The Beirut-based University of St Joseph (USJ) is set to open a branch of its law school in Dubai this month. The new school, known as the University of St Joseph - Dubai College of Law, will offer students a four-year bachelor degree and will be based in the Dubai International Academic City.
Prospective law students had the opportunity to meet with representatives from USJ, and the Executive Council, the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA), in the Dubai Courts to learn about the new school and the career prospects in this field.
In the court
Sitting at the judge's desk was a panel of experts from the Dubai Courts, KHDA and USJ prepared to take on questions from the students.
Judge Mohammad Yousuf, Chief Justice, shared his career experience.
Mohammad Al Muhairi, Director of the Department of Legal Strategy Affairs of the Executive Council, told the students that a law degree can be a base for several other career fields.
Later, speaking to Notes, he said: "This university, being one of the best Arab legal academic institutions from which very senior officials all over the Arab world have graduated, will definitely add great value to the reform of legal talent in Dubai. It will teach, train and coach our students with all its experience in this field."
UAE legal advisers Aisha Al Tunaiji and Haleema Al Marzouqi stressed the importance of including women in this profession and urged female students to apply to the school.
Young Emirati women said that they were excited about the prospects of entering this field. "We will be among the first women to work in this field after we graduate," said Shaikha Al Shamsi. "The government needs lawyers so we will specialise in law and respond to this need."
Amal Al Ahmadi, an 18-year-old Emirati student, said: "There is a need for judges, lawyers in the UAE and I am considering this major seriously for my future career."
The Bachelor of Law degree follows a four-year credit system. Courses in constitutional law, international relations, property law, civil law, labour law, human rights, intellectual property rights and tax laws are part of the curriculum.
The main courses will be taught in Arabic; however, students will also be given the opportunity to take elective courses in English and French, according to Rizk Rizk, director of USJ International Centre for University Studies of Dubai.
Speaking to Notes, Dr Abdullah Al Karam, Chairman of the Board of Directors and Director General of the KHDA, said: "USJ is the first Arab university to open a campus in the UAE…. It will be teaching courses in Arabic, which is essential in the law and media professions in the UAE and the region."
Antoine Hakeem, vice-president for international affairs at USJ, told Notes that the university was excited about the new project and that it comes as part of its mission to form graduates of Lebanon and the Arab world. "KHDA has huge plans to raise the emirate's talent and we are here to ensure that.
Nationalities and tuition
USJ has opened its doors to both genders and all nationalities.
Mona Mahdi, an Iraqi student, attended the orientation session at the Dubai Courts.
"I would like to continue studying because I feel the college will add to my knowledge and personality," she said.
The tuition fee for an academic year is Dh55,200. Some students said that they found the fee rather high. "The tuition fees are high compared to other UAE universities but they are equal to other international universities opening braches in the UAE," Mona said.
Graduates of USJ-Dubai will have an opportunity to work in the courts, in the Public Prosecution office and in other government agencies such as Immigration and Customs, the panellists said.
"Students can work in all legal, policy and strategy sectors in any government departments; they can work in any department at the courts, can be a judge or public prosecutor, can be a private lawyer or legal adviser, can work with any international law firm and can continue postgraduate legal study at any university locally or abroad," said Al Muhairi.
"We want to ensure that we have the appropriate human resources for the issues of security, justice and safety, as stipulated by the Dubai Strategic Plan 2015," Al Karam said.
- Official UAE high school/secondary school certificate or its equivalent as approved by the Ministry of Education;
- An official high school/secondary school transcript (academic record) in original covering the last three years and reflecting a good academic standard;
- Appropriate score in the university's Arabic language test
- Students needing further information email firstname.lastname@example.org
The Lebanese Government recognises USJ and its degrees, according to USJ representatives. The degree will be awarded by the home campus of USJ in Beirut and by the Knowledge and Human Development Authority.