University applications & tuition fees
To study in the UAE, you’ll need to apply to your chosen university online by the May/June before the start of your program. To apply, you’ll generally need to provide a completed application form, a valid passport, certificates and transcripts of your most recent academic qualification, academic references and proof of proficiency in English.
While each institution sets its own admission requirements, state universities often expect students to be proficient in speaking Arabic, as well as English – the main language used at universities in the UAE. If you are a non-native English speaker, IELTS/TOEFL results are likely to be required.
Tuition fees vary, as universities in the UAE set their own fees. The continued economic success of the region means that studying in the UAE can be relatively expensive. While program fees vary significantly, prices for a master’s degree range from around AED 48,000 (~US$13,070) to a hefty AED 120,000 (~US$32,670) for some specialized graduate programs.
To gain a visa to study in the UAE, you’ll need a sponsor who is resident in the country. If you have no relatives or contacts based in the UAE, the university offering you a place will usually do this for you. You can apply for your visa online, but remember there is no guarantee of acceptance even with a sponsor. Usually a student residence visa will only be issued for one year at a time, and can then be renewed. The application costs up to AED 3,000 (US$820), in addition to a deposit of AED 1,000 (US$270).
These are the documents you’ll typically need to provide:
- Passport and four passport copies
- 12 photographs
- Upon arrival, three passport copies with entry visa to the UAE
- A letter showing you’ve been offered admission at a UAE university
- Possibly bank statements showing evidence of funds in the UAE
- Possibly a tenancy agreement (or letter from the university if you’ll be staying in university accommodation)
- Copy of tuition fee receipt for the current study year of the program
- Copy of visa fees receipt for the current study year of the program
- Postgraduate students will need to prove that they have a recognized undergraduate degree.
On arrival in the country, you should also expect to be asked to undergo a medical examination at an authorized center, which will include testing for HIV, hepatitis B, hepatitis C, tuberculosis, leprosy and syphilis. Anyone testing positive for any of these, with the exception of syphilis, will be deported.