Top 5 Universities in Abu Dhabi for International Students

Overview of the top Abu Dhabi universities available to international students: university advantages, areas of study, cost per credit hour, locations and contact details.
Nov 3, 2022

Abu Dhabi offers foreigners wishing to move to the emirate a perfect beachfront living environment, a developed social and transport infrastructure, favourable conditions for work and business, and world-class educational institutions for all ages. If you or your children are thinking about graduating in the Emirati capital, check out our selection of the best universities in Abu Dhabi with undergraduate and graduate programmes.

Top 5 Universities in Abu Dhabi for Foreigners

If you have decided to move to Abu Dhabi to live or work with your family members, there is no need to worry about education for children or even for yourself if you are wanting to improve your own skills, or get a diploma in another specialization. More than 25 universities operate in the Emirati capital, such as several public institutions and a wide range of private universities, including branches of well-known foreign and international institutions. A complete list of higher education institutions can be found on the official website of the Government of Abu Dhabi.

Note: Previously, foreign residents could only enroll in private universities in the UAE, while public universities were available exclusively to citizens of the UAE. Nowadays foreign applicants have the opportunity to study at a number of public universities, for instance, at the United Arab Emirates University (UAEU) and Zayed University.

United Arab Emirates University (UAEU)

UAEU is the flagship Emirati university, which was founded in 1976 by Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan. As of today, about 13,000 local and international students from 75 countries study here.

UAEU academic programmes are developed in partnership with potential employers and the university offers a great number of undergraduate and graduate programmes. The university has 9 separate Colleges, in addition to College of Graduate Studies and University College, which includes:

• College of Business and Economics

• College of Education

• College of Engineering

• College of Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine

• College of Information Technology

• College of Humanities and Social Sciences

• College of Law

• College of Science

• College of Medicine and Health Sciences

Among the benefits of the university are its international teaching staff, the opportunity of joint research programmes with well-known companies, a modern campus, and a comprehensive student support service, which includes medical services, consultations, financial assistance and much more. A special department called the International Students Office (ISO) has been created here to support foreign students, assist them with any UAE visa issues, financial issues, Health Insurance Cards, and coordinate with government agencies and embassies. For academic excellence, international students can receive undergraduate scholarships that cover 50% or 100% of their tuition fees. Currently, the UAEU is ranked 5th among Arab universities and has 296th place in the world university ranking.

Tuition Fees: For international undergraduate students, the cost of a credit hour is from AED 1,900 (USD 520) to AED 3,000 (USD 820), while students enrolling in master’s programmes will have to pay anywhere from AED 1,600 (USD 440) to AED 3,000 (USD 820). The cost of living on the campus is AED 5,000 (USD 1,400) per semester for undergraduate students and AED 5,600 (USD 1,500) for students of master’s programmes.

Address & Contacts: Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Street, Al Ain, tel. +971-3-767-3333

Note: A credit hour is a unit that measures the student's academic workload, including classroom hours and independent work per week. At the end of the semester, the student is assigned a certain number of credit hours. The university sets the minimum number which is necessary for students to successfully complete the academic year and receive a diploma in the future.

Zayed University

Zayed University was opened in 1998 and named after the founder of the state, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan. It has two campuses, located in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, and accepts local and international students. The teaching staff of the university includes professionals from Europe, the USA and Australia, and teaching is conducted in English, with almost 30 undergraduate and graduate programmes are available at the university. The following colleges are offered to students:

• College of Arts and Creative Enterprises:

• College of Business

• College of Communication and Media Sciences

• College of Education

• College of Humanities and Social Sciences

• College of Natural and Health Sciences

• College of Technological Innovation

• College of Interdisciplinary Studies

Tuition Fees: For international students, the cost of a credit hour is AED 2,500 (USD 680), while the 8-semester programme includes about 120 credit hours.

Address & Contacts: Zayed City, Khalifa City C, Abu Dhabi, tel. +971-2-599 3111

New York University Abu Dhabi (NYU Abu Dhabi)

NYU Abu Dhabi is one of three branches of New York University along with institutions located in New York and Shanghai, which was opened in the Emirati capital in 2010. With over 1,800 students from 120 countries, this private international university offers 26 undergraduate majors and 13 graduate programmes in areas such as Arts and Humanities, Engineering, Sciences (Biology, Physics, Mathematics, etc.) and Social Sciences. A specific specialty can be chosen after the first year of study.

The NYU Abu Dhabi campus is located on Saadiyat Island which is the cultural center of the UAE. The island also offers The Arts Center, Art Gallery and the Research Institute, as well as sports facilities, restaurants, and other amenities.

Tuition Fees: For the 2022/2023 academic year, the undergraduate tuition fee is USD 29,100 per semester. An additional fee of USD 5,900 is paid for accommodation and boarding.

Address & Contacts: Saadiyat Marina District, Saadiyat Island, Abu Dhabi, tel. +971-2-628-4000

Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi

Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi is a branch of the world famous Parisian university and was founded in 2006, with the UAE campus located on Al Reem Island. The university offers 11 undergraduate and 14 master's programmes. Humanities, natural sciences, social sciences and languages ​​are all taught here, and graduates in these areas will receive a diploma from the Sorbonne University. Law, management and economics programmes are also offered, with graduates enrolling in these courses receiving a diploma from Université Paris Cité. Classes are held in French, English and Arabic. Students of over 60 nationalities study at the university, and more than 2,000 people have already graduated.

Note: If you want to travel quickly to Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi, the best option would be to rent or buy real estate on Al Reem Island.

Tuition Fees: A 1-2 year Foundation Year course will cost from AED 49,000 (USD 13,000) to AED 73,000 (USD 20,000), the cost of undergraduate education (3 years) is AED 215,100 (USD 59,000), while the tuition fee for a master's programme ranges from AED 132,000 (USD 36,000) to AED 178,000 (USD 48,000).

Address & Contacts: Jazeerat Al Reem, Abu Dhabi, tel. +971 (0) 2 656 9330/555

Khalifa University

Khalifa University, founded in 2007, specializes in engineering and medicine. It is a comprehensive research-intensive university, consisting of College of Engineering, College of Arts & Sciences, and College of Medicine & Health, 36 academic departments, and several undergraduate, master, and doctoral programmes. A high quality education is provided to students thanks to its professional teachers from different countries and a unique material and technical base, including state-of-the-art research equipment.

High-performing international students of undergraduate and graduate programmes on a full-time basis have an opportunity to receive scholarships that cover up to 100% of tuition fees.

Tuition Fees: The price of a credit hour starts from AED 3,300 (USD 910) for undergraduate programmes, while credit hours for master’s and doctoral studies are AED 5,000 (USD 1,400) AED 6,700 (USD 1,800) respectively.

Address & Contacts: Zone 1, Abu Dhabi, tel. +971-2-312-3333

How Can We Help You?

Whichever Abu Dhabi university you or your child choose, Metropolitan Capital Real Estate experts are ready to assist you in purchasing or renting a residential unit close to the educational institution to suit your needs and budget. We will accompany you at all stages of the transaction, and if necessary, help in obtaining a mortgage, a UAE residence visa, as well as resolving various legal issues.

Moreover, you will be able to receive a stable passive income from renting out your property in the future, as it will be in demand among students and expats working nearby. If your chosen residential unit is located in one of the tourist destinations, such as Saadiyat Island, you will also be able to generate a lucrative profit from short-term rentals. For maximum comfort, you can run to our professional property management service, where we will take care of all issues from finding tenants and interacting with them, as well as resolving any arising legal issues.