras Al Khaimah
  • Sharjah
  • Umm al-Qaiwain

Geographical location of the UAE

According to collegesanduniversitiesinusa, the United Arab Emirates are located on the east coast of the Arabian Peninsula and border Qatar to the northwest, Saudi Arabia to the south and Oman to the east. In the north, the Persian Gulf forms the natural border. The prevailing climatic conditions are extreme: On the coast it gets up to 50 degrees and the humidity can be almost 100 percent. Inland it is just as hot, but dry. In addition, there are sometimes dry desert winds and sandstorms.

Population in the UAE

In terms of their position, the emirates can be compared with autonomous states. The federation was founded in 1971, its capital is Abu Dhabi in the emirate of the same name. Today almost 5 million people live in the UAE, of which the locals (the so-called locals) are only a minority. They make up only 10 to 20 percent of the population, while the remainder of the population is made up of migrant workers from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Europe and North Americaconsists. Many young people who want to study in the United Arab Emirates are now also drawn there. A comparison with the year it was founded shows how enormously the population has increased. At the time it was estimated at 180,000.

UAE economy and culture

The United Arab Emirates stand for a modern infrastructure and a successfully emerging economy. At the same time, they embody traditional structures and certain religious, cultural and political values. In the last 30 years in particular, the federation has experienced a massive economic boom. It went mainly from the oil industry, since the seventh largest oil deposits in the world are located in the national territory. This also explains the immense wealth of the emirates.

However, since the oil boom cannot continue indefinitely, the UAE are increasingly turning towards other economic sectors. They concentrate on the construction and tourism industry, trade and various (high) technologies. The federal government is particularly committed to improving the educational situation and establishing the UAE as a top university location on the Persian Gulf. Not least because of this, more and more international students are drawn to the United Arab Emirates to study.

University landscape in the UAE

The majority of the UAE budget now goes into the education sector. In this way, qualified young people should be brought up in their own country. In addition to literacy campaigns and the introduction of modern teaching methods, the measures taken by the government also relate to the establishment of new universities and cooperation with foreign countries.

State Universities

So far there are three state universities in the UAE. The oldest university is the United Arab Emirates University in al-Ain in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi from 1976. So far, only locals have been allowed to study at it. The other two state universities are the University of Sharjah in the Emirate of Sharjah, founded in 1997, and the Zayed University with branches in Dubai (1998) and Abu Dhabi (2011).

Higher Colleges of Technology

In addition to the universities, the Higher Colleges of Technology (HCT) with 17 different locations in all seven emirates play a major role. These technical universities are the largest educational institutions in the UAE and provide practice-oriented training in English.


Numerous private start-ups have joined state institutions in recent years. They represent an answer to the increasing population and applicant numbers in the Emirates. Renowned, international educational and research institutions are increasingly being won as partners, which bring know-how and prestige with them.

In the meantime, some campus branches have settled in the UAE’s university landscape. One of the oldest offshoots is the American University in Dubai from 1995, which has now been privatized and managed autonomously. Other well-known branches are, for example, New York University in Abu Dhabi or the Paris Sorbonne, which is also based there.

On the one hand it attracts the economic importance of the emirates, on the other hand it is the high proportion of foreigners, the modern infrastructure and the cheap rents. The universities are funded by business, private individuals or sheikhs. They themselves, in turn, attract international students to study in the United Arab Emirates by awarding scholarships and generously waiving tuition fees.

“Knowledge District”

A special feature of the university landscape in the UAE are the districts in which numerous international institutions are concentrated. These include, for example, the Dubai Knowledge Village founded in 2003. With its more than 400 institutions, it is located in the middle of the free trade zone and the technology park in Dubai. The even larger Dubai International Academic City can even be described as a “knowledge city”.

Gender segregation in the UAE

There is gender segregation at public universities and HCTs, compliance with which is rigorously monitored. Visible barriers, separate usage times for the library and separate lectures are normal here. Male lecturers are allowed to teach female students. There is usually no gender segregation at the international universities in the Emirates.

Study in United Arab Emirates

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