UAE's best universities: American University of Sharjah

The National's guide to universities in the Emirates continues with this American institution established in 1997

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As thousands of final-year students in the UAE submit their applications to local universities, we take a look at some of the best higher education options in the Emirates and what they have to offer

Where is it from?


When was it founded?


What is it?

American University of Sharjah is one of the largest and best-established stand-alone universities in the UAE. It was founded by Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Ruler of Sharjah, nearly a quarter of a century ago. AUS offers courses in a host of subjects in the arts, business, design, humanities, science, social sciences and technology. In line with its large size and substantial research base, it performs well in international rankings (and is 7th in the QS listings for the Arab region).

Where is it based?

University City, Sharjah.

How has it handled the Covid-19 pandemic?

AUS makes the health and safety of students and the wider community a priority.

The university quickly adapted to online learning in 2020, supplemented by online student success initiatives. AUS also attempted to maintain an active social and extra-curricular life through virtual activities and events.

Important events were held virtually. During 2020 and 2021, graduating students were honoured through online celebrations. More recently, face-to-face graduation events have been held for students whose graduation could previously not take place in-person.

AUS has taken steps to address financial hardship by extending merit scholarship renewals, increasing need-based support and initiating a Covid-19 Summer Support Fund. With the return to face-to-face learning in all classes from January 31, 2022, AUS continues to prioritise health and safety, adhering to directives from the UAE Ministry of Education.

What are examples of the tuition fees?

Dh384,560 – bachelor’s degrees (four years at Dh96,140 per year. Architecture is a five-year course).

Dh156,750 – master of urban planning

Dh113,700 – master of science in mathematics

Dh285,000 – doctor of philosophy in business administration

(additional fees, such as lab fees and application fees, may apply)

AUS offers “a comprehensive merit and need-based financial aid programme for undergraduate students and graduate assistantship opportunities for graduate students”.

What subject areas does it teach?

Bachelor’s degrees include architecture, biology, business administration, chemistry, computer science, design management, economics, engineering (several sub-disciplines), English language and literature, environmental sciences, interior design, international studies, mass communication, mathematics, multimedia design, physics, psychology, visual communications.

Master’s degrees include accounting, business administration, construction management, engineering (several sub-disciplines), engineering systems management, finance, mathematics, teaching English to speakers of other languages, translation and interpreting, urban planning.

Doctoral degrees include business administration, engineering systems management, and materials science and engineering.

As well as degree programmes, there are courses and minors in many subjects.

What doesn't it teach?

Agriculture, anthropology, archaeology, biochemistry, classics, criminology, dentistry, geology, law, medicine, modern languages, sports science and veterinary medicine.

Where is it ranked globally?

348th – QS World University Rankings

801st – 1000th – Times Higher Education World University Rankings

In the global QS subject area rankings, AUS is ranked in 11 subject areas and is in the 150–200 category in Arts and Design, Architecture and the Built Environment, Civil Engineering, and Accounting and Finance.

Who goes there?

There are 5,198 students from 86 countries. The best-represented country is the UAE, followed by Egypt, then, jointly, India and Jordan.

Who has gone there?

- Sarah Al Amiri, a computer science graduate, is the Minister of State for Advanced Sciences and chairwoman of the UAE Space Agency.

- Adib Fahim, who studied for a bachelor’s degree in international relations, went on to become Afghanistan’s deputy intelligence chief.

- Lubna Al Qasimi studied for an executive MBA at AUS. She was the first woman to become a minister in the UAE government and has held positions including Minister of State for Tolerance.

A message from Dr Susan Mumm, chancellor of American University of Sharjah:

American University of Sharjah (AUS) is an independent, non-profit, co-educational institution offering a transformative experience that provides a foundation for future success.

The university offers one of the region’s most comprehensive need and merit-based scholarship programmes, which ensure broad access to higher education.

Students who join AUS are supported through a comprehensive First-Year Experience (FYE) programme, which is intended to facilitate the transition to university life.

An AUS education encourages intellectual discovery and critical reflection, promotes an appreciation of the various modes of human inquiry, and develops the knowledge and skills to contribute to the Gulf region and the world at large.

Accomplished full-time faculty members who are recognised in their fields offer degree programmes at the bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral levels.

Students at all levels have opportunities to work with faculty on research and creative projects that have an impact in the region and beyond.

In addition to providing a stimulating academic environment, the university supports a rich and varied programme of extra- and co-curricular activities with more than 70 student clubs and organisations.

AUS alumni have achieved tremendous success and are sought after by top graduate programmes and employers.

From supporting the Emirates Mars Mission to being awarded the prestigious Aga Khan Award for Architecture, alumni are making a difference through their work in government, science, creative fields, non-profit organisations and business.

Updated: April 19, 2022, 6:40 AM