Dubai is home to excellent national and international universities. In fact, many world-class global universities have their branches in Dubai, which means you will be able to choose from numerous English-taught master’s programs. Getting a master’s degree in Dubai has plenty of advantages, especially in the study experience and quality. Over the recent years, Dubai has experienced outstanding developments, both in infrastructure and economy, driving many international companies to conduct their business here. If you’re an international student wishing to pursue your master’s degree in Dubai, keep reading to learn anything from advantages, requirements, and career opportunities. 

Here’s everything you need to know about getting a master’s degree in Dubai:

Why Study Masters in Dubai?

  1. Excellent National and International Universities

Prospective students in the United Arab Emirates can find a large selection of international branch campuses across the seven Emirate states. Most of these international universities are based in cities like Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, and Dubai, which means you will be able to have your pick if your study destination is, well, Dubai. For example, the British University in Dubai (BUiD), established in 2003, partners with a wide array of universities in the UK, such as Kings College London and University of Manchester, to name a few. As a result, students can choose from tens of bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees across a wide range of disciplines. 

  1. Booming Economy and Advancement Opportunities

With one of the fastest-growing economies in the world, UAE shows great promise when it comes to quality of education and employment opportunities. The UAE government recognizes the importance of education when it comes to building a knowledge-based economy and its higher education has been designed in such a way to contribute towards this type of economy. The UAE’s national strategy for higher education emphasizes skills development, both technical and practical, and growth in sectors like entrepreneurship, knowledge, and economy, to mention a few. 

  1. Multicultural Environment and Outstanding Experience

The Dubai International Academic City is a purpose-built higher education zone comprising 27 university campuses from international institutions. As the world’s largest free zone dedicated to tertiary education, DIAC attracts students from all around the world to its internationally accredited universities. Students are part of an exceptional and multicultural environment, where they can learn, study, socialize and advance in their careers. Dubai has quickly become one of the most popular destinations for tourists and students alike, which is why studying master’s in Dubai would be quite an excellent opportunity.

Requirements to Study Masters in Dubai

Some of the requirements to study masters in Dubai include: 

  1. English Language Requirement

The majority of higher education institutions in Dubai are local private universities or international branches of universities across the UK, US, Canada, etc. Most of these use English as the language of instruction. Therefore, international students wishing to pursue their master’s degree in Dubai have to prove their English proficiency in order to be offered admission. You can prove your English language proficiency by submitting qualified English language qualifications, such as TOEFL or IELTS. Specific minimum scores differ from one university to another; however, typically, the minimum falls around IELTS 6.0 or TOEFL iBT80.

  1. Student Health Insurance

International students must obtain and maintain health insurance during their stay in Dubai, in compliance with the Dubai student visa laws. Health insurance is necessary to ensure that you receive quality medical care in case you need it during your studies in Dubai. Students usually opt for budget-friendly health insurance plans to cover them for the duration of their student visa. You should consider factors such as your income, financial situation, personal health circumstances, as well as your expenses to decide which health insurance best fits your needs. 

Some health insurance providers include: 

Here’s a detailed article on travel medical insurance for Dubai.

  1. Student Visa

A student visa is necessary if you wish to pursue your master’s degree in Dubai. One of the student visa requirements to Dubai is an official letter of admission from the university you plan to pursue your degree.

Generally, the student visa to Dubai requirements are:

  • Official letter of admission from your chosen university.
  • Certificate of continuation of study (for students proceeding with their 2nd year of studies).
  • Medical fitness test.
  • Health insurance.
  • Proof of financial stability.
  • Visa sponsorship (from the university, parent, legal guardian, or relative).
  • Approval of relevant General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA).
  1. Academic Requirements

Academic requirements depend heavily on the university you wish to pursue your master’s in Dubai. Universities typically ask students to submit scores of specific standardized tests, such as the GRE or GMAT. Additionally, students must have an undergraduate degree to be eligible for admission to a master’s program in Dubai. Universities accept an honors degree (or equivalent) or an ordinary bachelor’s degree with relevant research/work experience and minimum GPA requirements. The English language requirements are also part of the admission requirements, but specific scores depend on the respective university.

Tuition Fees and Living Costs

Depending on the program and university, tuition fees for master’s programs in Dubai can range anywhere from AED 50,000 (~US$13,600) to AED 90,000 (~US$24,500) year. For example, at the British University in Dubai (BUiD), tuition fees for Master’s programs range from AED 64,000 (~$17,400) for a Master’s in Education to AED 125,000 (~$34,000) for an MSc in Architecture. More or less, this is what international students are required to pay in tuition fees for a master’s program at Dubai universities. Many universities in Dubai also offer scholarship opportunities. 

Tuition fees are not the only expenses you should consider when traveling to Dubai. Living costs such as daily necessities, rent, and other expenses are also a major part of the studying abroad experience in Dubai. It has been estimated that an international student in Dubai will need approximately AED 3,420 (US$931) per month to cover their living expenses, excluding the cost of accommodation/rent. Some of the everyday expenses and their estimated costs are listed in the table below (in US$).

ItemAverage Cost
Meal (Inexpensive Restaurant)$10
Three-Course Meal (Mid-Range Restaurant)$34
Water (0.33-liter bottle)$0.50
Coke/Pepsi (0.33-liter bottle)$1.20
Cup of Coffee (Cappuccino)$5.12
Local Transport Ticket $1.36
Cinema Ticket$11

Duration of Masters Programs in Dubai

A master’s program in Dubai takes anywhere from one to two years of full-time study to complete. Master’s degrees in the United Arab Emirates are rather similar to those in other parts of the world. Students have the opportunity to pursue either an MA, MSc, or MBA, depending on career aspirations and preferences. Students can expect taught master’s programs to take less time to complete than research-focused master’s programs. Generally, the time frame is one to two years. 

Popular master’s programs in Dubai include Science, Engineering, Business Administration, Architecture, Humanities, and Social Sciences. 

Student Accommodation in Dubai

There are numerous student accommodation options available for international students in Dubai. Common options include living in student residential areas or private accommodation. Dubai features a few student housing centers, specifically The Myriad and KSK Homes Student Residence, located in the Dubai Academic City. In addition, universities usually collaborate with student residences to provide budget-friendly and comfortable accommodation close to campus for students. 

You can search for student accommodation in Dubai using the following sites:

Cost of Student Accommodation in Dubai

The cost of living in student residence depends on location, room type, and other amenities. For example, the monthly cost of a single room at The Myriad (student residence) is AED 3,350 ($900), while shared rooms are usually cheaper, approximately AED 2,250 ($600) per month. Students may also choose to rent a room in a shared apartment in Dubai. In this case, they would have to share the cost of rent and utilities with flatmates. However, renting an apartment in Dubai can be expensive. For example, a three-bedroom apartment in the city center costs an average of $2,900 per month, while a one-bedroom apartment in the city center costs around $1,500 per month. 

Top Universities to Study Masters in Dubai

Some of the top universities to study masters in Dubai are:

  1. American University in Dubai
  2. Canadian University Dubai
  3. University of Wollongong in Dubai (UOWD)
  4. University of Dubai
  5. The British University in Dubai (BUiD)

Career Prospects in Dubai After Masters

Dubai’s booming developments in a wide range of areas have made it easier for people to find full-time employment. Dubai’s economy is driven mainly by tourism, real estate, financial services, tech, and shipping. As an international student in Dubai, you may search for full-time employment; however, you must change from a university-sponsored visa to an employer-sponsored visa. These types of visas are not available for part-time work. 

Salaries in Dubai vary depending on the career path, but they can be rather lucrative. Master graduate salaries can range from AED 3,500 ($950) to AED 6,000 ($1,600) per month. Depending on the professional experience, company size, and career path, you may even earn up to AED 15,000 ($4,000) per month, especially in managerial positions. Some of the highest-paying jobs in Dubai include careers related to engineering, accounting, business development, etc.