How to Study Nursing in the United Arab Emirates

Some of the best universities in the Gulf region are located in the United Arab Emirates. The country has been attracting international nursing students for several decades for reasons such as widely available scholarships, English-taught programs, and an opportunity to receive tax-free earnings after graduation.

The UAE is made up of seven states, each of which has a certain degree of independence, although still monitored and controlled by the federal government. Studying nursing in the United Arab Emirates allows individuals to gain crucial life experience and become a part of one of the fastest-growing communities in the world.

The number of registered nurses that will have been required in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi alone is projected to cross the 16,000 specialists mark by 2025, meaning more professional opportunities for modern-day graduates than ever before.

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What Degrees are there for Nursing in the United Arab Emirates?

The UAE’s universities offer the full spectrum of degrees for the potential students. An individual may graduate from one of the local higher education facilities with a bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees.

In addition, some colleges offer nursing courses that grant graduates a diploma in nursing. The diploma level education is enough to begin a career in nursing, but it is still recommended to acquire a higher-level education if a person wants to pursue a long-term career in the industry. For the holders of a diploma in nursing, there are special bridging programs available. The programs provide a shorter version of a typical bachelor’s course, letting the students receive an undergraduate degree in 24 months.

Diploma and undergraduate level education focuses on the practical aspects of providing healthcare, while the graduate programs often prepare students in subjects such as leadership, planning and specialized nursing.

Cost of Studying Nursing

Individuals are required to pay an admission fee. The fee varies depending on the educational institution, but on average an applicant shall expect to pay $300-500. The expenses are non-refundable. On top of the initial payment, there may be an admission fee required before the beginning of the first semester to study nursing in UAE.

Some nursing schools in the United Arab Emirates (see RAK College of Nursing’s website) may charge their students for annual examinations, visa renewal, lab & library expenses, etc. While there are scholarships and financial aid available to most of the international students, the additional expenses are not covered by those programs.

Tuition fee in most universities offering a nursing degree is approximately $10,000 per annum. It does not include dormitory payments and transportation expenses.

Requirements to Study Nursing in UAE

As per admission requirements of the majority of the UAE’s nursing schools, the applicant must be at least 17 years old, with a completed 12-year school education. Since the official academic language of the United Arab Emirates is English, it is required for the applicant to prove their English language ability. In most cases, the applicant will be asked to present a completed Academic IELTS or TOEFL examination’s results to be able to study nursing in UAE.

In case the applicant did not cover biology or physics or chemistry in Grade 12, they can register for the preparatory program. All applicants have to go through several interviews that will check for applicants’ cognitive and non-cognitive abilities. More information on the general admission requirements can be found on the website of Gulf Medical University.

For those holding a diploma in Nursing Sciences, it is required to have a valid Registered Nurse license, a Nursing Practice license and a valid BLS certificate. Two years of practical experience are also necessary to apply to the bridging bachelor’s program.

In What Languages Do You Study Nursing in the United Arab Emirates?

Although the official language of the UAE is Arabic, English is the main academic language. All the major colleges and universities (such as the University of Sharjah) teach the available programs in the English languages, although certain courses may require some knowledge of Arabic, Farsi, or Hindi. The reason for such popularity of the English language is the impeccable list of possibilities it provides to the graduates of local universities, allowing them to not only work in the Emirates but also abroad.

It is not an uncommon practice for the students to attend Arabic language courses and study the tongue in the academic environment so that the alumni could communicate with the members of the Arabic society in their places of work.

Best Nursing Schools in the United Arab Emirates

1. The University of Wollongong in Dubai

The first international university in Dubai, University of Wollongong was established in 1993. Since then, more than 150,000 students have graduated from the institution. It is proud to offer the students internationally-recognized degrees that are presented by top-notch professors and accredited by such organizations as TEQSA, KHDA and CAA. The University of Wollongong in Dubai is considered the best nursing school in UAE.

The university has a bridging bachelor’s program and a master’s degree program. The bridging bachelor’s degree is designed for the professional nurses holding a diploma in Nursing Sciences. The master’s program helps the students to build their leadership skills.

2. Gulf Medical University

The university was established in 1998 to offer education in the field of Dentistry, Psychotherapy, Nursing, etc. It boasts having its own network of clinics, hospitals, and institutes. The facility has been recognized by the WHO and is fully accredited by the Ministry of Education.

The nursing graduates of Gulf Medical University make competent nurses who then proceed to work providing various services to individuals and groups.

3. University of Sharjah

The Nursing Department of the University of Sharjah offers two main streams in the undergraduate nursing program: a post-diploma (or bridging) stream for the nurses who have already been registered and hold a valid diploma, and a four-year full-time stream. The master’s degree is focused on adult critical care nursing. This nursing school in UAE is entirely clinically focused and student-centered.

4. RAK College of Nursing

The first university in the UAE directly under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Saud Bin Saqr Al Qasimi. It prepares over a thousand students every year, and the undergraduate and graduate degrees in nursing hold substantial value in the United Arab Emirates and abroad.

Their undergraduate program is split into two streams: the 2-year stream, accessible to nurses with a diploma level education and the four-year curriculum that has been developed to provide top-notch education in nursing for the high school graduates. The college also offers a dynamic and unique graduate degree program.

5. Fatima College of Health Sciences

The final candidate in our list of best nursing schools in UAE is the Fatima College of Health Sciences. It is built around the idea of providing the state with well-trained and fully knowledgeable nurses to cover all the UAE community’s health-related needs. Its fully accredited and widely recognized undergraduate program presents the subject of nursing in a concise and efficient environment. The alumni of the college acquire all the essential skills to work in local healthcare facilities, provide care and deal with stressful situations. They may assume various positions in education, leadership, as well as general nursing practice.


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