UAE's best universities: Murdoch University Dubai

The National's guide to universities in the Emirates continues with this Australian institution, established in 2007

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As thousands of final-year school pupils 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?

Perth, a city in western Australia. Perth is nicknamed the City of Light because, in 1962, streetlights and houselights were switched on when an American astronaut, John Glenn (later to become a member of the US senate) passed over while orbiting the Earth.

When was it founded?

1973 (parent university); 2007 (Dubai campus)

What is it?

Built on a former pine plantation near Melville, a suburb of Perth, Murdoch University is named after Sir Walter Murdoch, an academic and great uncle of the media magnate Rupert Murdoch. The university’s first Aboriginal student graduated in 1982. Murdoch University was an early mover in offering courses abroad, with the first students graduating from its Singapore campus in 1993. This campus is run in association with Kaplan Higher Education. As well as the Dubai campus, since 2018 the university has offered postgraduate business courses in Yangon, Myanmar’s capital, again through a partnership with Kaplan Higher Education.

Where is it based?

Dubai Knowledge Park (a new campus opened there in 2020, replacing one in Dubai International Academic City).

What are fees like?

Dh44,100 – foundation programme (one year)

Dh51,500 – diploma of communication (one year)

Dh155,000 – bachelor of business in marketing (three years)

Dh75,000 – master of education (one and a half years)

What subject areas does it teach?

There is a one-year foundation programme that prepares high-school pupils for the first year of their degree. If students do well enough on this (a grade point average of at least 80 per cent), they can start their degree course. If not, they can begin a diploma course, which offers credits and a pathway towards the second year of a degree.

Bachelor’s degree subjects include accountancy, banking, business information systems, computer science, criminology, cybersecurity and forensics, finance, human resource management, journalism, management, marketing, psychology and strategic communication (PR).

Master’s degree subjects include business administration, education and information technology.

What is not offered?

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

Where is it ranked globally?

571st – 580th – QS World University Rankings (parent university)

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

Who goes there?

Eighty per cent of students are expatriate UAE residents, 19 per cent are international students from outside the country and 1 per cent are Emirati.

Who has attended the parent university?

- Visam Ali, the high commissioner of the Maldives to Malaysia.

- Jeremy Callaghan, an actor known for playing a police constable in the Australian drama Police Rescue.

- Basil Zempilas – who took a bachelor’s degree in communication and cultural studies before studying for a graduate diploma in journalism – is a well-known radio and television presenter who, since October 2020, has been Lord Mayor of Perth.

A word from Dr James Trotter, the dean and academic president of Murdoch University Dubai

"We offer an accessible and affordable globally recognised Australian degree.

"Students can access our brand new, state of the art 27,000 sq ft campus in Dubai Knowledge Park.

"Double majors are available for all undergraduate courses, generally at no additional cost or time – this is a unique opportunity provided only by Murdoch University for students to get a multi-functional education and it creates a distinct advantage in a competitive workforce.

"O Levels and Year 11 results are acceptable for entry into Foundation Studies – students can get a supportive headstart into university without completing their final year in high school.

"We recognise prior learning and work experience for postgraduate courses, which reduces the duration and cost of their degree.

"We are the first university in the UAE to be an Amazon Web Services (AWS) Academy member institution – enabling our students access to AWS Cloud Foundations programme and being taught by our AWS-accredited faculty.

"Murdoch graduates join a growing global alumni community of more than 70,000 #freethinkers.

"Murdoch University has a welcoming and supportive environment, small class sizes, personalised offerings – 'you're one in the family, not one in thousands'."

Updated: April 29, 2022, 4:00 AM