Dubai: Dubai International Academic City (DIAC) today announced that 54 new programmes will be offered by its academic partners during the 2015-16 academic year. A total of 29 new undergraduate, 23 new postgraduate, and 2 new PhD and doctorate degrees will be made available to students in the academic year that begins in September.

Taking into consideration certificate and diploma courses, the total number of programmes on offer will exceed 450.

The new programmes are spread across several disciplines, assuring greater diversity and supporting the government’s aim of establishing Dubai as an international destination for higher education.

Recognising the need to move in sync with the changing hiring needs of the public and private sectors, some of the new and diverse programmes on offer in 2015-16 include Bachelor of Chemical Engineering at Heriot Watt University; Bachelor of Design — Interior Design at Manipal University; Bachelor of Games Development at SAE Institute; and an MSc in Media Management at Middlesex University Dubai.

A significant inclusion in this year’s list of programmes is The British University in Dubai’s masters in Islamic Finance, the first of its kind offered by the university.

Such a degree is a direct response to the growing influence of Islamic finance in society. According to Thomson Reuters, the Global Islamic Economy is expected to almost double in value to $3.73 trillion (Dh13.7 trillion) by 2019, from $2 trillion (Dh7.35 trillion) in 2013.

Professor Abdullah Al Shamsi, Vice-Chancellor, The British University in Dubai, said the university has restructured its MSc Finance programme with a specialisation in Islamic Finance, which has been designed to help professionals gain the knowledge and skills needed to make a career move from conventional finance to Islamic finance.

Commenting on the new variety of programmes being offered, Dr Ayoub Kazim, Managing Director of Dubai International Academic City, said: “The multitude of programmes on offer, covering different industries and specialisations, provides a solid platform from which students can launch their careers. This will, in turn, support the UAE’s development and underpin economic growth.”

Professor Ammar Kaka, Head of Campus and Executive Dean, Heriot-Watt University Dubai, said the Chemical Engineering programme at Heriot-Watt Dubai campus aims to graduate professionally recognised chartered engineers that can secure jobs in a variety of critical sectors in the region and the emirate such as the petroleum, utilities, and process industries.

All the new programmes, along with all previously existing degrees, will be offered for the 2015-16 academic year starting in September.