Doctoral programmes in philosophy and business administration at the University of Wollongong in Dubai (UOWD) will welcome their first batches of students bseginning next year it was announced last week.

Speaking at the UOWD 2009 Winter Graduation Ceremony, Professor Gerard Sutton, vice-chancellor of the University of Wollongong Australia, said the launch of the PhD programmes was a decision taken in order to capitalise on the university's existing research strength.

"The university's doctoral degree proposals are currently under consideration by the UAE's Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research," said Sutton. "We anticipate the first students will be able to enrol in those degrees in 2010."

Focus areas

Sutton said the business administration programme will focus on research projects to develop solutions to some of today's challenges in all areas of business. Similarly the philosophy programme will allow students to extend their current boundaries of theory and knowledge.

The vice-chancellor informed the batch of nearly 400 graduates that they would now be joining the 4,000 alumni who have received degrees from UOWD since it opened in Dubai 16 years ago.

Of the graduates, 22 per cent are Emiratis who will, along with their expatriate peers, go on to contribute to the development of the UAE. "Any such development is critically dependent on the highly skilled graduates," said Sutton, referring to the rapid growth of the nation that marked its 38th National Day this month.

He added that UOWD's student-centred approach to learning ensures graduates face the job world armed with skills in analysis, problem-solving, teamwork and communication. "This explains why UOWD graduates are in such high demand in the business and industry community," said Sutton. "You are the UAE's employees of choice," he told graduates.

Slow and steady ...

Twins Mahdi and Mahdieh Tehrani both graduated with a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) from the University of Wollongong in Dubai (UOWD) last week. After years of studying part-time for their degrees, Mahdi, 27, said he is relieved it is all over. Mahdieh, the older twin by five minutes, said she is slightly nervous about life after graduation. Currently employed with IBM, Mahdi is looking to further his education with a Masters of Business Administration (MBA). Mahdieh plans to find a job and start a family with her husband of five years. "She was the one who motivated me and pushed me to finish," said Mahdi about his sister.

Best Emirati student

Mohammad Hussain Bahatem graduated as top UAE national graduate from the UOWD last week. In addition he graduated with high distinction in the Masters of Engineering Management programme. Working as an operations safety adviser and married with three children, Bahatem, 33, said an atmosphere of diligence among his peers is what pushed him to study hard. "Nothing comes for free though," he said, "everything comes with a sacrifice and it's my family that suffered." Bahatem added that his supportive wife and children encouraged him to complete his five semesters of study. Although he missed out on weekend activities and summer holidays with the family, Bahatem said he is proud and relieved. All the hard work has not deterred him. He is now checking out doctoral programmes.