The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is a progressive country and ranks among the top five largest economies in the Middle East and one of the wealthiest countries in the world. Its economy mainly relied on the export of oil and natural gas in the past. While it remains the most significant source of revenue, tourism has recently become a good source of income for the country, especially in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

The education system in the UAE is among the best in the gulf region. However, the top universities in the country are mainly concentrated in its two major Emirates: Abu Dhabi and Dubai. Some leading international academic institutions, such as New York University and the Rochester Institute of Technology, have set up branches in the UAE to make their high quality of education accessible to Emiratis.

Emiratis pay much attention to the importance of education for the further growth and stability of the economy. They receive free public education up to the secondary level. Meanwhile, several tertiary education diplomas are available in the UAE, and the number of citizens aiming for a Bachelor’s, Master’s, and even postgraduate degrees is increasing. With that, take a look at some of the best subjects to study in the United Arab Emirates.

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Top Subjects to Study in the United Arab Emirates

1. Software Engineering / Information Technology

Abu Dhabi and Dubai have an increasing demand for skilled software engineers and IT professionals to help maintain company data and cybersecurity because of the rising number of companies that are becoming dependent on technology. That’s why now is the best time for young Emiratis to consider pursuing a university degree in Software Engineering, Information Technology, or Computer Science, as they are among the top subjects to study in UAE.

Due to the high skill set required of software engineers and IT professionals, those in senior positions are among the highest-paid professionals in the UAE. Young professionals can build up their qualifications and experience from a wide range of career opportunities in various industries, including finance & banking, government offices, marketing firms, and more.

The Abu Dhabi University has undergraduate degrees in Software Engineering, Information Technology, and Computer Engineering. It also offers Master of Science degrees in Information Technology and Computer Engineering. The Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology, Inc. (ABET) recognizes most of these programs.

2. Architecture

UAE is home to some of the most fascinating architectural wonders in the world, including the Burj Khalifa and the Burj Al Arab. These structures helped boost tourism in the country. However, these buildings and many others in the country were designed by foreign architects. With these, aspiring Emirati architects have a lot to learn from, making Architecture an ideal subject to study in the UAE.

Moreover, the massive urban development in the country brought about by the influx of professionals in the major cities calls for intelligent urban design to maximize the space and resources, exhibit Arab authenticity, and promote the high quality of modern life with technology. This challenge comes as more countries edge towards modernization. As a result, many architectural firms have been established in the UAE, offering competitive jobs for talented professionals.

The American University of Sharjah College of Architecture, Art, and Design offers an internationally recognized Bachelor of Architecture program. Meanwhile, Abu Dhabi University offers a five-year undergraduate program in Architecture using English as the medium of instruction.

3. Mechanical Engineering

The United Arab Emirates is an economically stable country that is highly urbanized as almost 90% of the population lives and works in urban areas. To maintain the quality of life for its citizens, the country needs competent engineers. In addition, the UAE’s technologically advanced infrastructures and growing automotive industry also contribute to the constant demand for mechanical engineers.

Until recently, the UAE has employed qualified engineers from other Asian countries due to the shortage of professionals in the local workforce. That is why Mechanical Engineering is one of the best subjects to study in the United Arab Emirates. Some benefits of pursuing such a degree for Emiratis is that they can obtain free education at public universities and gain a high probability of immediate employment upon graduation in various sectors, including aviation, medical, manufacturing, automotive, and security.

The Khalifa University offers Bachelor’s and Master’s degree programs in Mechanical Engineering. The undergraduate program lasts four years, with summer internship opportunities in the third and fourth years. Meanwhile, graduate students may choose from several tracks or concentrations, such as Aeronautics and Robotics.

4. Petroleum Engineering

Since the United Arab Emirates still heavily relies on its oil and natural gas industry, a career in this field remains one of the most promising academic pursuits. Many universities in the country offer energy-related programs, but many people still consider Petroleum Engineering the best option.

Most programs offer students skills not only in the exploration and production of petroleum energy sources but also in various other energy-related subjects. They can also learn research, management, and investment competencies to cope with the demands of the massive petroleum industry. With this, graduates can access multiple job opportunities.

The Khalifa University offers high-quality, research-intensive degree programs in Petroleum Engineering. The four-year Bachelor’s degree program offers several laboratories where students can get hands-on experience conducting experiments, analyzing data, and generating solutions using fundamental engineering skills. Meanwhile, the interdisciplinary Master’s program lasts two years for full-time students and three years for part-time students.

5. Tourism

The tourism industry in the United Arab Emirates, especially in Dubai, skyrocketed in the past few decades due to the rise of impressive architecture and the many various activities available for tourists, such as camel-riding and indoor skiing.

Before the pandemic restrictions were set in place, tourism in the UAE peaked in 2019 with almost forty million tourists. As the conditions started to ease recently, the country is seeing a steady rise in the number of tourists again. Moreover, more architectural projects are set to open and are expected to attract more visitors soon.

Tourism is among the best subjects to study in the United Arab Emirates. The Dubai College of Tourism offers certificate and diploma courses for interested students who want to specialize in Tourism, Hospitality, and other relevant fields. Meanwhile, the United Arab Emirates University has a Bachelor of Arts in Tourism Studies program that presents a comprehensive approach in various aspects of tourism.


I hope that you found this article on the best subjects to study in the United Arab Emirates informative and helpful. Do visit the Asia Scholarships Page to find out more about universities and scholarships in Asia!