Study abroad Market report on the United Arab Emirates - UAE (2023)

Market report United Arab Emirates2022-03-01T10:13:49+00:00

The United Arab Emirates Study Abroad Market

The higher education market in UAE has witnessed significant growth in its revenues in the past five years. The overall revenues have grown along with the number of enrollments in Higher Education Institutes. Women pursuing studies in higher education in the country constituted around more than half of the total share. Read all about it in our Market Report on the United Arab Emirates.

Abu Dhabi is the largest Emirate state. It has the largest population and the most higher education institutes with the highest number of enrollments. Although the government is making efforts to promote higher education across UAE, Emirates like Umm Al Quwain, Fujairah and Ras Al Khaimah are still lagging behind. Enrollments were highest in business, economics and engineering bachelor and master/post doc students. These programs are popular in the UAE because they are cost effective for students who want to enjoy the overseas experience while studying.

The increase in enrollments is one of the primary growth factors for the education market in the UAE. Parents are increasingly willing to invest money and time to help their children get the best start in life. The job market in the UAE is highly competitive. The education market in the UAE is expected to accelerate at 5% through 2022. (source:

UAE Market Highlights

  • Strong government support over the past few years has led to the continuous growth of education sector by inviting private players to enter the market.
  • Establishment of new schools, increase in use of ICT has enabled the curriculum to compete in the international market. The use of eLearning and smart classes is expected to spread in the education market as an effective medium of a more engaging and interactive learning in all levels of education.
  • The vocational and technical education market in UAE is expected to witness a steady growth in revenues and enrollments in the future years. It will attract both male and female candidates as domestic participation in workforce improves. (source:

Quick facts

  • Population: 9,6 million (2019)

  • Education: 14 years compulsory

  • Academic year: September – August

Secondary education

  • Starting age: 11

  • Duration: 7 years (4 years lower secondary, 3years upper secondary education)

  • Enrollment numbers: 528,000 (2019)
    Enrollment rate: 105%

Higher education

  • Duration: 4 – 6 years (bachelor 4 – 5 years, Master 2 years, PhD 3 – 4 years)

  • Enrollment numbers: 191,000 (2019)

  • Tertiary enrollment rate: 80%

  • Universities/Higher Education Institutions: Abu Dhabi 23, Ajman: 5, Dubai:

UAE Education System

Secondary education

Education at primary and secondary levels is universal and compulsory up to the ninth grade. This takes place in a four-tier process over 14 years:

  1. 4 to 5 year-olds attend kindergarten
  2. 6 to 11 year-olds attend primary schools
  3. the preparatory stage caters for children aged between 12 and 14 and
  4. 15 to 17 year-olds attend secondary schools.

UAE K-12 Education Market

The K-12 industry in the UAE comprises of kindergarten, primary, intermediate and secondary level of education where children in the age group 4 to 17 years obtain their basic level of education. The public schools in the country have witnessed slower growth in terms of number of enrollments as compared to private schools. The highest number of enrollments was in Cycle 1 (primary) level of schooling. It was followed by intermediate level of schooling. It was followed by KG level and secondary level of education. The K-12 education in UAE is quite evenly distributed in terms of male and female ratio. The number of Non Emirati students exceeds the number of Emirati students K-12 schools across UAE.

The K-12 education sector will account for the highest growth in the market due to the increasing number of enrollments in both the private and public sectors. Also, girls are increasingly being offered education from kindergarten to 12th grade. The report also provides an accurate prediction of the contribution of the various end-user segments to the growth of the education market size in the UAE. (Source:

Admission to higher education

It is largely up to UAE universities themselves to set admission criteria to higher education. They may vary depending on the institution and course of study. Generally, students must have a secondary school leaving certificate in order to gain admittance into university first level of studies. For admission to the federal higher education institutions, students must take a Common Education Proficiency Assessment (CEPA) exam that assesses their competency in English and mathematics.

Study abroad Market report on the United Arab Emirates - UAE (1)

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Higher Education Institutions

UAE higher education institutions can be divided into three categories: Public, private, and Global Partnerships.

1. Public Institutions
UAE citizens can attend government institutions free of charge, and the UAE has one of the highest application participation rates in the world. Ninety-five percent of all girls and 80 percent of boys enrolled in the final year of secondary school apply for admission to a higher education institution

2. Private Institutions
The Ministry of Education through its Commission for Academic Accreditation (CAA) is responsible for the accreditation of private institutions.

3. Global Partnerships
A number of international universities have campuses and programs in the UAE. Some are housed in special zones, including Dubai Knowledge Village and Academic City. (source: UAE Cultural Division)

Fields of study

According to the latest UNESCO data (2019), students are enrolled predominantly at the undergraduate level—only 13.6 percent and less than 1 percent of students studied at the master’s and doctoral levels, respectively. The population-rich emirates of Dubai and Abu Dhabi have almost 60 percent of all students. The field of study most pursued in the UAE by far is business and economics, followed by engineering and education.

Latest UAE Higher Education study abroad stats

At this poiny a total number of 13,480 UAE students are studying abroad for a degree in higher education (source: UNESCO). The most popular study abroad destinations among students from UAE are:

UAE students studying abroad

Study abroad Market report on the United Arab Emirates - UAE (2)

IB schools in UAE

The UAE has 45 schools that implement elements of the International Baccalaureate curriculum – the highest number in the region.
Of these schools, 24 are listed as fully accredited by the governing body in Geneva, Switzerland, on the IBO website. The list includes:

  • Abu Dhabi

    Abu Dhabi International Private School
    Al Najah Private School
    American Community School, Abu Dhabi
    American International School in Abu Dhabi
    Australian School of Abu Dhabi
    Raha International School.

  • Dubai

    Deira International School
    Dubai American Academy
    Dubai International Academy
    Dubai Modern High School
    Emirates International School
    Emirates International School Meadows
    GEMS Wellington International School
    GEMS World Academy Dubai
    Greenfield Community School
    Jumeirah Baccalaureate School
    Jumeirah English Speaking School
    Raffles World Academy
    Repton School, Dubai
    Universal American School, Dubai
    Uptown School

  • Sharjah
    Australian International School
    Victoria International School of Sharjah

Best performing UAE Universities

Looking to partner with Universities from UAE? These are the best performing universities.

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United Arab Emirates University

THE Ranking: 301 – 350

Khalifa University

THE Ranking: 351 – 400

University of Sharjah

THE Ranking: 601 – 800

Upcoming Education Fairs in United Arab Emirates





Boarding and Private School Fair Dubai UAE

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Online Education Fair Middle EastOnline

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How many UAE students study abroad? ›

The UAE invests heavily in sending students abroad to study, with widely reported figures indicating that numbers total about 15,000 a year.

Is UAE a good country to study in? ›

The United Arab Emirates is one of the most preferred destinations for aspirants across the globe. From its incredible opportunities to its brilliant infrastructure, UAE proves to be one of the best countries to study in.

Which Arab country is best for study? ›

The United Arab Emirates is home to the Middle East's two highest-ranked cities for study abroad: Dubai, in 51st place, and Abu Dhabi, in 71st place. Cairo, in 94th place, is the highest-ranked city in an Arab country of Africa.

Are UAE degrees Recognised internationally? ›

From Rochester Institute of Technology to Middlesex University, the UAE has the highest number of branch campuses in the world, with the majority in Dubai. Degrees from these schools are recognized worldwide.

What is UAE ranked in education? ›

The quality of the UAE's primary and higher education systems rank among the top 20 globally
Change from 2016-17 to 2017-182017-18
Quality of primary education16th
Quality of higher education12th
Primary education enrolment, net %87th
2 more rows

What are the benefits of studying in UAE? ›

Advantages of studying in UAE
  • The diverse and international community. ...
  • Quality of education at universities in the UAE. ...
  • Extensive facilities and resources available. ...
  • Internship benefits when you study in the UAE. ...
  • A helpful alumnus network. ...
  • Proximity to your comfort zone.

Which is the No 1 university in UAE? ›

Among all universities in United Arab Emirates University of Sharjah is listed in the largest number of rankings.

Why should I study in UAE? ›

Dubai offers many benefits to international students, including tuition-free education, affordable housing, and affordable living. Dubai is also known for its diversity of life experiences and high quality of life. Studying in this city helps you learn about many different cultures that might not be familiar to you.

What is UAE ranked in the world? ›

International rankings
Institute for Economics and Peace [20]Global Peace Index41 out of 144
United Nations Development ProgrammeHuman Development Index35 out of 182
Transparency InternationalCorruption Perceptions Index30 out of 180
World Economic ForumGlobal Competitiveness Report23 out of 133
2 more rows

What is the number 1 university in the Arab world? ›

King Abdulaziz University Saudi

Which UAE country is best? ›

Composed of seven emirates, the United Arab Emirates is home to two of the Middle East's most promising cities in terms of career progress: Abu Dhabi and Dubai. Besides being the country's federal capital, Abu Dhabi is also the biggest and wealthiest emirate in the UAE.

Which degree is best for future in UAE? ›

What majors are in demand in UAE? Engineering is the most in-demand specialisation, followed by business administration, medical sciences, and information technology. Civil engineering is the most in-demand engineering major, followed by mechanical engineering and petroleum engineering.

Which masters degree is most in demand in UAE? ›

171 Top Masters Programs in United Arab Emirates 2023
  • MA International Business Management. Featured. ...
  • Master's in International Business. Featured. ...
  • MSc in Chemical Engineering. Featured. ...
  • MSc Digital Marketing. Featured. ...
  • MSc Robotics. Featured. ...
  • MSc Data Science. ...
  • MSc in Cybersecurity. ...
  • MSc in Electrical and Computer Engineering.

Is UAE Good for Masters? ›

Masters Programs in Dubai United Arab Emirates 2023

Dubai is a top choice for many students seeking an exciting location for graduate education. At first glance, there are a myriad of opportunities for great shopping, excellent cuisine, vibrant nightlife, and luxury hotels.

How is UAE improving education? ›

Higher Education

Today, UAE citizens can attend government institutions free of charge. UAE public universities include: UAE University, where enrollment was 502 in 1976, its founding year, and has increased nearly 30-fold over the years. Women represent a majority of the student body.

Is UAE poor or rich? ›

The economy of the United Arab Emirates (or UAE) is the 5th largest in the Middle East (after Iran, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Egypt), with a gross domestic product (GDP) of US$501 billion (AED 1.84 trillion) in 2022. $501.3 billion (nominal, 2022 est.)

Is UAE 3rd richest country? ›

The UAE is the third-richest country in the world, below Luxembourg at number two and Qatar at number one, with a GDP per capita of $57,744.

What has UAE done for education? ›

The UAE's education sector is one of the fastest growing in the region. There are about 1.03 million students enrolled in both public and private schools as of the academic year 2016-17. The total number of students in schools and universities in the UAE is projected to grow by 4.1 per cent annually until 2020.

Is UAE education expensive? ›

Public universities in the UAE are free to establish their own tuition policy. In general, international students can expect to pay anywhere between 5,000 and 27,650 EUR per academic year. You can also find cheaper — and sometimes free — study programmes, but these are few and far between.

What are four stages of education in the UAE? ›

This takes place in a four-tier process over 14 years:
  • 4 to 5 year-olds attend kindergarten.
  • 6 to 11 year-olds attend primary schools.
  • the preparatory stage caters for children aged between 12 and 14 and.
  • 15 to 17 year-olds attend secondary schools.

Which career is best in UAE? ›

Highest Paid Jobs in the UAE
  • Lawyer.
  • Senior Human Resources.
  • Data Scientist.
  • IT Manager.
  • Doctors.
  • Bank Manager.
  • Pilots.
  • Engineers.
28 Aug 2022

How much does a student earn in UAE? ›

The average salary for a Students is 2,500 in Dubai, UAE.

What is the best country to study abroad in? ›

See the best countries for studying abroad below.
The Top Countries for Studying Abroad
  • United States. #1 in Study Abroad Rankings. ...
  • United Kingdom. #2 in Study Abroad Rankings. ...
  • France. ...
  • Italy. ...
  • Spain. ...
  • Japan. ...
  • Canada. ...
  • Germany.

Which university is free in UAE? ›

Finishing your Master's degree for free is also possible in the United Arab Emirates. The Mohamed Bin Zayed University of Artificial Intelligence (MBZUAI) makes it possible for outstanding students to complete their Master's degrees with zero costs.

What rank is UAE in the happiest country? ›

Bahrain is followed by the UAE, which emerged as the second happiest country in the GCC and 24th globally.

What is the rank of UAE in richest country? ›

Beirut, 10 December 2020 Qatar and the United Arab Emirates ranked second and eighth respectively among the world's top 10 richest countries, while Egypt and the Sudan ranked first and third respectively among the 5 least expensive countries, according to a new report released today by the United Nations Economic and ...

Why is the UAE so successful? ›

Abu Dhabi's oil is the reason the UAE holds some $1 trillion in assets and reserves through two of its major sovereign wealth funds, the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA) and Mubadala. For comparison, $1 trillion is about one-third of the continent of Africa's total GDP.

What UAE is famous for? ›

The United Arab Emirates is known for the tallest human-made structure, the Burj Khalifa, and the Burj Al Arab, one of the tallest hotel building in the world. The UAE is famous for several artificial islands like the Palm Jumeirah island, the World, and The Universe archipelagos.

What makes UAE better than other countries? ›

UAE is best known for its diversity and dynamicity, highly-developed infrastructure, the vibrancy of cultures and religions, high-quality medical facilities, and rich lifestyle. It is an economic hub of the Middle East, also known as a business-friendly country in this region.

Is UAE the richest city in the world? ›

Abu Dhabi: Dubai ranked first in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), and 23rd globally, in the list of world's wealthiest city for the third quarter of 2022.

Why is UAE the most popular country? ›

Tourism: The UAE plays host to some of the best attractions in the world, between Dubai and the capital Abu Dhabi, you will find many international attractions which include; Burj Khalifa, Burj Al Arab, The Dancing Fountains, The Dubai Mall, The Palm Jumeirah, Etihad Museum, Sheikh Zayed Mosque, Qasr Al Watan, YAS ...

Why UAE is most popular country in the world? ›

The UAE is known for its two largest cities, Dubai and Abu Dhabi, which draw millions of tourists each year. Dubai, a regional business hub known for its sleek skyscrapers, is home to the largest building in the world – the Burj Khalifa.

Which study is best in Dubai? ›

Top Courses
  • MBA.
  • Engineering.
  • Accounts and Finance.
  • Tourism and Hospitality.
  • Architecture.
  • Aviation.
  • Design Studies.

Which Middle East country is best for study? ›

Top 5 Countries in the Middle East Perfect for Studying Abroad in...
  • Turkey. Why study in Turkey? ...
  • Israel. Why study in Israel. ...
  • Lebanon. Why study in Lebanon. ...
  • United Arab Emirates (UAE) Why study in the UAE. ...
  • Saudi Arabia. Why study in Saudi Arabia.
20 Jan 2022

Which is the largest university in UAE? ›

The United Arab Emirates University (UAEU) is the first and the largest academic institution in the United Arab Emirates. UAEU was founded by the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan in 1976.

Which is the richest Arab country? ›

Qatar has been ranked as the richest Arab country and the fourth wealthiest on a global scale, per findings by the Global Finance's latest report.

Is UAE a first world country? ›

The UAE is a country which exist since 1971 and never support either side of the conflict. It was never the First world country and neither was it ever part of them. The UAE is a developing country though and gains more and more influence in the World Economy.

Is UAE a happiest country? ›

The UAE is now the happiest Arab country and 21st in the world, according to a United Nations report. The emirates had a point score of 6.791, according to the World Happiness Report produced by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network.

Who gets highest salary in UAE? ›

The highest paid UAE are Legal Department professionals at $141,000 annually. The lowest paid UAE are Transportation & Logistics professionals at $4,200.

What is a good UAE salary? ›

Around 80% of the emirate's population is made up of expatriates, partly because of the high quality of life and the attractive salaries. The average salary in Dubai is AED 21,500 per month, which is equivalent to USD $5,853. The salary of a worker in Dubai is therefore on average higher than in Western countries.

Which careers is in-demand in UAE? ›

All You Need to Know About the Most in-Demand Jobs in UAE
  • Personal and Professional Coaches. ...
  • Digital Content Freelancers. ...
  • Creatives. ...
  • Marketing and Social Media Specialists. ...
  • Medical and Healthcare Staff. ...
  • Healthcare Support Staff. ...
  • E-commerce Specialists. ...
  • Business Development and Sales Specialists.
28 Aug 2022

Which degree has highest salary in Dubai? ›

Doctors require years of education and training before they can practice their profession. In turn, doctors often receive a high salary, and it's one of the Highest Paid Jobs in Dubai.

Which job has highest demand in Dubai? ›

  • ENGINEERS. ...

Which study is best for future in Dubai? ›

What is the List of Courses to Study in Dubai?
  • Engineering & Technology.
  • Business & Management Studies.
  • Computer Science and Information Technology.
  • Architecture.
  • Life Sciences & Medicine.
26 Aug 2022

Can I work while studying in UAE? ›

International students can take up part-time jobs and internships in Dubai as long as they fulfil the legal criteria and their respective university's requirements. The student visa still doesn't allow full-time jobs for foreign students in Dubai.

How can I study in UAE for free? ›

UAE citizens get to study postgraduate courses for free at public universities, but international students have to pay tuition fees. Universities in the UAE set their own fees so costs vary depending on your course, level of study and location.

What percentage of students study abroad? ›

An overwhelming majority of U.S. study abroad takes place in Europe with 44 percent of students studying in just five countries, Spain, Italy, the United Kingdom, France, and Ireland.
U.S. Students Abroad.
Host RegionEurope
7 more columns

What percentage of UAE population is foreign? ›

UAE Population by Nationality in 2021

According to sources, the 2021 UAE population including expatsis 9.99 million. The total expat population in UAE has now come to 8.84 million, which constitutes approximately 89% of the population. Emiratis or the UAE nationals are only 11% or 1.15 million today.

How many college students are in UAE? ›

Enrolled male students represented 22%, while female students represented 78% of the entire student population. The distribution of the enrolled students across the various Colleges is presented in the following table.
Male Students3170
Female Students11217
9 more columns
7 Sept 2022

What percentage of the UAE is foreign? ›

The UAE is home to over 196* nationalities. Emiratis constitute roughly 20% of the total population, making UAE home to one of the world's highest percentage of expatriates. Indians and Pakistanis form the largest expatriate groups in the country, constituting 28% and 12% of the total population respectively.

Which country students study abroad the most? ›

Countries With Most Students Studying Abroad
RankCountryNumber of Students Studying Abroad
3Republic of Korea123,700
6 more rows

What country is most popular to study abroad? ›

International students are always on the lookout for the best countries to study abroad.
10 most popular countries for international students
  • Canada.
  • China.
  • Australia.
  • France.
  • Russia.
  • Germany.
  • Japan.
  • Spain.

Which country's students study the most? ›

United States

What is the rank of UAE in the world? ›

International rankings
Institute for Economics and Peace [20]Global Peace Index41 out of 144
United Nations Development ProgrammeHuman Development Index35 out of 182
Transparency InternationalCorruption Perceptions Index30 out of 180
World Economic ForumGlobal Competitiveness Report23 out of 133
2 more rows

What is the main source of income in UAE? ›

The UAE economy is heavily reliant on revenues from petroleum and natural gas, especially in Abu Dhabi.

What are the 7 UAE countries? ›

In December 1971, the UAE became a federation of six emirates - Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Umm Al-Quwain, and Fujairah, while the seventh emirate, Ras Al Khaimah, joined the federation in 1972. The capital city is Abu Dhabi, located in the largest and wealthiest of the seven emirates.

What is the number 1 university in the UAE? ›

United Arab Emirates University

How is the UAE education system? ›

In the UAE, both primary and secondary education is free and compulsory in public schools for boys and girls. The main medium of instruction is Arabic, and there is equal emphasis given on the English language. Usually, in the pre-secondary standard, there is no segregation of boys and girls.

Is UAE a fast growing country? ›

The UAE will be the fastest growing economy in the Arabian Gulf in 2023, according to the latest projections from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Are there poor Emiratis in UAE? ›

It is estimated that around 19.5% of Emiratis live below the poverty line. This is an estimation because the UAE does not formally update these statistics themselves. Despite the underreported number of impoverished people in the nation, the government provided support to only 27.1% of Emiratis in 2011.


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