UAE's best universities: Heriot-Watt University

The National's guide to universities in the Emirates continues with this Scottish institution established in 2005

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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?

Edinburgh (often referred to as Old Smokey), Scotland

When was it founded?

1821 (parent university); 2005 (Dubai campus)

What is it?

Founded 200 years ago as “the world’s first mechanics institute” – a centre teaching technical subjects – in Edinburgh in Scotland, Heriot-Watt is the eighth-oldest higher education institution in the UK and has three campuses in Scotland. It is well-established in the UAE, being the first British university to open in Dubai International Academic City. A wide range of subjects are offered on the Dubai campus. While the university is particularly strong in business and engineering disciplines, it also has degree programmes in contrasting fields such as fashion. Heriot-Watt has another satellite campus, in Putrajaya in Malaysia. In Dubai the university received a five-star ranking from Dubai’s Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) in 2019 and 2020.

Where is it based?

Dubai Knowledge Park (the new campus replaces the one in Dubai International Academic City)

How has it handled the Covid-19 pandemic?

The blended learning approach followed by the university, together with digitally enabled campus, helped students to engage with on-campus live sessions remotely.

"Students attend all practical sessions. We have not received any major deferral requests – we have witnessed a significant increase in our admissions for our January 2022 intake by close to 10 per cent," the university said.

"Our admissions and student recruitment teams have moved quickly to organise virtual events like our Hybrid Admissions Week that will allow prospective students, parents and working professionals to book an appointment for a consultation with our admissions team and faculty either virtually or on a one-to-one basis.”

What are the fees?

Dh235,200 – bachelor of business administration (four years at Dh58,800 per year)

Dh260,400 – bachelor of science in computer science (four years at Dh65,100 per year)

Dh85,050 – master of science in advanced mechanical engineering (one year)

Dh207,900 – engineering doctorate in construction (four years)

What subjects does it teach?

Bachelor’s degree subjects include accountancy, architecture, business, computer science, cybersecurity, data sciences, engineering, fashion, finance, interior design, management, marketing, psychology, statistics.

Master’s degree programmes include artificial intelligence, business psychology, business analytics, construction project management, digital marketing, energy, logistics and supply chain management, information technology, network security, real estate, software engineering and strategic project management.

Doctoral degree programmes include construction, energy, energy, geoscience, infrastructure and society, engineering and physical sciences, management and languages, mathematical and computer sciences, and psychology.

There are one-year degree entry or foundation programmes tailored to particular undergraduate courses.

What doesn't it teach?

Agriculture, anthropology, archaeology, biochemistry, biology, chemistry, criminology, dentistry, filmmaking, geology, history, journalism, law, medicine, modern languages, music, philosophy, physics, politics, sports science and veterinary medicine.

Where is it ranked globally?

270th – QS World University Rankings (parent university)

501 - 600th – Times Higher Education World University Rankings (parent university)

Who goes there?

There are nearly 4,000 students from 105 countries, with India, Pakistan and China being the major contributors.

Who has gone to the parent university?

- Adam Crozier, a businessman who, in the UK, has run the advertising agency Saatchi & Saatchi, The Football Association, the Royal Mail Group and ITV, one of Britain’s main television networks.

- Irvine Welsh, an author best known for his novel Trainspotting, which deals with urban poverty in Edinburgh.

- Shirley Robinson, who won sailing gold medals in successive Olympic Games, the first British woman to do so.

A note from Prof Ammar Kaka, provost and vice principal:

We were the first university to set foot in Dubai International Academic City in 2005, and today we proudly serve about 4,000 students from around the world, who have joined us in pursuit of a prestigious British qualification.

This growth alone is a testament to our tremendous success and our strong reputation as a well-respected British university in the UAE.

Being a globally connected university, our Dubai campus delivers the equivalent level of academic experience as well as identical standards and learning outcomes as our UK campuses.

With our new digitally enabled campus at Dubai Knowledge Park, we look forward to welcoming our future students in a more stimulating and supportive learning environment.

Updated: April 20, 2022, 4:00 AM