In the Middle East lies the United Arab Emirates (UAE), a country comprised of seven states or emirates. The oil industry boom has led to a significant change in the area, attracting individuals worldwide, including students. The culture, opportunities, and excellent education undoubtedly play a part in convincing many to take their bachelor’s in the country.

In the guide below, we discuss how you can apply for a bachelor’s degree in the United Arab Emirates.

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Application Requirements for Applying for Bachelors in the United Arab Emirates

Here are some applicant requirements when applying for a bachelor’s degree in the United Arab Emirates: original high school certificate, a true copy of Grade 12 certificate, passport, residency visa, birth certificate, picture, language certificate, academic transcripts, high school grades, application form, good conduct certificate.

Bachelor’s Degree Language Requirements for the United Arab Emirates

Many universities in the United Arab Emirates offer English-taught programs. Thus, Arabic proficiency may or may not be needed. Here are some language requirements universities may have:

For English proficiency, applicants for the United Arab Emirates University should have an EmSAT grade of at least 1250, TOEFL ITP (score of 525)/IBT (score of 70), or IELTS score of at least 5.5. If they cannot furnish proof of English proficiency, they must take the university entry English test. The British Council should approve the IELTS certificate if it was issued outside the country. You may also be exempted from these requirements if you came from a native English-speaking country or your school was an English-medium institution.

Meanwhile, for Arabic proficiency, applicants of the United Arab Emirates University should have an EmSAT Arabic score of at least 900. Programs delivered primarily in Arabic require higher scores of 1,100. You may be exempted from the Arabic language requirements if you are a non-Arabic speaker and your chosen program is English-taught only.

The American University of Sharjah accepts TOEFL, IELTS, and EmSAT Achieve-English scores. There are no exemptions. As such, all applicants must submit results from any of these proficiency tests.

Khalifa University requires students to present proof of language proficiency to be considered for full admission. They accept results from IELTS Academics (at least 6.0), EmSAT English (at least 1400), and TOEFL IBT (at least 79). Non-Arabic speakers are exempted from taking EmSAT Arabic.

How to Apply for Bachelor’s Programs in the United Arab Emirates

For this section, we have outlined a general procedure you may follow for your application to study for a bachelor’s degree in the UAE:

1. Choose a program and check requirements

Select a program and look into the university’s admission criteria or requirements, as well as the program’s specific requirements. Some programs require specific EmSAT scores, which we shall discuss in the following sections.

The United Arab Emirates University has an admissions criterion for international students. Applicants must have a high school certificate or equivalent with a grade of at least 80%. They should also present valid English proficiency scores. Each college also has a specific admission requirement. For instance, the College of Engineering requires an EmSAT Mathematics score of at least 1,100 and a Chemistry or Physics score of at least 500. If you did not take the EmSAT, you may present an equivalent or pass the college placement tests instead. Some programs are also limited to UAE nationals and their children only.

For the American University of Sharjah, there are additional requirements for students with international certificates or diplomas. For instance, holders of American high school diplomas must have a final grade of B or 80%. Applicants must also have an SAT Mathematics score of at least 450 or an EmSAT Achieve-Math score of at least 500.

Meanwhile, Khalifa University requires international applicants to submit any of the following: SAT Math score of at least 700, AP Math score of at least 3, and a Level Math score of at least C.

2. Prepare documents

Prepare all documents required by the university or program you are applying to.

The United Arab Emirates University also requires applicants who wish to study for their undergraduate degree in the UAE to submit a security form, Financial Undertaking Form, and Medical Examination Form.

3. Check if you need to take the EmSAT

The Emirates Standardized Test (EmSAT) is a national standardized exam in the United Arab Emirates. It is used for college or university admissions and applications. Students applying for a bachelor’s degree in the UAE may or may not be required to take this test, depending on the university they wish to apply for.

Some universities, like Khalifa University, allow students to apply first before taking the EmSAT. However, their application will undergo final processing only upon submission of test results. Other universities like United Arab Emirates University allow applicants to submit alternatives or take a placement test instead. Consult with your target university to know if the EmSAT is necessary for application.

While the EmSAT itself has no minimum passing scores, most universities set a minimum score that applicants must meet.

4. Submit through the online application system

Universities have their application systems through which you shall apply and upload documents.

The United Arab Emirates University has a separate application website for international students, so make sure you apply through the correct site.

4. Pay application fees

Remember to submit documents on time and pay your fees on time. If you fail to pay, your application might not be processed completely or on time.

5. Take the interview

Some universities and programs, like Khalifa University, require applicants to proceed to an interview. Their interview is conducted in English, and applicants will be evaluated based on their communication skills, familiarity with the profession, commitment, reasons for applying, and leadership abilities.

6. Await results

Wait for the results of the application. You may ask for updates from the admissions but keep in mind that they may be busy due to the influx of applications. Upon receiving your letter of admission, refer to the university for the next steps.

For the American University of Sharjah, admitted applicants still have to take major placement tests to register at a level fit to their exam score.

Failure to meet minimum requirements may lead to conditional admission. For Khalifa University, English language test results, an EmSAT score of at least 1250, and a satisfactory interview are needed for full admission. But if you do not meet the full admission minimum scores, you may be admitted conditionally and have to take a preparatory program.


I hope this article on how to apply for a bachelor’s degree in the UAE was helpful. Do visit the Asia Scholarships Page to find out more about universities and scholarships in Asia!