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More than 85 per cent of the 28,200 students at Dubai International Academic City and Dubai Knowledge Park are from abroad, a recent study has revealed. Image Credit: Shutterstock

Dubai: More than 85 per cent of the 28,200 students at Dubai International Academic City and Dubai Knowledge Park are from abroad, a recent study has revealed. The foreign students come from 80 countries, including India, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and the wider GCC region.

The two educational enclaves – Dubai International Academic City and Dubai Knowledge Park – are home to 27 academic institutions, including regional campuses by globally renowned universities such as University of Birmingham and the University of Manchester – both of which rank in the Top 100 universities in the QS World University rankings.

Dubai International Academic City along with Dubai Knowledge Park is home to 27 academic institutions. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai’s strategic location within the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia (MENASA) region, paired with its emerging reputation for internationally accredited universities, has helped raised its profile as an attractive destination for higher education and talent development. The emirate even ranked as the best student city in the Middle East in the QS Best Students’ Cities Ranking 2023.

Boosting academic programmes

Universities at Dubai International Academic City and Dubai Knowledge Park are continually evolving their curriculum and courses to meet the current and future job market. This year, Middlesex University is introducing programmes in sectors such as digital media, brand management and cybersecurity to meet industry demands.

Dr Cedwyn Fernandes, pro-vice chancellor of Middlesex University and director of Middlesex University Dubai, said: “We have continued to update our curriculums so that our students learn how to apply the latest industry insights from their fields to real-life scenarios and become 100 per cent employable once they graduate.”

The university has also seen consistent interest for courses in Law, Psychology, Business and Accounting and Finance, as well as creative industries, for which the university has launched dedicated facilities.

More post-graduate programmes

At the University of Birmingham, recruiting has been especially strong for newly added post-graduate programmes in the fields of technology, medicine, and business. Professor David Sadler, University of Birmingham Dubai Provost, said: “The University of Birmingham is extremely proud to have established ourselves here in Dubai. Having recently opened our new campus, we continue to invest in growing our student and staff population to fulfil our long-term vision. We are committed to being part of the continual development of the education landscape in Dubai and the pursuit of quality education and research to support Dubai’s overall strategic ambition for the future.”

Courses in Computer Science, Computer Engineering as well as Communication and Media have witnessed growing interest in 2022-2023. Michael Eberle, head of marketing at University of Wollongong in Dubai (UOWD), said: “The quality of education is a high priority for UOWD and we hope to achieve this through carefully-curated curricula and academic courses that are designed to build students’ careers in line with market requirements. As the first international university in the UAE, we shoulder the responsibility to offer students top-class education through innovative learning spaces and state-of-the-art labs and equipment at our campus.”


To promote affordability and ensure a wider pool of talent can access world-class learning opportunities, universities at both education hubs are providing merit-based scholarships to students. The University of Birmingham, for instance, offers a 40 per cent scholarship, while Middlesex University provides a range of grants and scholarships, such as the academic excellence scholarship which is up to 50 per cent.

University of Birmingham Dubai’s incoming students can choose from a variety of financial support options to cover their whole programme, from foundational and undergraduate to graduate levels. The Dubai campus maintains strong ties with the original campus in the UK, allowing Dubai-based Year Two students to participate in an exchange program at the UK location whilst maintaining their scholarship.