A Guide to the Best Universities in Dubai

With the endless sunshine, and the average temperatures rarely dropping below 19°C in the coldest months, it’s easy to see why Dubai is an enticing offer for both international and domestic students. Dubai’s academic offering is geared towards business, science, and technology, so if you’re looking to study one of those fields, you’re in the right place. It also helps that there are over 65 colleges and universities to choose from, so you’ll be sure to find somewhere that is to your liking.

Thanks to the number of branch campuses – local campuses of foreign universities – there is also a wide variety of degree styles to choose from, including American, British, and Australian structures.

We are partners with many of the great educational institutions in Dubai, and we understand it can be difficult to choose one to study at when you’re faced with so many wonderful options.

To help you narrow down your choices, we’ve put our educational knowledge to good use and listed the best universities in Dubai, along with why they are at the top of our list.

Al Ghurair University

Founded in 1999, Al Ghurair University is a private institution that offers both bachelor’s and master’s degree programmes to prospective students. It welcomes local and international students, and its International Student Services Programme (ISSP) will help take care of all your needs – including supporting your student visa. Having been founded by the Al Ghurair Group – a diverse business conglomerate – it comes as no surprise that the courses offered are geared towards vocational subjects with an emphasis on the employment prospects offered by each.

Why it’s one of the best: Aside from its reputation for academic excellence and its strong international collaborations, Al Ghurair University offers an eye-watering 50% discount on tuition fees for those with exceptional grades. The university also boasts an employability record for its graduates, with 85% in employment (or enrolled in a higher-degree course) within six months of graduation.

Travel time from Dubailand: 11-minute drive

University of Dubai

Established by the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI) in 1997, the University of Dubai was created to tackle the skills-gap in the workforce. Currently, it is one of the top accredited universities in the UAE, and was the first private university in Dubai to be recognised by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB). Locally, it is licensed by the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research (MOHESR) and it is internationally recognised for various programmes: computing, engineering, and technology.

Why it’s one of the best: The courses offered by the University of Dubai are certified by numerous professional bodies, so you can be sure that you’ll be getting a world-class education. Its AACSB accreditation alone puts it in the same league as Harvard Business School, the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), and Stanford University, to name a few.

Travel time from Dubailand: 13-minute drive

American University in Dubai

Situated close to Dubai Media City and the famous Palm Islands, the American University in Dubai offers numerous degrees that are accredited by the relevant professional bodies in America. So, it’s a great option if you’re looking to gain a degree that is internationally recognised, or if you’re studying away from home and are worried about your studies having the same status in your home country when you return. The university also runs an exchange programme with several partner institutions throughout the USA and Europe.

Why it’s one of the best: In the 2016 Global University Employability Rankings, it was listed in the top 150 best universities worldwide for providing work-ready graduates – not surprising, considering that its curriculum is known for being career-oriented.

Travel time from Dubailand: 29-minute drive

University of Wollongong in Dubai

Having been founded in 1993, you’d be surprised to learn that the Dubai campus of the University of Wollongong is one the oldest higher-education institutions in the UAE. Unlike the other universities, Wollongong offers an Australian style of teaching, and all of the degrees can be transferred to an Australian qualification once you graduate, as well as being locally recognised. Like many local campuses of foreign universities, Wollongong’s Dubai campus is located in Dubai Knowledge Park – a free-trade education zone.

Why it’s one of the best: With over 33 accredited programmes, the university offers a varied range of undergraduate and postgraduates studies. Wollongong also ranked 30th in the 2017 Times Higher Education Top 100 Young Universities, it has a particularly strong offering in business-related courses, and is the only one in Dubai to offer a Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) programme.

Travel time from Dubailand: 30-minute drive

British University in Dubai

Anyone looking to study a postgraduate programme in Dubai needs to look no further than BUID, the region’s first research-based postgraduate university. Established in 2004, it offers everything from postgraduate diplomas to PhDs. As the name implies, all courses are offered in a British standard, and are certified by MOHESR.

Why it’s one of the best: The university council includes members from Rolls-Royce and the British Business Group, to name just a couple, so it’s safe to say that it has strong ties to the business world. When it comes to the university’s academic pedigree, it holds partnerships with leading research universities in the UK, such as Edinburgh, Manchester, Glasgow, and Cardiff.

Travel time from Dubailand: 12-minute drive

Zayed University

One of the three government-sponsored universities in the UAE, Zayed University has the claim of being the first higher-education institution in the region to be internationally certified. It also boasts seven separate colleges, offering you a wide selection of programmes ranging from Animation Design to Information Technology.

Why it’s one of the best: The university was one of the first outside of the USA to be accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE), and one of only 16 overseas institutions that the commission recognises.

Travel time from Dubailand: 11-minute drive

Heriot-Watt University in Dubai

Located 20 minutes from Dubai’s business district, the Heriot-Watt campus is situated in the prestigious Dubai International Academic City (DIAC). As a branch campus of Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, programmes at the Dubai campus are taught and examined according to British standards. Thanks to this, you can transfer to the Scottish or Malaysian campus for part of your studies, because the degree courses are identical.

Why it’s one of the best: In the Times Higher Education World University Rankings ’16-’17, Heriot-Watt placed 39th in the world, and its Dubai campus will no doubt be a reflection of this. The university now offers over 50 postgraduate and undergraduate courses, and all graduates are eligible for membership in the prestigious Watt Club – one of the oldest alumni associations in the UK, offering professional development courses and networking opportunities.

Travel time from Dubailand: 15-minute drive

Canadian University in Dubai

Canadian University Dubai campus is easily accessible and centrally located in the heart of Dubai on Sheikh Zayed Road behind Shangri - La Hotel. Canadian University Dubai (CUD) has been delivering programs based upon the curriculum and principles of the world-renowned Canadian higher education system since 2006. All programs are accredited by the UAE Ministry of Education: Higher Education Affairs.

Why it’s one of the best: Canadian University Dubai offers Canadian curriculum-based education recognised internationally. You get an opportunity to study and graduate from any of the partner universities of CUD in Canada. They also offer flexible learning options with evening and weekend classes

Travel time from Dubailand: 20-minute drive

Middlesex University in Dubai

Middlesex University opened it’s first overseas campus in Dubai Knowledge Village, U.A.E in 2005. The university hosts students from over 100 nationalities and offers undergraduate and postgraduate programmes in a wide variety of subject areas. Students at Middlesex University Dubai have the option to transfer their studies to the London campus, or the opportunity to graduate in London. They also have the opportunity to transfer to our other campuses in Malta and Mauritius

Why it’s one of the best: Forbes Middle East Magazine, March 2012 issue has ranked the Middlesex MBA as the number one MBA in Dubai. Academic programmes in Dubai have the same validation and monitoring system as in London.

Travel time from Dubailand: 15-minute drive  

The best accommodation in Dubai

What better way to complement your studies at one of Dubai’s best universities than by staying in the best student accommodation that the city has to offer?

Our brand new Dubai location has everything you’ll need from your student accommodation, including unlimited air conditioning and a rooftop pool to help you keep cool.

Got your sights set on Dubai for your studies? Take a look at our local guide for what you can explore in the city centre, and get to know the Uninest story.