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Top Universities in UAE: Ranking, Fees, Scholarships

Updated on 27 March, 2024

Bulbul Sharma

Bulbul Sharma

Manager- Content @upGrad

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) came into existence just over half a century ago. 

Since then, the country has housed an unprecedented number of expats from around 200 nationalities. 

No wonder the nation has a comforting, welcoming vibe and rich culture. Both these factors play a pivotal role in inviting international students and offering them an educational environment where they can thrive. Needless to say, the top colleges in UAE draw thousands of students from across the globe. 

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General Eligibility Criteria 

UAE has an incredibly sorted education system, wherein two public and over 80 private universities exist. These private universities in UAE are popular among students due to their global recognition. 

Some of the best universities in the UAE offer bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees. 

Most top colleges in the UAE have an online application submission procedure. So, an individual must find the official university website to access the admission process. 

Generally, universities require the following documents to prove eligibility to apply to the degree course:

  • A properly filled application with proof of paid application fee
  • High school passing certificate (if applying for a bachelor’s degree)
  • Bachelor’s diploma (if applying for master’s course)
  • Passport-size photographs
  • Transcripts of academic records
  • Personal identification cards
  • Statement of Purpose
  • Letters of Recommendation

Specific language proficiency test results like TOEFL, IELTS, or PTE Academic might also be required. 

Students keen on studying in any of the top-ranked universities in UAE would also need to file for a student visa. For the same, the individual must be over 18 years of age and possess a/an: 

  • Medical fitness test
  • Written approval of the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs
  • Official letter from visa sponsor (could be the university or any other relative)
  • Valid passport with two blank visa pages and its photocopies
  • Passport size photographs
  • Admission offer letter
  • Bank statement to show financial stability
  • Tenancy agreement
  • A photocopy of the tuition fee receipt
  • Visa fee receipt
  • Copy of undergraduate degree, if applying for master’s course
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Top Colleges and Universities in UAE

Let’s look at the top 10 best universities in UAE, along with their popular courses and tuition fee: 

UniversityQS World University Rankings 2023Popular courseCourse DurationTuition fee
Khalifa University181Bachelor of Science in Petroleum engineering4 years/139 credit hoursAED 3,333/credit hour
United Arab Emirates University296Bachelor of Science in Petroleum engineering4 years/147 hoursAED 2,500/credit hour
American University of Sharjah369Bachelor of Architecture5 yearsAED 100,940/year
Canadian University Dubai541-550Bachelor of Business Administration in International Business4 years/123 credit hoursAED 68,386.50/year
Al Ain University601-650Cybersecurity123 credit hoursAED 1,050/credit hour
University of Sharjah601-650Bachelor of Electrical and Electronics Engineering4 years/123 credit hoursAED 63,351/year
Abu Dhabi University651-700Bachelor of Business Administration4 years/120 credit hoursAED 187,380
Ajman University651-700Bachelor of Interior Design125 credit hoursAED 1,430/credit hour
American University in Dubai701-750Bachelor of Arts in Psychology4 yearsAED 4,074/credit hour
Zayed University701-750BFA Visual Arts3 yearsAED 2,500/credit hour

Academic Cycle

The admission intake cycle of every university differs. But, in general, the top universities in UAE follow the same pattern as the west.

Admissions run in two, sometimes three cycles.

One is the fall semester. Its application deadline concludes in late February or early March. Then, there is a spring cycle that closes its applications by October or November. 

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Cost of Attendance

Students excited to partake in a prestigious university in UAE must stay apprised of the pre-arrival and post-arrival cost of living. 

Firstly, students who have applied to top universities in UAE for their bachelor’s, and moving to the country for the first time, need to apply for a student visa. It will only be issued to individuals over 18 years and enrolled in one of the UAE universities.

This visa will cost AED 100 during the first time issue and renewal. Moreover, it will only be valid for one year. 

Once in UAE, an individual student can expect expenses of around AED 10,394 per month. These expenditures include clothes, food, personal care, transportation, health, entertainment, etc.


Top Recruiters

UAE is a place of intersection where the crossroads of modernity and tradition meet. In a diverse country like this, the list of opportunities is endless. While the cost of living might be on the steep side, the living standards and job quality make up for it.

Here is a list of big-shot business companies in Dubai that hire fresh university graduates:

  • Amazon
  • PwC
  • EY
  • HSBC
  • KPMG
  • Oracle
  • Deloitte

Career Prospects

Let’s look at some of the best-paying career pathways and the expected salaries that one might receive in UAE:

  • Social media marketing – AED 5,150/month
  • Nursing – AED 7,000/month
  • Translator – AED 7,500/month
  • Engineer – AED 8,000/month
  • Architect – AED 9,000/month

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Are there any top universities in the UAE for masters?

UAE is an excellent place to further your graduate studies in fields like politics, science, and technology. Students can enroll in renowned colleges like United Arab Emirates University, Zayed University, Khalifa University, etc.

Which UAE city is the best for students?

As per QS Best Student Cities Ranking (10th edition), Dubai is ranked 51st worldwide. It’s the best city in all of Arab for higher education and good quality of life.

Is the UAE expensive for students?

Tuition in UAE is moderately expensive, depending on your college choice and degree course. One can expect to spend anywhere between AED 60,000-1,00,000 yearly.




Are there any scholarships in the UAE for Indian students?

There are a few UAE scholarships for Indian students, like United Arab Emirates University International Scholarships, Canadian University of Dubai International Scholarships, Graduate Research/Teaching Assistant Scholarship, etc.

Bulbul Sharma

Manager- Content @upGrad

Bulbul is a self-driven professional and an expert writer & editor. She has been a part of the ed-tech industry for the past 2 years now and is motivated to provide study abroad aspirants with factually correct and relevant information. Her knack for impactful writing makes her blogs worth a read!

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