How to Apply to Study in UAE: Deadlines, Application Process, Timeline

    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.

    General Timeline

    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.

    Month Timelines
    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:

    For Undergraduates

    • Educational proof of 12 years of schooling
    • Minimum 3 GPA, i.e (70-74%)
    • English language proficiency

    For Graduates

    • Bachelor’s degree proof with an aggregate of 55% or more
    • Relevant scores like GRE

    Based on Degree

    Common requirements for MBA:

    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
    • Passport
    • 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)
    PG 30th April
    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
    PG 18th July

    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)
    PG 21st March
    University of Birmingham UG January 15
    PG July 1
    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.


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