New York's Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) recently opened a branch at the Dubai Silicon Oasis. Among its programmes is a graduate degree in microelectonics.
"The Dubai Silicon Oasis mission is to establish a microelectronics technology park in the region and we happen to be one of the best institutions in the US that trains people in this field," said Mustafa Abushagur, president of RIT Dubai, in a conversation with Notes.
RIT comes to Dubai after opening branches in Croatia and Kosovo.
"Dubai is a dynamic place and this is where we can attract a lot of good students and bring value to the community here," said Abushagur.
Courses are currently being offered at the Dubai Silicon Oasis headquarters.
Courses include graduate degrees in finance, electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, human resource development, service leadership and networking and systems administration.
Human resource development and service leadership – disciplines aimed at managers – will start in October.
Much market research was done to choose the disciplines that match markets requirements here, Abushagur said.
It takes 18 months to complete a postgraduate degree at RIT. "The degree that students receive is the same one that is offered in New York. RIT is accredited by all accreditation agencies in the US and by the Knowledge and Human Development Authority in Dubai," Abushagur said.
Faculty and resources
Currently there are seven faculty members from the US. Some are here full time while others visit for lectures and support the class with online education. Students in Dubai also have full access to the libraries and resources of the US campus.
A masters degree at RIT Dubai costs Dh100,000. Scholarships are not being offered currently; but they will be given to students with outstanding credentials in the future, said Abushagur.
Graduates will be trained to be managers and executive officers of companies. According to the president, about 1,900 companies in the US hire RIT students. "We are a career-focused university: we teach students to go to the marketplace and work from day one," he said.
He hopes to achieve the same in Dubai. "We are in the process of establishing partnerships with companies so that our students are ready to go out to the marketplace and start working," he said.
The campus is expected to be fully ready by 2010, at which time the administration plans to introduce undergraduate programmes.
In 2009, more graduate programmes will be added. "Next year we will add graduate programmes in industrial and systems engineering," Abushagur said.
Dormitories will also be made available so that students can live and study on campus.
Students here can opt to take a semester in the US; their counterparts in the US can do the same to gain an international experience in Dubai.