For international students planning to study in the Arab Emirates, the first step is to apply to UAE universities for admissions. Before you begin your applications, research the course and specialization you're interested in. It is advisable that you check the specific requirements and start preparing for the standard exams like IELTS/GMAT/TOEFL well in advance. Since most of these test scores are valid for 2 years, try-scoring well on your first attempt.
Here are a few factors affecting the choice of university in UAE by students:
- Level of education
- High school performance
- Minimum eligibility scores
- Cost of education and location
Although a plethora of options are available, the most popular courses sought by international applicants include executive MBA, mechanical engineering, project management, risk management, and finance programs. For these courses, the American University of Sharjah, Zayed University, and Hult International Business School are the preferred institutes.
To apply to study in UAE, the general admission cycle for most of the universities ranges from March to October. However, individual institutes follow their own deadlines. Since there is no common application portal, students must keep a thorough check for various timelines.
How To Apply to Study in UAE
In recent years, UAE has acquired its place as a top study abroad destination apart from UK, USA, and other countries. As per UNESCO, the number of Indians enrolled in degree programs in the Emirates has increased by 50% since 2011. Currently,17% of the total 77,463 international students pursuing their academics in the UAE are Indian. The remaining percentage majorly comprises students from the Middle east like Oman, Syria, and Egypt.
Currently, UNESCO has further observed a spike of 62.04% in the number of international students studying in UAE. Illustrative of this development, the American University of Sharjah is now said to be the university with the largest share of foreign students in the entire world: 84% of its student body consists of international students.
Universities in the United Arab Emirates generally accept applications in two seasons, i.e Spring and Summer. While most of the foreign universities' deadlines range around spring, the national institutes’ timelines revolve around summer.
|Before June||Research and shortlist institutes&|
|June||Start applying for institutes as application deadlines are around July|
|October||Application response from the universities starts. Accordingly, start applying for a visa|
|December||Take the standard exams if required|
|January||Let the university know about the landing to get assistance|
|February&||Complete all formalities and begin the course|
|March||Applications for the spring cycle begins|
How to Apply to Study in UAE?
Below mentioned are the steps to apply to study in UAE universities for various programs:
- Select the university and program
- Find out the entry requirements
- Know about the fee structure
- Be ready with the documents
- Submit the online application form
- Pay the application fee
Some of the universities like Amity, Manipal, and BITS, have individual application portals. You need to register for an account, fill in personal details and complete the application in several steps. The account dashboard tracks your application status. Some examples are:
Application Process to Study in UAE
The basic application process for international students who apply to study in UAE majorly consists of fulfilling the eligibility criteria and providing the necessary documents. With the completion of these two major components, you can submit your applications and wait for receiving an offer.
Admission Requirements to Study in UAE
International applicants need to fulfill certain additional requirements for their admission:
- English Language Proficiency
- Previous educational qualifications
- UAE student visa
All of these requirements need to be discussed in detail.
English Language Proficiency Requirements
All the international students who belong to a non-native English background have to demonstrate their English proficiency. For this purpose students often opt for standard exams like IELTS/TOEFL/PTE.
These are the threshold scores for the top institutes:
|Test||Minimum Score Required|
|Test of English as a Foreign Language Internet-based Test& (TOEFL-iBT)||Overall score of 79 or more|
|Pearson Test of English Academic (PTE Academic)||Overall score of 51 or more|
IELTS Score to Study in UAE
IELTS scores for several programs are as follows:
|Level of Study||IELTS score range|
|Bachelor’s||5.5 and above|
|Master’s||6.5 and above|
Study in UAE without IELTS
International applicants are exempted from IELTS and other standard ELP exams if they fulfill any of the following criteria:
- Candidates have secured more than 70% in English during schooling.
- Has studied in a school where English was the only medium of instruction.
Academic Admission Requirements
Based on the course and level of education you wish to pursue from UAE, you will be required to fulfill certain basic requirements with your scores and previous education qualifications. Below are some of the details:
Based on the level of education:
- Educational proof of 12 years of schooling
- Minimum 3 GPA, i.e (70-74%)
- English language proficiency
- Bachelor’s degree proof with an aggregate of 55% or more
- Relevant scores like GRE
Based on Degree
Common requirements for MBA:
- GMAT scores
- Work experience of 2-4 years
Top UAE universities usually ask for a minimum GMAT score of 560 for MBA applicants.
Documents Required to Study in UAE
To apply to study in any UAE university, candidates must be prepared with the following documents:
- Birth certificate
- Recent photos
- Passport or any national identity card
- One or more reference letters from past employers or teachers
- Copies of past diplomas or certificates, including your graduated Bachelor's degree
- Academic transcripts
- Letter of intent
- Scores of tests required to study in UAE- IELTS/TOEFL/GMAT
- Curriculum Vitae
Student Visa to study in UAE
Though you can obtain the visa once you receive an acceptance letter from any of the universities, here are some documents to be kept at hand:
- Recent passport photograph
- Acceptance letter from the degree offering university
- English language proficiency test scores.
- Scholarship proofs if any
- Medical certificate
- Fee receipt
When to Apply to Study in UAE
Now that we have given you all the information of the documents needed to apply to study in UAE. Some of the deadlines you must abide by are discussed below:
|University Name||Level of Study||Application Deadline|
|American University of Sharjah||UG||May 20 and July 15|
|PG||May 20 and July 29|
|Khalifa University||UG||Currently open(May)|
|PG||14th Feb and 17th May|
|United Arab Emirates University||UG||Currently open ( May)|
|Abu Dhabi University||UG and PG||3rd January and 17th June for Spring and Autumn.|
|University Of Sharjah||UG||May15-June 16|
|PG||20th Feb-30th June|
|Zayed University||UG||9th May-June 30|
The deadlines given above are for the national universities. Discussed below are the deadlines for foreign universities with campuses in UAE:
|University Name||Level Of Study||Application deadline|
|BITS Pilani||UG||12 July and 8 December|
|PG||10 June and 8 December|
|Westford University College||UG and PG||Rolling|
|University of Wollongong||UG||Currently open(May)|
|University of Birmingham||UG||January 15|
|Hult International Business School||UG and PG&||Rolling, last round- May 25|
|SP Jain School OF Global Management||UG||May 31|
|PG||Depends on the program, October 21|
Reasons for Rejection of Admission Applications to UAE
Here are the few conditions under which applications could be rejected by UAE universities:
- Applications are not of the quality sought by university
- Criminal records or behavioral problems such as discipline issue or suspensions
- Erroneous or incomplete applications
- Lack of relevant work experience for some programs
The key to an enriching study abroad experience is proper planning and preparation for the standard exams. Prepare checklists at each stage and ensure that you fill in all the details correctly. This will not only make your application process easier and also hassle-free.