9 Cheapest Universities in UAE for International Students

The United Arab Emirates has grown to become one of the most powerful regions in the world with its outstanding global wealth. Aside from its amazing economic prowess, the nation has several more influential features that are on offer.

It has recently become a popular student destination for those who wish to pursue their higher education in the UAE, thanks to the wide range of developed cities, highly ranked universities and world-class facilities.

The majority of the universities were established recently and mostly provide education in English which is a huge advantage for international students.

Students who favor studying in a country that is undergoing rapid economic development with the added bonus of sunny weather and sand, then the UAE is definitely a country that you should consider.

However, finances can be a concern considering you will be studying at some of the most cosmopolitan cities in the world. In this article, we list a series of some of the cheap universities in the UAE that also offer amazing academic courses as well.

How do I Study in UAE?

To study in UAE, there are many things that you have to keep in mind. To help you with this process, we’ve prepared a guide on How to Study in UAE for international students. This guide contains the application process, application requirements, and student visa process, so if you are interested, read the guide!


Is university education free in the UAE?

UAE nationals can attend government/public institutions at no tuition fee costs. However, this does not apply to private institutions of education. On the other hand, international students usually have to pay fees if they wish to pursue studies in this country. It is possible that you study in UAE for free using different ways. If you are interested, check out How to Study in UAE for Free (8 Steps).


What are the requirements for a student visa?

Student visa permits usually require the student to be sponsored by a resident of the UAE. If this is not possible, the relevant university can take action and sponsor the student so be sure to check with your university regarding this. Student visas are also provided for one year but can be renewed for the duration of your course.


Can international students work in the UAE?

Generally, international students who have a student visa cannot take up part-time job work alongside their studies. Certain universities do offer internship opportunities that are within the specific courses or degrees which are the only means of doing actual work.


What are some great programs in UAE for international students?

There are many excellent programs in the United Arab Emirates as it is home to several prestigious universities. Here are some of the best programs in the UAE:


Other Affordable Universities in Other Countries

There are many affordable options for you in universities in other countries. Here are some great affordable universities:


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Cheap Universities in the United Arab Emirates

1. American University in Dubai

The American University in Dubai is a private institution of higher education based in the city of Dubai. Founded in 1995, this university in the United Arab Emirates focuses on providing education based on the American system of education, as shown by its name.

It currently has a student enrolment of over 4000 students, including an international student body of over 120 nationalities. It has been further regarded as one of the world’s most diverse universities.

A range of courses is provided across the fields of engineering, business administration, education, arts, architecture, and science. The university is located in the heart of Dubai and exposes its students to the rich and vibrant cosmopolitan experience of Dubai with its numerous opportunities for furthering your education and work experience. Several of the university’s main courses have been further accredited by the United States.

2. American University in Sharjah

Based in Sharjah, the third-largest city of the UAE, the American University of Sharjah is another private institution of higher education that was founded in 1997. It is located in the University City of Sharjah and is around 25km outside of Dubai.

The university has a student population exceeding 5500, of which international students come from more than 90 countries. Students have access to numerous cutting-edge facilities offered which are relatively modern as well with the university’s recent inception.

The university has thus been labeled as one of the most international and diverse universities in the region. Programs are offered through four main colleges of arts/architecture, science, engineering, and business administration.

Through these faculties, this cheap university in UAE has around 70 main courses at the undergraduate level, 16 master’s degrees as well as several Ph.D. opportunities.

3. British University in Dubai

The British University in Dubai is a private research-based university located in the Dubai international academic city of the UAE. It was established in 2004 and was founded in collaboration with the University of Edinburgh, the University of Glasgow, and the University of Manchester.

Since its inception, this affordable university in the United Arab Emirates has become one of the most rapidly developing institutions of higher education in the country. The majority of the courses offered by the university focus on providing postgraduate education.

Around 8 undergraduate degrees are offered which focus on the fields of business, accounting, and engineering. Additionally, several more MSc programs are offered in the same fields as well as in information technology.

4. United Arab Emirates University

Founded in 1976, the United Arab Emirates University is recognized as being the oldest institution of higher education in the country. The university is located in the city of Al Ain in the eastern region of the UAE and is also one of the first 3 government-operated universities in the country.

It has expanded into one of the best and cheapest universities in the UAE and also has a student population of more than 15,000 students. International students further constitute approximately a quarter of the student population. The academic constitution of the university consists of 9 major colleges that provide courses spanning across a wide variety of fields.

Additionally, foundation programs exist that further provide students with the necessary grounds for learning English, Arabic, and Mathematics where necessary. Additionally, the university is one of the few institutions with a high commitment towards research.

5. Khalifa University

Khalifa University was founded in 2007 and is located in the city of Abu Dhabi. It is a science-focused private institution of higher education and was initially founded with the goal of contributing to the country’s post-oil future.

The university currently has more than 3500 students studying its courses. Academically, it operates through a college of engineering that provides around 12 undergraduate bachelor’s programs as well as around 15 postgraduate programs, all of which are focused on different fields of engineering.

It has further maintained mergers with the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology as well as the Petroleum Institute. It has further been ranked among the top 30 institutions in Asia as well as the top 500 universities in the world.

6. Ajman University

The next university on our list of cheapest universities in UAE is Ajman University, a private university that is located in the state of Ajman in the northern region of the UAE. Founded in 1988, it was one of the first private institutions of higher education to be built in the country.

The university has two main campuses located in Ajman and in Fujairah, each of which is diverse and has modern facilities for the students.

The academic organization of the university is separated into 9 major colleges that range from medicine and dentistry to law and business administration. The university has further been ranked among the top 50 universities in the Middle East.

7. Alhosn University

Another private institution of higher education that is located in the city of Abu Dhabi is the Alhosn University. Founded in 2005, it is one of the few universities in the country that is segregated and consists of a male and a female campus that are separate from each other.

As of 2019, this affordable university in UAE also offers around 18 undergraduate programs and 11 postgraduate programs.

These are operated under 3 faculties of arts/social science, business, engineering. The majority of these degrees are further accredited by prominent external organizations such as the ACCA for the Business courses.

8. Al Ghurair University

Founded in 1999, Al Ghurair University is a private institution of higher education based in the International Academic City of Dubai. It is among the first private universities to be licensed by the Ministry of Education.

Since its inception, the university has expanded into a prominent community-involved institution that offers education to more than 3000 students. The campus undergoes rapid developments and provides state-of-the-art facilities for its students.

Courses that are provided by the university include information technology, applied sciences, engineering sciences, and business administration.

9. Canadian University of Dubai

We end our list of cheapest universities in UAE with the Canadian University of Dubai, another private institution of higher education located in Dubai. It was founded in 2006 and, as its name suggests, it offers teaching based on the Canadian university curriculum.

As of 2019, the university has grown into a very popular university that provides studies for over 1500 students. It further maintains ties with the original university in Ontario and offers accredited degrees from both Canada and the UAE.

Students also have the opportunity to transfer to Canadian partner institutions at the end of their second year. Academically, it is comprised of four major faculties of study that include the departments of management, communication sciences, architecture/design, and engineering/technology.


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