UAE's best universities: The British University in Dubai

The National's guide to universities in the Emirates continues with this British institution established in 2003

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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?

The university was established by the late Sheikh Maktoum bin Rashid, then the Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, with the aim of offering British-style higher education. It is a non-profit institution and was founded by the Al Maktoum Foundation, the Dubai Development and Investment Authority, Rolls-Royce, the British Business Group and the National Bank of Dubai (now Emirates NBD). The intention has been for the university to develop a strong research base to help it contribute to the development of the region. Initially it was a postgraduate-only university, but in 2018 BUiD began admitting undergraduates. BUiD has an alliance with the UK’s Russell Group of universities, members of which include some of the world’s top 100 institutions, including the University of Edinburgh, the University of Glasgow and the University of Manchester.

Where is it based?

Dubai International Academic City.

How has it handled the Covid-19 pandemic?

In a statement, the university said: “BUiD has responded quickly and efficiently and it has spared no effort in order to facilitate the online learning process. BUiD, as an accredited university, adheres to the regulations and protocols of the UAE Ministry of Education. To that end, we have shifted all teaching and learning online for the first three weeks of January and we will comply with whatever the ministry advises going forward. Furthermore, in the years leading up to the pandemic, BUiD’s library had already been making the necessary investment in international e-resources to expand its considerable electronic databases and to guarantee the smooth running of the teaching process as well as ongoing research; this early adoption of e-library resources has stood us in good stead during Covid-19 as our students and researchers are already familiar with and used to working online.”

What are examples of the fees?

Dh225,000 – bachelor of science in computer science software engineering (four years)

Dh67,000 – master of science in finance

Dh125,000 – master of architecture

Dh165,000 – doctor of education or PhD in education (three years full-time or four years part-time)

Dh225,000 – doctorate in project management (three years full-time or four years part-time)

What subject areas does it teach?

- Bachelor’s degree subjects include accounting and finance, business management, computer science (artificial intelligence or software engineering), electro-mechanical and law.

- Master’s degree subjects include architecture, business administration, construction law and dispute resolution, education (various sub-disciplines), engineering (various sub-disciplines), informatics, information technology management, project management, structural engineering and sustainable design in the built environment.

- Doctorates include business administration, business law, architecture and sustainable built environment, business management, computer science, education, and project management.

Where is it ranked globally?

61-70 – QS World University Rankings Arab Region

Not listed – Times Higher Education World University Rankings

Who goes there?

The university declined to give figures for student numbers.

Who has gone there?

- Salam Omar Ali took a PhD in educational leadership and administration and is now education affairs director (principal) at United Private School in the UAE.

- Ahmad Rashid was awarded a PhD in project management and works in Dubai as a senior manager for the Middle East and Africa for SHL AI and Talent Management.

A word from Professor Abdullah Alshamsi, vice chancellor of the British University in Dubai:

Professor Abdullah Alshamsi, vice chancellor of the British University in Dubai. Courtesy: British University in Dubai

BUiD fosters a campus that provides a safe and comfortable environment. We are proud to have a multicultural student body which enriches the learning experience of our students and enhances their social skills. One of the main goals of BUiD is to make a distinctive British contribution to the higher educational system in the United Arab Emirates through the creation of a high-quality, research-led university. BUiD’s internal quality assurance includes processes that ensure our programmes and students’ achievements are of standards on a par with those of our UK University Alliance partners.

Updated: April 26, 2022, 4:00 AM