Students looking for a unique cultural experience while studying overseas should consider studying in the UAE to benefit from its culturally diverse population. However, its deeply entrenched Islamic culture and tradition may require some adjusting. Still, UAE’s education system is greatly influenced by the western higher education system, and in many universities, courses are taught in English. Another excellent aspect is that there are many scholarships at UAE that are being offered to international students.
The UAE’s massive investments in modern infrastructure and facilities have paid off; many multinational companies have located their regional offices in the UAE. Because of this, many internships and part-time work are available for international students, and there is even more full-time work available after graduation.
UAE’s position as a travel hub also makes it easy for the adventurous international student to travel to Africa, Asia and Europe, and other equally attractive regional destinations.
Living Costs in the United Arab Emirates for International Students
The tuition fees in the UAE may be a bit expensive. Undergraduate tuition fees cost between USD 10,200 to USD 20,500 per year, and a postgraduate degree may cost between USD 15,000 and USD 20,500 per year. Some universities offer scholarship programs, tuition fee waivers, and financial assistance arrangements to ease the burden for international students.
In order to receive a residence visa, international students are required to secure health insurance which costs around USD 2,700 per year.
Another substantial cost to consider is the accommodation. On-campus and off-campus housing for international students is widely available in the UAE. Rental prices will vary according to location, but one can expect to pay at least USD 600 to as much as USD 2000 per year for on-campus accommodation. Rent for off-campus accommodation may range between USD 8,000 to USD 16,000 per year, but the students may share the rent to bring the cost down. Many rentals include utilities and internet in the rent; if this is not the case, the student may need around USD 250 per month to cover electricity, gas, water, and the internet.
Compared to rent, food and daily items are more affordable. A monthly budget of USD 300 to USD 800 is sufficient to cover basic groceries, transportation, and entertainment.
Can international students work in the UAE?
Since 2016, international students in UAE may secure work permits for training, internship, or part-time employment. All students under 18 need written consent from their guardians in order to apply for work permits. UAE laws allow students as young as 12 years old to secure a work permit for training, and students as young as 15 years can get a work permit for the private sector.
There are many internship opportunities available on-campus and off-campus. A temporary work permit allows an international student to be employed off-campus in a project not exceeding six months.
A part-time work permit allows an international student to work off-campus for a period not more than one year. All students between 15 and 18 years old are issued juvenile work permits, valid for a maximum period of one year.
Top Universities in Country:
The top five universities in the UAE, with their respective QS World University 2024 Rankings are; Khalifa University (211), United Arab Emirates University in Al Ain (284), American University in Sharjah (348), American University in Dubai (601-650), and University of Sharjah (601–650).
Khalifa University is a research-intensive university specializing in science, engineering, and medicine. The university has 18 research centers, 228 laboratories, making it one of the top 10 universities in the Arab region.
The United Arab Emirates University is UAE’s oldest. This university is located in Al Ain, and it has a student body of 14,000, which makes it the UAE’s largest university. The university offers a wide breadth of courses in science, engineering, education, medicine, business, agriculture, humanities, IT, and law.
The remaining top Emirati universities are all private universities established in the late 1990s. The University of Sharjah is the largest among the three universities, with around 12,000 students, while the other two universities have less than 5,000 students.
Best Scholarships in the United Arab Emirates
Khalifa University offers one of the scholarship programs in UAE for undergraduate and postgraduate programs. The following are the scholarships available to full-time postgraduate international students.
The Master Research Teaching Scholarship provides a full tuition fee waiver, medical insurance coverage, a monthly stipend of AED 4,000, travel allowance, and research support.
The Medical Scholarship for international students is offered to all students who want to pursue graduate studies in medicine at Khalifa University. The grantees receive a scholarship package that includes a full tuition fee, research support, accommodation, and book allowance.
The Combined Master/Doctoral Research Teaching Scholarship is open to international students who are committed to pursuing both master’s and Doctorate degrees at Khalifa University. The scholarship provides full-tuition fees, medical insurance, research support, transportation allowance, accommodation or accommodation allowance, monthly allowance of AED 8,000 during Masteral degree, and AED 12,000 during Doctorate degree.
Finally, the Doctoral Research Teaching Scholarship is awarded to students enrolled in a Doctorate degree. The scholarship includes a full tuition fee, medical insurance, research support, transportation allowance, university accommodation or accommodation allowance, and a monthly allowance of AED 12,000.
The UAEU provides full and partial tuition scholarships to international undergraduate students. To qualify for the full tuition fee scholarship, a prospective student must meet the required minimum scores for Arabic and English language proficiency, Math SAT Subject Test, or equivalent. This means that students are expected to score at least 6.5 on their IELTS exam, equivalent to 1550 in EmSat.
This United Arab Emirates scholarship is valid for the duration of the whole course provided that the scholar maintains a GPA of 3.8/4.00 and completes at least 15 credit hours in each academic term. Students who have lower scores in any of the above eligibility requirements may still qualify for a 50 percent tuition fee waiver.
The American University in Dubai has several scholarships for undergraduate and postgraduate studies looking to study at this institution at UAE. The H.H. Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Scholarship has undergraduate and postgraduate components open to all nationalities.
The undergraduate scholarship award offers partial or full tuition fee waivers to students in need with at least a 90% grade average in high school. The scholarship covers two semesters but may be extended until the student graduates if the student complies with eligibility conditions.
The scholarship for graduate study requires a minimum of 3.0 undergraduate GPA. In addition, GMAT/GRE scores, work experience, financial need, application statement, and career objectives are also factored into the evaluation. The scholarship provides partial to a full tuition waiver and is initially granted for two semesters but is renewable subject to compliance with requirements.
AUS offers a wide range of categories of scholarships to bachelor and postgrad students, with the opportunity to do research and be employed. These scholarships at UAE are provided to students of any nationality, gender, religion, or race, and academic merit or other talents are the factors relevant in the award process.
AUS designed its bachelor scholarships for students with high academic merit or recognized community engagement and low financial status. They offer three distinguishable scholarships: Chancellor’s Scholars Award, Merit Scholarships, and Sharakah School Scholarship.
These scholarships offer a reduction of 75 to 100 percent of the tuition, lab, and housing fees, for the new first-time students. The merit-based program accepts students who have a minimum grade point average of 95 percent in the last three years of high school may apply for the scholarship. Moreover, Chancellor’s Scholarships are evaluated according to the applicant’s financial need, community service and engagement, and leadership abilities.
Continuing students can opt for a variety of options, from merit-based to athlete’s scholarships. In addition, master’s and Ph.D. students have numerous opportunities to do research, become assistants, and even find employment while pursuing their degrees.
The Canadian University in Dubai offers undergrad and postgrad scholarships to students of all nationalities. CUD’s curriculum follows the Canadian national standard. Their bachelor’s scholarships can be provided based on merit, limited financial status, special needs or unique talents, or sports.
For new students, this UAE scholarship ranges from 20 to 50 percent based on their high school degree average. The tuition fee waivers range from 10 to 50 percent for the returning students based on their cumulative grade point average.