Universities in Dubai, UAE

Photo of a modern city skyline with high rise buildings at sunset

Dubai is known for its high rise building and ultramodern architecture.

Dubai is the largest city in the United Arab Emirates with a population of nearly 3.5 million residents. Located on the coast of the Persian Gulf in the Middle East, Dubai has grown rapidly in the last three decades as a hub for tourism, luxury and retail.

Today, Dubai is a major centre for tourism, aviation, financial services and real estate businesses. Dubai’s neighbouring city of Sharjah, meanwhile, functions as a hub for trade, construction and product manufacturing.

Dubai is well-known as a truly global city, with nearly 85% of the urban population being foreign-born residents. Additionally, English is widely spoken by most Dubai residents and this makes exploring the city an easy task for travellers.

Dubai offers excellent public infrastructure and public safety in a very well-organised and truly multicultural urban environment for its residents. Named the most liveable city in the Middle East by the Economist magazine, Dubai is home to the latest technologies in public transport, architecture, digital connectivity and recreational activities.

Top Universities in Dubai

American University of Sharjah

Established in 1997, the American University of Sharjah offers 92 degree programmes across levels based on the American liberal arts model. The university is home to over 4,000 enrolled students including nearly 3,200 international students.

The university’s primary campus is located in the University City area of Sharjah, less than half an hour from downtown Dubai. Like universities in the USA, the American University places special focus on active learning for its international students and maintains a vibrant atmosphere with plenty of recreational events on campus. The university follows the 4-year undergraduate degree and semester model typical of American universities.

In a short time, the American University has developed a world-class reputation, especially in subjects such as Architecture and Civil Engineering, where it ranks in the QS Global top 150.

American University in Dubai

Founded in 1995 and accredited as an independent university by the Southern association of colleges and schools, the American University in Dubai is home to just over 1,500 students including nearly 1,300 international admits. The university is especially well-known for its world-class Master of Business Administration program, designed in partnership with the SC Johnson College of Business at Cornell University.

Canadian University Dubai

Founded in 2006, Canadian University Dubai is the first licensed Canadian university outside of Canada. The university offers degrees according to the Canadian university curriculum, and is well-known for offering the latest research & innovation facilities as well as equipment to its student researchers. The university recently relocated its primary campus to a brand-new facility in Dubai’s City Walk area.

International students looking to pursue post-graduation employment abroad will be especially interested in Canadian University Dubai, because it offers you the chance to complete your degree at a partner Canada-based university. This means you will benefit from Canada’s attractive post-graduate employment visas and job opportunities.

The university is well-regarded for its high-quality degree programmes in technological fields such as computer engineering and cyber security. Nearly 800 international students form the majority of the university’s total enrolment of 1,050 students.

University of Sharjah

The University of Sharjah was established in 1997, and offers 86 degree programmes to over 12,000 enrolled students, including over 7,000 international admits. The university maintains more than 30 technical partnerships with top-ranked universities around the world, and operates multiple advanced research facilities, such as the Sharjah Centre for Astronomy and Space Sciences.

Sharjah is ranked 89th globally in the Times Higher Education Young University Rankings 2022, for universities less than fifty years old. The university also offers joint degrees in partnerships with universities in Canada, Japan, Australia, USA and the United Kingdom.

The University of Sharjah’s primary campus is located in the city centre of Dubai, in addition to two satellite campuses in the nearby towns of Kalba and Khorfakkan. The university inaugurated a campus solely for female students in 2012.

Ajman University

Established in 1988, Ajman University is home to nearly 5,000 enrolled students including over 4,000 international students. Ajman was the first private university in the UAE to admit international students.

Situated in the Al Jurf area of Ajman, the university is less than 20 minutes north of Sharjah and about an hour from Dubai. Ajman University offers excellent sporting, cultural and entertainment resources on an activity-filled campus, with more than 100 organisations & clubs run by students from over 70 nationalities.

Ajman University has partnered with multiple world-leading universities to ensure high academic standards and course quality. These include the University of Florida, Jordan University of Science and Technology, and the University of Nottingham in the UK.

Dubai Universities World Ranking 2022

Below are the top-ranked Dubai universities for international students, with their ranks in two of the world’s most well-respected international university rankings, the QS 2022 University World rankings and the Times Higher Education 2022 Rankings.

For more information about rankings systems and methodologies see our University rankings explained guide.

UniversityQS World Ranking 2022Times Higher Education Ranking 2022QS Rank in UAETHE Rank in UAE
American University of Sharjah=383801-1,00035
American University in Dubai601-6504
Canadian University Dubai601-6505
University of Sharjah601-650401-50063
Ajman University701-7509

List of other top-ranked Colleges & Universities in Dubai

In addition to the five top-ranked universities above, Dubai is also home to multiple world-class institutes specialising in fields such as business administration and engineering, as well as a large collection of satellite campuses of world-class foreign universities. A few of Dubai’s additional top-ranked institutes and universities are:

  • Khalifa University
  • Dubai Men’s College
  • University of Wollongong in Dubai
  • The British University in Dubai
  • Al Ghurair University
  • Rochester Institute of Technology – Dubai
  • Murdoch University Dubai
  • Middlesex University Dubai
  • Heriot-Watt University Dubai
  • Islamic Azad University
  • Emirates Academy of Hospitality Management
  • Dubai Medical College for Girls
  • S P Jain School of Global Management
  • Emirates Aviation University
  • Birla Institute of Technology & Science, Pilani – Dubai
  • Curtin University Dubai
  • Hult International Business School Dubai

Tuition and Living Costs in Dubai

Because most of Dubai’s public and private universities set their own tuition fees, you can expect a wide range of tuition fees as an international student. Generally, you will pay between 5,000 and 30,000 US Dollars every year.

Murdoch University Dubai estimates that you will require a budget of 1,000-1,300 US Dollars every month as living expenses in Dubai. This budget includes 500-650 US Dollars for shared accommodation, 400-550 US Dollars for food expenses, another 60-80 US Dollars for public transport and utilities, as well as 100-150 US Dollars for entertainment and miscellaneous expenses.

Current UAE student visa rules enable you to work while studying in Dubai for no longer than four consecutive hours each day. Many international students find excellent part-time employment and internship opportunities at major employers and businesses all over Dubai in order to offset tuition and living expenses.

Life in Dubai for International Students

Dubai is filled with plenty of exciting activities for you to enjoy away from the classroom. In the last twenty years, Dubai has truly become a global centre for futuristic entertainment, world-class cultural events and sporting venues.

Dubai’s international airport, home to Emirates Airlines, connects you with nearly all of the world’s major cities. London and Paris are about eight hours away by flight, and New York is fifteen hours away. Flights to India take about three hours, while Beijing is about eight hours away by plane.

The city’s central location allows for quick journeys and short vacations to Europe, Asia and Africa. Meanwhile in Dubai, the city’s excellent road and train network enables fast travel within the city, as well as to the neighbouring megacity of Abu Dhabi.

You can always enjoy a sunny day at one of Dubai’s various beaches, and the city’s architecture will leave you amazed with some of the world’s tallest buildings located all over parts of Dubai.

Below are the must-see attractions that you should enjoy as an international student in Dubai:

  • Burj Khalifa
  • Burj Al Arab
  • Ski Dubai
  • Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo
  • Dubai Miracle Garden
  • Wild Wadi Water Park
  • Dubai Creek
  • Dubai Gold Souk
  • Dubai Frame
  • Dubai Museum
  • Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood
  • Bollywood Parks Dubai
  • Ain Dubai
  • Kite Beach
  • Museum of The Future

Dubai offers you the chance to live in a true city of the future, where you can enjoy the latest in digital technologies, tourism and travel while residing in an safe and immigrant-friendly urban environment with easy access to cities all over the world.

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