Study in Dubai guide for international students

Dubai is a top emerging destination for Indian and other international students. Several top universities in the city offer MBA, engineering, finances & accounting and other programs. Find out more about studying in Dubai.

Dubai is not the first destination that Indian students think of when they are scouting places to study abroad. But there are plenty of reasons to study in Dubai. While the things that most stand out about the city are its opulence, dazzling deserts, Gold Souk and modern architecture, it cannot be ignored as an emerging academic destination.

This Middle-Eastern city is home to some globally recognized education institutions. Many local institutions like the University of Dubai and Zayed University are well-known globally. But in addition, many non-sectarian and private educational institutions like the American University in Dubai cater to the large influx of foreign immigrants to the city. As a result, the higher education available in the city is at par with international standards.

In addition to the promise of quality education, there is the lure of tax-free employment right after completion that draws many students from around the world and India. In fact, Dubai's education industry is growing fast, and Indians can start taking advantage of it.

Since information about Dubai as an educational destination is not as widespread as information about studying in the UK or the US for instance, that is the scope of this article.

Study in Dubai guide for international students

Dubai's Top Universities

The city's American University in Dubai (AUD) is currently on the list of QS world rankings for higher education institutions, making it one of the top choices for students in the country. The city is also home to three universities that have won places in the top fifty higher education institutions in the Arab world. These include the University of Dubai and Zayed University, as mentioned earlier. The Emirates Aviation University, Dubai Medical College, the SP Jain School of Global Management, Murdoch University Dubai and the Birla Institute of Technology and Sciences (BITS Pilani – Dubai campus).

Application Process

Application processes varies depending on the university in question. The academic year at the AUD is usually in session from September to December (the Fall semesters) and January to April (the Spring semesters). There are also two summer sessions held from May to June and from July to August. Applications for admissions should be sent in accordingly.

The Heriot Watt University also has a branch in Dubai, being the first overseas university to open in Dubai International Academic City. Applications at the university are rolling, and all programs typically taking in students in September.

In general, you need to have a proof of English-language proficiency test score such as IELTS or TOEFL in order to apply for most Dubai universities. If you are applying for an MBA course, you will be expected to have a high GMAT score.

Top Courses to Study

Dubai has plenty of jobs to offer MBA graduates, so an MBA course is a good option for students. Manchester Business School, London Business School, HULT International Business School are some of the best institutes to earn an MBA degree from.

In addition, students in Dubai can also benefit from courses in engineering, medicine as well as accounts & finance. IT, arts, human resources, law, natural sciences and education are also popular options.


The cost of education in Dubai is far lower when compared to other popular student destinations like Australia, the UK, Singapore and the US. Nevertheless, for students who need external help with financing their Dubai education have a number of scholarships at their disposal. Some of these are offered by the University of Wollongong (UOWD), which is one of the oldest and most prestigious of Dubai's private universities. New and existing students are offered between 15 and 50 percent of their tuition costs by the UOWD scholarships.

The AUD also offers scholarships to international students, which includes the H.H. Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Scholarship and the MSCM Scholarship for Graduate Admissions.

Education cost in Dubai

International students wanting to study in Dubai can heave a sigh of relief because the cost of education in Dubai is relatively low when compared to institutions in the US, UK & Australia. An undergrad student studying Commerce will have to shell roughly AED156,000 (USD42,000) for a 3-year course. Similar courses in the US would set a student back by approximately USD23,000 annually. These are the charges at public universities. Private schools can charge close to USD31,250 per annum for undergraduate studies.

Applying for a Student Visa in Dubai

Prospective Indian students will have to apply for a student visa before they can begin their studies in Dubai. The student visa is valid for twelve months. It needs to be renewed each year until the course of study is complete. As in the rest of UAE, in Dubai students are granted the Student Entry Permit first, followed by the Student Residence Visa.

After you have received an Offer of Admission from a Dubai university, you can submit all relevant documents and apply for an entry visa. On arrival, you will need to go through biometric and medical tests, after which you will be granted your Student Residence Visa. Note that it is mandatory for students with a University Resident Student Visa to have medical insurance cover while they study.

Article by Juana
Juana is a freelance writer, with years of experience, creating content for varied online portals. She holds a degree in English Literature and has worked as a teacher and as a soft skill trainer. An avid reader, she writes on a variety of topics ranging from health, travel, education and personality development.

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