How to Study in the Top Universities in UAE?

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. 

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

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: 

University QS World University Rankings 2023 Popular course Course Duration Tuition fee
Khalifa University 181 Bachelor of Science in Petroleum engineering 4 years/139 credit hours AED 3,333/credit hour
United Arab Emirates University 296 Bachelor of Science in Petroleum engineering 4 years/147 hours AED 2,500/credit hour
American University of Sharjah 369 Bachelor of Architecture 5 years AED 100,940/year
Canadian University Dubai 541-550 Bachelor of Business Administration in International Business 4 years/123 credit hours AED 68,386.50/year
Al Ain University 601-650 Cybersecurity 123 credit hours AED 1,050/credit hour
University of Sharjah 601-650 Bachelor of Electrical and Electronics Engineering 4 years/123 credit hours AED 63,351/year
Abu Dhabi University 651-700 Bachelor of Business Administration 4 years/120 credit hours AED 187,380
Ajman University 651-700 Bachelor of Interior Design 125 credit hours AED 1,430/credit hour
American University in Dubai 701-750 Bachelor of Arts in Psychology 4 years AED 4,074/credit hour
Zayed University 701-750 BFA Visual Arts 3 years AED 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. 

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


Are there any top universities in the UAE for masters?

Yes. 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.

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