Dr Mohammad Al Mualla, Undersecretary for Higher Education Academic Affairs at the Ministry of Education, addressing a press conference in Dubai on Thursday. Image Credit: Zainab Hussain/Gulf News

Dubai: The UAE’s Ministry of Education has announced the UAE's top research universities, based on a newly launched National Framework for the Classification of Higher Education Institutions.

At a press conference in Dubai on Thursday, Dr Mohammad Al Mualla, Undersecretary for Higher Education Academic Affairs at the Ministry of Education said that the framework was developed after consultation with top universities and higher education consultancies across the world.

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Why the framework

While higher education institutions already have global rankings and ratings, Dr Al Mualla said that a national framework had benefits that would be more helpful for students, parents and employers in the UAE.

“Global rankings can be applied to any country in the world and they may not pay attention to the national priorities of each country. The global rankings framework also usually has a big number of universities, of around more than 1,500 universities. These classifications rely more on surveys and reputation of these institutions and do not rely on standards that may reflect national interests of each country,” he said.

“The national framework focuses on the national priorities of the UAE. Also, when we look at global rankings and classification, we find that 11 higher education institutions from the UAE feature in the ranking, but what about the others? How can we measure the level of these institutions? This is one of the main reasons that highlights the importance of setting up the national framework,” he added.

Who will benefit?

The framework, which is available on the Ministry’s website –, is intended to provide information to students and parents, and help them choose the university most suitable for them.

The standards and results are also helpful for higher education institutions, as it would help them build their improvement plans, as well as employers who can make more informed decisions when hirig, Dr Al Mualla explained.

Two phases of ranking announcements

Speaking to Gulf News on the sidelines of the press conference, Dr Sameera Almulla, Acting Assistant Undersecretary for the Curriculum Sector and Director of Certificate Equivalency Department at the Ministry of Education, said that the announcement made on June 27 included only research universities in the UAE.

“We will soon be announcing the results for non-research universities in the UAE,” she said.

The rankings for the research universities are as follows:

Group 1: Outstanding

  • American University of Sharjah
  • United Arab Emirates University
  • Khalifa University
  • Mohammed bin Rashid University of Medicine and Health Sciences
  • New York University Abu Dhabi

Group 2: Very Good

  • Abu Dhabi University
  • American University in Dubai
  • The British University in Dubai
  • Al Sharekah University
  • Hamdan Bin Mohammed Smart University
  • Rochester Institute of Technology
  • Zayed University
  • Ajman University
  • University of Wollongong in Dubai

Group 3: Good

  • American University in the Emirates
  • The American University of Ras Al Khaimah
  • Emirates College for Educational Development
  • Gulf Medical University
  • Sorbonne University
  • Al Ain University
  • Canadian University in Dubai
  • Institute of Business Administration Technology in Dubai
  • University of Dubai
  • Dubai College of Pharmacy
  • Raydan Academy
  • Saint Joseph University Dubai

Group 4: Satisfactory

  • Horizon University College
  • Emirates Aviation University
  • Imam Malik College of Islamic Sharia and Law
  • University of Fujairah
  • City University Ajman
  • Al Wasl University
  • Jumeirah University
  • Ras Al Khaimah University of Medicine and Health Sciences