The United Arab Emirates may not be the immediate choice for foreigners, but it proves to be one of the best options for studying in the Gulf region. Here, learners can enjoy the sun and the sea – as well as tax-free earnings after graduating.

That being said, if you’re looking for a great study destination, you should write the UAE on your list. With the cheap universities in UAE, you can finish a world-class degree without any financial burden.

What Are the Requirements of Studying in the United Arab Emirates?

Applicants need to present a high school/bachelor’s certificate to enroll. In certain universities, students may need to meet a certain grade as well (i.e. 80% for UAE University).

Proof of English proficiency is required as well. This can be done by taking the IELTS or the TOEFL exam.

Check Also: Available Programs for International Students

Can You Study in English at Emirati Universities?

Yes. Khalifa University, for one, offers an English program with three 3-credit courses. Schools such as the UAE University also offer English courses, wherein students who meet set exam grades are exempted.

Cheap Universities in the United Arab Emirates

1. University of Sharjah

The University of Sharjah or UOS is a private educational institution located in University City, UAE. Founded in 1997 by Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al-Qasimi, it was established to meet the academic needs of the region. With the undergraduate tuition fee starting from $8,453 per year, the University of Sharjah is the cheapest university in UAE for international students.

To date, it is listed as one of the best universities in UAE and Asia – apart from being one of the best ‘young’ schools in the world.

UOS, which has branches in Kalba, Dhaid, and Khor Fakkan, boasts of the highest number of accredited programs in the country. To date, it offers 54 bachelor’s, 23 master’s, and 11 doctorate degrees.

These include programs in Sharia & Islamic Studies, Arts & Humanities, Business, Engineering, Health, Law, Fine Arts & Design, Communications, Medicine, Dentistry, Pharmacy, Science, and Informatics.

UOS is one of the more internationalized schools in UAE, with 58% of its 12,688 students coming from various parts of the globe.

2. Aldar University College

The Aldar University College opened in 1994 to provide students with practical aptitude and industry-essential skills. Apart from offering bachelor’s degrees, this cheap university in UAE also offers associate programs and English language courses. These classes are offered during the weekdays (mornings and evenings) as well as weekends to meet the students’ varying schedules.

At Aldar University College, learners can major in Engineering (Communications, Computer, or Electrical), Automatic Control Systems, or Information Technology. Degrees in Business Administration, Accounting, Marketing, Finance, Industrial Management, Hospitality, and Public Relations are available as well.

Aldar University College offers scholarships even to international students. Presently, deserving applicants are entitled to a 10% discount every semester. In case this is not enough, foreigners may also work 6 hours a day to finance their studies at Aldar.

3. American University in the Emirates

The American University of Emirates or AUE was founded in the year 2006. This private institution, which is located in Dubai International City, offers a variety of programs through its 7 colleges. These specializations include Business Administration, Law, Education, Design, Computer Information Technology, Security & Global Studies, and Media & Mass Communications.

AUE also provides unique Master’s degrees, such as Sports Management (Equine Track), Knowledge Management, and Sports Law. It also offers postgraduate courses in Business Administration, Security & Strategic Studies, Diplomacy, and Arbitration.

AUE is accredited by both the AACSB International (for its Business programs) and the Computing Accreditation Commission (for its IT courses).

4. Ajman University

Ajman University, an affordable university in the United Arab Emirates, is ranked as one of the top 750 institutions in QS World University Rankings. It is also touted as the 35th best university in the Arab region.

Founded in June 1988, Ajman University holds the distinction of being the first private institution in the Gulf Cooperation Council. It was also the first university to admit foreigners, a tradition that continues up until now.

Based in the Al-Jurf area, the university is nestled in a 215,000 square-meter campus complete with mosques, restaurants, and sports facilities. Here, students can take undergraduate and graduate programs in the fields of Architecture & Design, Business, Dentistry, Engineering & Information Technology, Humanities, Law, Medicine, Mass Communication, and Pharmacy & Health Sciences. The number of programs increases by the year, with the university recently introducing degrees in Data Analytics and Artificial Intelligence.

5. Abu Dhabi University

Abu Dhabi University, one of the cheapest universities in UAE, is the largest private educational institution in the country. It was founded in 2003 following the efforts of Sheikh Hamdan Bin Zayed Al Nahyan. Presently, it has campuses in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, and Al Ain.

The university’s 55 programs are organized under the Colleges of Arts & Science, Business, Engineering, Health Science, and Law. These degrees – among many other factors – have helped the university rank sixth in the country according to the QS survey.

Abu Dhabi University, which is home to 8,000 students, has foreign learners coming from over 70 countries. These students may apply for any of the scholarships in the school, which include Merit-based, Athletic, Academic, and Family-related bursaries.

6. Modul University Dubai

Modul University Dubai, also known as MU Dubai, is an international campus of Modul University Vienna. Founded in 2016, the new institution is currently housed in the beautiful Jumeirah Lakes Towers.

Since the campus is placed in a newly-developed building, MU Dubai offers the finest features, including high-speed lifts, 24-security access, even common prayer rooms.

As a relatively small university, presently MU Dubai only offers bachelor’s degrees in Tourism & Hospitality Management and International Management. At the graduate level, it offers an MSc in Sustainable Development as well as 4 innovative MBA tracks (General, Tourism & Hotel Development, Media & Information Management, and Entrepreneurship).

7. United Arab Emirates University

The United Arab Emirates University or UAEU is heralded as the best university in the country. It is also recognized as one of the finest in Asia and the world.

These are not the UAEU’s only accolades though, as it is also known as the oldest government-sponsored school. It was founded by the Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan in the year 1976 after the British occupation. This also makes UAEU one of the best ‘young’ universities by THE World Rankings.

Based in Al-Ain, this affordable university in UAE offers undergraduate and graduate programs in Business & Economics, Education, Food & Agriculture, Humanities & Social Science, Law, Information Technology, Medicine & Health, and Science.

Through these colleges, UAEU has helped produce some of the country’s most reputable personalities – including government ministers, businessmen, artists, and military officials.

As one of the top universities in the region, UAEU continues to attract students from all over the world. To date, 18% of UAEU’s 7,270 students come from the 7 Emirates – and 64 other countries.


I hope that this article on the cheap universities in UAE was helpful. Make sure to also check out the Available Programs for International Students!