Top Universities in the UAE

Studying abroad has its own benefits, and when it is the United Arab Emirates, it can be manifold. Little known UAE boasts of some of the best universities in the Gulf Region. Discovery of oil in 1950 has transformed the whole region into a commercial and tourist hub. Additionally, it has emerged as a destination for international students in some of the finest universities in the region. UAE is made of seven emirates enjoying a fair amount of autonomy under a Federal Government.

Top Universities in UAE:

There are a number of universities which have been ranked by the QS World University of Rankings and a few in the Arab Region University Rankings. Let us check out some of the top ranked universities in UAE.

UAE University: The University is located in the city of Al Ain in Abu Dhabi. It is the oldest university in the country but fairly young by international standards. Established in1976, it is ranked 5th among the Arab Region universities and has a global ranking of 390. Its illustrious alumni are presently leaders in government and business.

American University of Sharjah (AUS): The name itself is suggestive of the location of the university. The USP of this university is that it is licensed both in UAE and the USA offering courses designed in the same model as in higher education in the USA. Being a popular destination for international students, it has a rank of 8 in the Arab region and 411 in global ranking.

Khalifa University:It was founded only in 2007 with a focus on science. It was established under government patronage as a non-profit university in the state of Abu Dhabi. Presently hosting about 1500 students it aims to augment its capacity to cater to 6000 students in future. Modeled on the US structure of higher education its rank in the Arab Region stands at 21 and global rank of 451.

American University in Dubai (AUD): It is a private university established in 1995 presently hosting about 2600 students from 108 countries. All its programs are accredited by both USA and UAE. Its rank in the Arab region is 26 whereas the global ranking is 601.  

University of Sharjah: Established by The Emir of Sharjah in 1997, its objective is to emerge as a leading center of learning in the world, particularly in the Middle East. Playing an important role in the socio-economic development of the Emirate, it enjoys an Arab ranking of 21 and a global ranking of 701+. 

Zayed University: Established in 1998, it hasa student enrolment of 6500. It has a global rank of 701+ and is under 50 in local ranking.

Application Process for top Universities in UAE:

The application process across all universities in UAE is online to be completed by the months of May/June before the commencement of the session. The process requires submission of application, transcripts of academic credentials, references, valid passport and proof of English Proficiency either of IELTS or TOEFL. However, it is best to ascertain the eligibility criteria and application procedure as it may vary across universities.

Indicative Fees:

The universities set their own tuition fees which are comparatively on the higher side. As an indication it may vary from US$13070 to US$32670 depending on the course of study.

Student Visa:

An important document for study in a UAE university, a student visa is issued initially for a period of 1 year, subject to compliance of regulations. A Student Visa is issued only finding a sponsor who is a resident of UAE. In the absence of any in the country, suitable sponsor is arranged by the chosen university. The requisite fees for visa are US$820 and a deposit of US$270.

Bottom Line:

The oil boom has been responsible for the emergence of UAE as a viable option for studies attracting international students. Though ruled by hereditary Emirs, the society is fairly open and tolerant. The locals comprise on 13% of the population and the rest are expats. A popular destination for international students, it is important to be aware of local laws and customs for a seamless learning experience in UAE. Looking for study in UAE? Check courses, fees, visa, scholarships &universities to study in UAE at

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