A university that describes itself as the only postgraduate research-based institution in the Middle East has revealed plans to admit undergraduates. The British University in Dubai (BUiD) intends to admit its first bachelor's students in two years. Martin Prince, the university's new registrar, said the launch of undergraduate degrees, which usually have a smaller research component than postgraduate studies, would not compromise the institution's emphasis on research.
"We're not diluting [what the university offers], but gaining more experience to adapting programme provision to meet the requirements of the national economy," he said. "We believe that research should inspire higher learning at all levels, at undergraduate as well as postgraduate." At least 20 per cent of undergraduate courses would cover research and much of the teaching would focus on research methodologies, Mr Prince said.
There could be an undergraduate degree pilot project in 2009/10, although the main launch would be in 2010/11, he said. BUiD has fewer than 400 students, but is keen to see enrolments increase to more than 1,000. The university also hopes to launch a doctorate in education (EdD) degree in the 2008/09 academic year followed by PhD degrees. And next summer, it plans to move from Knowledge Village to Dubai International Academic City. Other universities are likely to follow suit.
"We are ambitious to be a hub for the whole of the Middle East region. That's a major challenge as several Arab countries don't have English as their language of instruction," Mr Prince said. The university offers master's degrees in subjects such as education, IT management, finance and banking and sustainable design. BUiD is an independent, not-for-profit institution, but runs its programmes in association with several British universities.