UAE is known all over the world as a shopping and luxurious tourist destination, but it also boasts of quality institutions offering career opportunities in management, finance and engineering. Students aspiring to study in UAE are aware that while being home to well-known domestic universities, the higher education space is covered by branches of top rated universities. With a population of 9.2 million including only 1.4 million Emirati citizens, studying in UAE can be an attractive prospect for international students seeking a global experience. UAE is one of the fastest growing economies in the world, fueled by growing trade and tourism. This presents a great opportunist to students from India to make a career in commerce and finance in an economy filled with opportunities. Students can work after study in UAE, getting a job in one of the growing sectors. Studying in UAE can be a gateway for students aspiring to experience the culture of middle east which is brimming with possibilities in business and hospitality sector.

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Study in UAE: Know top universities, courses and admission cycle


Study in UAE: Country Introduction

The United Arab Emirates or the Emirates is a monarchy sovereign state in Western Asia. Located at the southeast end of the Arabian Peninsula, UAE borders Oman to the east and Saudi Arabia to the south. Oil reserves of UAE are the seventh-largest in the world while its natural gas reserves are the seventeenth-largest. These factors along with the location makes UAE one of the trading hubs in the middle east and a regional and middle power.

The country is a federation of seven emirates where each emirate is governed by an absolute monarch; one of the monarchs is selected as the President of the United Arab Emirates. The UAE's economy is the most diversified in the Gulf Cooperation Council, being less reliant on oil and gas in the coming years and economically focusing on tourism and business. The most populous city of UAE, Dubai, is an important global city and an international aviation hub making it an attractive destination for students aspiring to study in UAE.

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Top Universities to study in UAE

The first four Higher Colleges of Technology (HCT) opened in the late 1980s to study in UAE. Despite opening recently, UAE boasts of eight universities listed in the QS World University Rankings 2019/18. Two more universities have been added to the rankings and all of the universities have moved up which is indicative of the level of growth in higher education quality. Khalifa University maintains its pole position, moving up in rankings by 130 positions. The glamorous region also boasts of top international university campuses, including, American University of Sharjah, Heriot Watt University, London Business School and Cass Business School, to name a few. For students aspiring to study in UAE, top universities like United Arab Emirates University, American University in Dubai etc come with other benefits like being part of a rich and happening cultural scene along with an exposure to an international crowd.


Top Universities to study in UAE (QS ranking)


QS Ranking




Khalifa University


451 – 460

United Arab Emirates University



American University of Sharjah



American University in Dubai



University of Sharjah



Abu Dhabi University



Zayed University



Ajman University



Study in UAE: Admission Cycle

Emirates is increasingly being seen as one of the attractive study abroad destinations among foreign students aspiring to study in UAE. For students aspiring to study in UAE from India, applicants must research whether the programme is available in the universities. Media and communication courses in UAE are increasingly becoming popular among foreign students. To study in UAE, known for its engineering and management programmes, one must understand the admission cycle which is a big part of the admission process. After deciding to study in UAE, students must know when the application opens and closes for their favoured universities. Majority of universities in UAE have similar application processes, but the application deadlines may vary depending on the universities and programmes. Students aspiring to study in UAE from India are advised to visit the respective websites of Universities they are applying to.


Admission Cycle


Level of study


Application deadline

Khalifa University



22nd April 2018 to 30th June, 2018


Fall 2018

30 June, 2018

United Arab Emirates University



15 July 2018 to 15 May 2018


Spring 2019

31 September, 2018

Fall 2019

30 April, 2019

Spring 2020

31 September, 2019

American University of Sharjah


Fall 2018

Early applicants: April 15, 2018

Fall 2018

Regular applicants: July 15, 2018

Spring 2019

Regular applicants: December 27, 2018


Fall 2018

July 1, 2018

Fall 2019

December 9, 2018

American University in Dubai



Early applicants: March/April


Late applicants: July/August


Early applicants: October/November


Late applicants: December/January



Throughout the year

University of Sharjah



Early admission: From April 8th 2018 till Jun 5th 2018.


Regular admission: From Jun 24 th 2018 till Jul 26th 2018


Regular admission for medical colleges: From Jun 24th 2018 till Jul 12th 2018.



2-3 months before semester

Abu Dhabi University



2-3 months before semester



2-3 months before semester

Admission cycle in UAE is similar to western countries: fall, spring and summer. Fall semester attracts the major chunk of international students aspiring to study in UAE. The fall session to study in UAE commences in September or October. Students aspiring to study in UAE from India are recommended to start researching a year prior to the joining date. Spring session to study in UAE starts in January and requires the candidate to prepare ahead. If an applicant needs more time, fall semester is more feasible for students aspiring to study in UAE. For students wanting to study in UAE from India, fall semester has an added advantage of being in line with the Indian academic cycle. Once the process of applying has begin, students aspiring to study in UAE can take the required standardised tests like TOEFL, IELTSor SAT. A few universities that offer Rolling Admission, under which applications are accepted as long as seats are available in the university. For instance, American University in Dubai accepts application for its PG programme throughout the year. However, these range from university to university and the specific courses on offer along with the availability of seats. Thus, students wanting to study in UAE should keep in mind that universities in demand rarely have seats left after the fall and spring intake.


Study in UAE: Timeline of admission cycle



July(previous year):

Research your options


Register for standardised test and take test


Prepare the application package and get you test scores.

October- Nov

Start applying

Dec- Jan

Applications close

Dec- Jan

Colleges start replying to applications


Prepare your finances, explore scholarships and apply for education loans.


Apply for the students Visa


Departure preparations

January (Spring Semester)

Session starts

Study in UAE: Eligibility Criteria

Hospitality and hotel management courses in UAE are attracting attention because of the growing service industry. The eligibility criteria for students aspiring to study in UAE for distinct levels of study differ in terms of educational qualification, countries of applicants and the universities applied to.

A senior secondary certificate makes one eligible for Bachelors and a 3-4 years of undergraduate degree makes an international student eligible for Masters. The academic requirement for admission to study in UAE includes scores of English proficiency tests like IELTS or TOEFL. Students applying to study in UAE for MBA programmes are required to have good scores in GMAT. In addition to academic requirements, students need to submit letter of recommendations and GRE scores in certain cases.


Documents checklist for studying in UAE:

Test scores- GRE, TOEFL, GMAT, IELTS – Applicants aspiring to study in UAE are required to submit standardised test scores.

Recommendation letters - Letters of Recommendations from previous academic mentors or employers are used to gather additional information about a candidate.

Academic Transcripts- To study in UAE, applicants are required to submit previous academic transcripts for their respective degrees.

Statement of purpose- Many universities require a Statement Of Purpose (SOP), an essay that is send along with the application, for admission to their programmes. This is a good opportunity for the applicant to talk about his/her strengths and the reason for choosing to study in UAE.


Study in UAE: Eligibility criteria of top universities




Khalifa University

English language proficiency

     TOEFL (IBT) - 79 or
     IELTS – 6.0 or
     EmSAT - 1400
–Pass an admission test in Mathematics (Algebra and pre-Calculus) and Physics

–Bachelor’s degree with CGPA of 3.0 out of 4.0
–English language proficiency (minimum):
   TOEFL (iBT ) - 91 or
   IELTS (academic) - 6.5 (overall) or
   EmSAT English – 1550

   GRE - Quant score of 155 with all three sections attempted
–2 Letters of Recommendation 
–Statement of purpose (500-1,000 words)

United Arab Emirates University

–National Grade 12 Certificate (minimum for respective schools)

Humanities, Science, Law and Agriculture–85%

Business and Economics – 90%

Information Technology – 95%
–For College of Engineering (minimum)

   Grade 12 - 95% with

   Mathematics – 85% and

   Physics or Chemistry - 85%

–English Language Proficiency (minimum):

    EmSAT - 1250 or

    TOEFL ITP - 525/ iBT - 70

    IELTS - 5.5

–Bachelor’s degree from an accredited university with CGPA of 3.0 out of 4.0
–English Language Proficiency (minimum):

      IELTS (academic exam)- 6.0
–Completed application form with a copy of passport
–Official transcripts of previous education
–Recommendation letters as required by the individual programs.

American University in Dubai

–Attested High school certificate

–Attested Transcript of last three years (Required averages vary by school systems)

–Equivalency letter from the U.A.E. Ministry of Education
–English Language Proficiency (minimum):

    TOEFL IBT - 79 and 24 (writing section)

    TOEFL PBT - 550 and 4 (writing section)

     IELTS(academic) - 6.5 and 6.5 (writing section)

     EMSAT- 1550-1650 and C1 (writing section)
–For Mathematics course (minimum):

     ACCUPLACER Exam or

     SAT - 560 (maths)

     SAT Reasoning - 560
–Health History Form

–Attested Original Undergraduate and Graduate Diplomas

–Attested Transcripts
–Equivalency letter from the UAE Ministry of Education
–Statement of Purpose
–CV or resume
–Official test scores

      M.B.A.- GMAT
      M.Ed. - Praxis Core Academic Skills for Educators
      M.S.C.M. - GRE
–English Language Proficiency (minimum):

      TOEFL or Academic IELTS or EMSAT.
–Reference Forms

University of Sharjah

–High School Diploma Certificate
–For Medical Colleges

      Biology and Chemistry - 2 courses and Grade B in 12th

      Physics – 1 course

–Bachelor's degree with a CGPA of 3.00 out of 4.00 and attendance 75%

–Certified University transcript

–English Language Proficiency (minimum):

     TOEFL - 550  or

     IELTS - 6
–3 Letters of recommendation

–Curriculum Vitae

Abu Dhabi University

–High School Certificate (minimum)

    11 years of schooling

    O Level or AS/A2 Level - 7 courses

    O Level – C grade

    AS Level - D grade and

    A2 Level – E grade
–English Language Proficiency (minimum)

    TOEFL ITP 500 or IBT - 61 or

    IELTS (academic) – 5
–Original equivalency letter from the UAE Ministry of Education

–Attested Bachelor Degree

–Attested transcript with grading scale
–English Language Proficiency (minimum):

      TOEFL ITP - 550 or IBT - 79 or

      IELTS (academic) -  6
–Current CV
–Additional program:

       MEM applicants - 2 letters of recommendation and experience letter
–Original equivalency letter from the UAE Ministry of Education 

Study in UAE: Fee specifications

To study in UAE, tuition fees vary as universities set their own fees. One of the interesting features of being able to study in Emirates is that tuition fee is typically low compared to other major study destinations. This can be attributed to Emirates being an emerging destination. Programme fees vary depending on the university and the courses, undergraduate or postgraduate. The cost for a master’s degree range from around AED 48,000 (~US$13,070) to a AED 120,000 (~US$32,670) for some specialized graduate programs.


Study in UAE: fee of top universities


UG (in AED)

PG (in AED)

Khalifa University

3,333 per credit hour

5,000 per credit hour

United Arab Emirates University

1600 per credit hour

1600-2400 per credit hour

American University of Sharjah

47,130 per semester

 3720-4660 per credit hour

American University in Dubai

Fall and Spring Semesters
Tuition (less than 12 credit hours): 3,885 per credit
Tuition (12 to 16 credit hours): 44,887.50 per semester
Tuition Overload (over 16 credit hours): 2,992.50 per credit
Summer Sessions
Tuition  3,885 per credit

 3885-4095 per credit hour

University of Sharjah

 1625-2400 per credit hour, Medicine - 4500

2500-3045 per credit hour

Abu Dhabi University (Abu Dhabi campus)

Arts & Sciences – 1440

Business – 1620

Engineering – 1780

Other Engineering Programs (BSc in Aviation and BSc in Civil Engineering) – 1890

Law - 1440 (per credit hour)

 2840-2940 per credit hour

Study in UAE: Scholarships

Foreign students are welcome to study in UAE, and it is an excellent place to study languages and management courses in the fields of finance and trade. However, studying in UAE can be an expensive prospect, especially for students aspiring to study in Emirates from India. Hence, it helps to have a scholarship to study in UAE. There are many scholarships available for international students along with some only for Indian students aspiring to study in UAE. Many universities in UAE offer MBA scholarships to foreign students in UAE. However, these scholarships might come with additional requirements like maintaining a certain GPA and getting enough credits. Indian students aspiring to study in Emirates should expect to give additional documents for getting the scholarships. Many international scholarships have their own deadlines and due to the high competition, applicants wanting to study in Emirates must consider them beforehand. Scholarships are offered by BITS Pilani, Dubai for undergraduate courses while the SP Jain School of Global management offers selective scholarships for their Global MBA program. Some of the scholarships are

International Student Tuition Scholarships

Outstanding Academic Excellence Scholarships

Multicultural Student Scholarship (MSS)

HH Sheikh Hamdan Scholarships

INSEAD UAE Campus MBA Scholarships

Khalifa University Teaching Assistant Scholarships

Masdar Institute IRENA Scholarships Programme

UAE University Graduate Assistantships


UAE Study Visa Process

UAE is emerging as a major study destination with a large number of international academic institutes setting up campuses here. An applicant needs a UAE student visa in order to live in the country for the duration of the programme. There are 3 types of UAE study visa:

Family Sponsored Dubai Student Visa - Students attending an educational institution may be permitted to apply for their UAE study visa application based on the sponsorship of their parents. This option is open to full-time students. Sons must be under the age of 18, while unmarried daughters can be of any age.

Educator Sponsored Dubai Study Visa – Full time students can be sponsored by their educational institution if the institution is qualified to do so. This type of UAE study visa allows students to obtain a visa for the duration of their course.

Short Stay Dubai Student Visa - For a shorter period of studies students have the option of applying for a short-term Dubai student visa. This grants a stay of 60 days which can be renewed as needed.

For higher education full time courses, Educator Sponsored Dubai Study Visa is the most common and easy method of getting a visa.The UAE study visa for international students is facilitated by the university which the applicant has been accepted to, for the duration of the programme. Students can directly send their documents to the university which start the UAE study visa process after the acceptance of student to the programme. This process should start at least 1-2 months prior to the start date, so that applicants can take care of other aspects of studying in Emirates. Visa process time for UAE study Visa is stipulated to be around 15-20 days, which varies slightly from university to university. Express processing, which costs more than normal processing but is done within 10 days, can be chosen by international students wanting to study in UAE; this facility is available at most universities. The UAE study visa does not require international students to appear for a separate visa interview. Students aspiring to study in UAE might be asked basic questions at the time of application and at the time of landing in Emirates to get their UAE study visa on arrival.

UAE study visa is valid for a period of 12 months after which it has to be renewed if the programme is longer than that period. For renewal, students studying in UAE have to fill a visa renewal application form and submit the same with their universities. International students have to submit their visa renewal documents at least a month prior to the date of UAE study visa expiry. Students will be charged a visa renewal and health insurance fee.


The application process of UAE student visa is fairly simple. However, if the visa is rejected, students are required to contact the registrar’s office of the university. The applicant will be asked to resubmit the UAE study visa application with proper documents or fill the fee refund form. There could be 3 reasons for UAE study visa to be rejected:

a. Denied by the immigration body

b. Rejected by the university registrar or

c. The student has failed the medical test which is required under the Student visa application process.


Documents Needed to study in UAE

Students can apply for a UAE study visa only after accepting the admission offer letter from the university and paying any due fee. The documentation process for UAE study visa might vary from university to university. Some of the commonly required documents for UAE Study Visa are:

  • Coloured Passport copy valid at least for seven months

  • Coloured passport size photograph

  • Filled University forms

  • Tuition and Visa fee receipt copy

  • Original Emirates ID (in case, the student possess one)

International students studying in UAE can take up off-campus work. However, this would require permission from the university. In case of a university sponsorship, students can approach the UAE Labor department to obtain a permit to take part-time jobs in Emirates. This can be beneficial as students while earning money can also get some experience.


Study in UAE: Living expenses

Cost of living depends on the lifestyle and the city the student is living in. Cost of living in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, for example, is higher compared to other cities. Since Dubai is one of the main cities and a major hub of higher education institutes, the costs of living there have been shown below.


Accommodation - The student can opt for living in the university accommodations or rentals. The cost of rentals also depends on the number of people it is shared with. Top universities have limited seats for accommodation and hence students wanting to study in UAE should apply for housing early on.


Cost (in Dirham)

Monthly rent for 900 sqft furnished accommodation in expensive area


Monthly rent for 900 sqft furnished accommodation in normal area


Utilities 1 month (heating, electricity, gas ...) for 1 person in 480 sqft studio


Internet 8 mbps (1 month)



While studying in UAE, transportation is a necessity. The prices of gas are very cheap and the monthly ticket to public transport costs around 293 dirham.



Food costs are highly variable depending on the number of meals in restaurants and the location of the student.


Cost (in Dirham)

Basic lunchtime menu (including a drink)


Combo meal in fast food restaurant


500 gr (1 lb.) of boneless chicken breast


1 liter (1 qt.) of whole fat milk


12 eggs, large


1 kg (2 lb.) of tomatoes


500 gr (16 oz.) of local cheese


1 kg (2 lb.) of apples


1 kg (2 lb.) of potatoes


2 liters of Coca-Cola


Bread for 2 people for 1 day


UAE Study Visa Cost

Even though the visa processing fee is set by the UAE Government Services Office (GSO), every university’s service charge varies. Hence the student visa for studying in UAE varies in terms of cost. Some universities include a health/ medical insurance coverage cost as well and in other cases applicants have to arrange for that separately. Below is an estimate range of UAE study visa fee taken as an average of different costs charged by universities:

  • Visa processing fee: 2300 - 2700 AED (Rs. 42,000 - 50,000 approx.)

  • Refundable Visa deposit: 2500 - 3000 AED (Rs. 45,000 - 55,000 approx.)

  • Medical insurance: 1300 - 1400 AED (Rs. 24,000 - 25,000 approx.)

Also Read

UAE Student Visa – Know all about the application process

Best places to live and study in Dubai

Admission Season and Timeline

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Questions related to United Arab Emirates

Showing 1 out of 1 Questions

I am registering for MHT-CET. It asks for the location of my school and lists only Indian locations to select while my school is in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates. What should I do? In a PDF it says that international students are not required to write the exam but I want to write it.

Md Azmer 23rd Feb, 2020

Hello Aspirant,

You are not eligible to sit for this exam because first you are a foreigner and second this exam eligibility criteria says that the student must be an Indian National.

I hope you have got your answer.

Good Luck

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