The American University of Sharjah has been awarded the accolade of the world’s most diverse student body.
A new survey by the World University Rankings puts it ahead of more than 1,000 international colleges with students from 99 countries enrolled. The University of Sharjah also took fourth place.
It topped the annual survey by Times Higher Education, ahead of the prestigious London School of Economics, which came second, and the 214-year-old Royal College of Surgeons in Dublin.
In contrast, leading institutions like Yale University and Princeton in the United States showed far lower levels of diversity, with barely one in five students from overseas. AUH also placed higher than the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge, which rank first and second for academic performance.
Founded in 1997 by the Ruler of Sharjah, Dr Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, AUS is an English-language institution following an American model.
It has about 6,000 students and nearly 400 teachers, with more than 70 undergraduate qualifications and 14 master's degrees.
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Linda Angell, the university’s director of international exchange programmes, told the survey the high proportion of overseas students was a result of its central location, with Sharjah’s culture and cosmopolitan Dubai being particularly attractive.
Students arriving on academic exchanges: “Consistently report they have had an excellent experience here”, she said.
The University of Sharjah, which was also founded in 1997, is a private college with 86 academic programmes for both men and women. It appears in the rankings for the first time this year.
The success of both universities in attracting a diverse student body reflects in country rankings, which places the UAE in the top 20 worldwide for international students.
In the World Rankings survey, Khalifa University of Science and Technology is the highest rated academically, making the top 400, followed by United Arab Emirates University, AUH and the University of Sharjah in the 1,000 best in the world.