Studying in Abu Dhabi

Universities and Colleges in Abu Dhabi
Updated 2021-11-10 11:44

Abu Dhabi is not only an excellent place to live and work, but it also offers world-class education. There are local universities and world-renowned universities within the capital that open their doors to students from all over the Emirates and the world. Student life is as diverse as expats in the capital's workplaces because they mingle with people from all walks of life. International students flock to the UAE yearly to pursue their dreams and eventually settle in the city as well.

In the United Arab Emirates, higher education institutions are required by law to be recognised by the Commission for Academic Accreditation of (CAA), a part of the Ministry of Education.

World-class universities call Abu Dhabi their home too, such as New York University Abu Dhabi and Paris Sorbonne University. Students from all over the world, as well as locals and residents, apply to prestigious universities to enjoy quality education without having to travel outside the United Arab Emirates. Students also often choose to stay in Abu Dhabi to pursue their chosen career paths right after graduation because of the opportunities presented to them in the capital.

Top universities in Abu Dhabi

Two of the best universities in Abu Dhabi are Khalifa University (ranked 183rd in QS Top University Rankings 2021) and United Arab Emirates University (ranked 288th in QS Top University Rankings 2021).

Khalifa University is located in Abu Dhabi with another campus in Sharjah. It was founded in 2007 following a decree issued by the president of the UAE. Engineering programmes and graduate degree programmes are offered, and soon, a new campus for medical school will arise as well as modern facilities such as labs, student centres and sports facilities.

United Arab Emirates University is the oldest university in the UAE, which was founded in 1976. Students from all over the Emirates enrol here, as well as international students. It has close ties with the industry, making it easy for students to be absorbed by their companies of choice for internships.

Here are the rest of the universities and colleges in the capital as well as their accreditation.

Admission to top universities in Abu Dhabi

Universities in Abu Dhabi are open to people of all walks of life, regardless of race, sex, religion and country of origin. People living with disabilities are also admitted. The application period is usually throughout the year in the Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter. Specific dates for the application period are posted regularly on the websites of these universities.

Below are the basic requirements for top universities:

Abu Dhabi University

For admission to Abu Dhabi University, you will need the following:

  • Completed online application form
  • Certified copy of official general secondary or high school certificate (or its equivalent)
  • Original equivalency letter issued by the UAE Ministry of Education
  • Passport-sized photo with white background
  • Copy of valid passport (and residence visa if resident in the UAE)
  • Copy of Emirates ID Card (if resident in the UAE)
  • Official score report for IELTS Academic (5.0), IBT TOEFL (61) or IPT 500 (taken at ADUKG or AmidEast Institute only)
  • Official transcripts and course syllabi from other universities for credit transfer
  • Proof of 11 years of schooling required for students with IGCSE/GCSE subjects
  • Non-refundable application fee (online payment)

New York University Abu Dhabi

For admission to the prestigious NYUAD, you will need the following:

  • Standardised tests:
  1. SAT (essay test not required)
  2. ACT (writing test not required)
  • Three SAT Subject Test stores
  • Three AP exam scores
  • International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma
  • Three IB higher-level exam scores if not an IB Diploma candidate
  • Specific nationally accredited exams that show you completed secondary education.
  • Required school forms:
  1. Common application school report
  2. Counsellor recommendation
  3. Teacher evaluation
  • Application essays
  • Optional arts portfolio
  • English language testing

Khalifa University

For admission to Khalifa University, you will need the following:

  • English language proficiency certificate
  • Photograph with white background
  • Copy of valid passport
  • A valid visa (for non-UAE residents who reside in the UAE)
  • Birth certificate (for UAE nationals and applicants with Emirati mother)
  • Grade 12 transcript, 1st, 2nd and 3rd semesters
  • Grade 10 and 11 certificates (all private schools)
  • Equivalency certificate from the UAE Ministry of Education (All private schools)
  • A complete copy of your family book (Khulasat Al Qaid- for UAE nationals only)
  • Passport union number (UAE nationals only)
  • Copy of UAE National ID Card (for applicants who reside in the UAE)
  • Personal information for (for applicants with Emirati mother and non-UAE nationals who reside in the UAE).

Useful links:

Khalifa University


Abu Dhabi University

NYU Abu Dhabi

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