The United Arab Emirates is an excellent destination for your college education. Whether you are looking to start your undergraduate studies, improve your knowledge and skills through a Master’s program, or explore research studies through a Ph.D. degree, the UAE has many options for you. Besides its many universities that offer world-class innovative education, you can study in UAE for free as an international student.

To get your acceptance from a university in the UAE, make sure to establish your strong academic profile and highly your achievements when you submit your applications. Sending your applications earlier than the deadline is a must. With your competitive college application, you may even be considered for fully-funded scholarships in your chosen university.

Through the help of scholarships and relatively cheaper tuition costs, you will have more resources to have an excellent time in the United Arab Emirates. Its seven emirates, all of which have their laws, cultures, traditions, and landscapes can give you all the diversity you will ever need. From shopping and sightseeing to trekking, water sports, dune bashing, and even belly dancing, you will never run out of things to do in this country.

How to Study in the UAE for Free

1. Prepare Your Application and Submit it Before the Deadline

Studying abroad can bring you numerous opportunities for growth. Along with learning how to adjust to people and culture in your destination country, you will also realize how important it is to develop lifelong skills and character to help you stand on your own feet. To get yourself ready in your journey to a whole new academic world, make sure that you are equipped to endure hardships and adjustments on your own while understanding you still have a lot more to learn along the way.

Being a hardworking student and consistently striving for academic excellence can equip you with the necessary lifelong skills and values for your study abroad. On the surface, being an exemplary student can also build up a strong academic profile capable of securing a spot in universities abroad. Keep in mind that when applying for college, universities will evaluate grades, GPA, test scores, achievements, and awards to gauge your potential and decide on your acceptance. Having great credentials will allow you to study in UAE for free.

Along with studying hard for your academic profile, you should also start choosing the universities you intend to send your application to. Having a list can help you monitor the dates for the application deadlines. This way, you can manage the time you need to prepare your application early and secure all necessary travel documents. Along with its content, a good application should be submitted early.

2. Apply for Scholarships at Universities in the United Arab Emirates

The United Arab Emirates is one of the countries that promises an exciting college. Besides its world-class universities, you can also apply for scholarships to help you get through college with minimal financial struggles. Getting scholarships in UAE will help you to study in UAE for free, and scholarships can also help focus more on your studies since you will not have money problems to stress about.

Applying for scholarships in UAE should come along with your preparation for college admission. While some universities automatically consider applicants for their scholarship programs, you will still have to actively send your application to some scholarship and award programs to be considered. Keep in mind that there is no limit to how many scholarship applications you send. The earlier you submit your applications for scholarships, with careful considerations of your eligibility, the better chance for you to win an acceptance.

3. Attend Affordable Universities in UAE

You might ask yourself, what happens if you don’t get accepted to any of the scholarship programs you applied for in the United Arab Emirates? Does that mean the end of your dream of studying abroad? It is not. While getting a free ride in college is the ultimate goal, you should also open yourself to other unpleasant and unfavorable outcomes of your application.

Fortunately, you can apply to as many universities as you can, including those with affordable tuition costs. The United Arab Emirates has several universities that will fit your financial limits. Among these are the University of Sharjah, Ajman University, and Al Ain University of Science and Technology. Tuition costs in these universities range between $8,900 to $13,600. While unbelievably affordable, these universities deliver globally competitive education through a massive selection of programs, world-class teachers, and advanced facilities.

Check Also: Available Programs for International Students

Tuition-free Options for Bachelor’s Studies in the UAE

The NYU Abu Dhabi offers help to all incoming undergraduate students through their need-based scholarship program. Depending on the students’ financial capacity to fund their education in NYU Abu Dhabi, the school may offer up to full attendance costs, including tuition, accommodation, health insurance, travel costs, books, living expense, and other school-related activities. With scholarships at NYU Abu Dhabi, students can study in UAE for free since this financial support for international students may be renewed for up to four years, depending on their financial status and renewal application.

The United Arab Emirates University also provides generous support to international students, regardless of their nationality. It offers a full tuition waiver to successful applicants. The scholarship renews until graduation as long as the student meets the eligibility conditions. Khalifa University also provides full scholarships to international students. Its President’s Scholarship, a prestigious grant to exemplary students, covers up to 100% of tuition costs, depending on the applicants’ international GPA from their previous educational level.

Another university worth considering is the American University of Sharjah. Its website lists several scholarship programs in cooperation with private institutions, such as the Islamic Development Bank and the Worldwide Fund for Nature. Through these universities and affiliate institutions, you have a better chance of getting your undergraduate degree for free in the United Arab Emirates.

Tuition-free Options for Master’s Studies in the UAE

Finishing your Master’s degree for free is also possible in the United Arab Emirates. The Mohamed Bin Zayed University of Artificial Intelligence (MBZUAI) makes it possible for outstanding students to complete their Master’s degrees with zero costs. All full-time students accepted at a Master’s program in MBZUAI enjoy a tuition-free education, monthly stipend, accommodation, health insurance, and UAE residence visa.

Meanwhile, Khalifa University offers Master Research Teaching Scholarships for qualified international students. It includes full-tuition coverage, a monthly stipend of AED4,000, medical insurance, funds for international research conferences, and flight assistance for overseas international students.

You can also apply for a Master’s degree at the American University of Sharjah. Similar to its undergraduate programs, your graduate studies may also be covered by its scholarship programs. Meanwhile, Zayed University also offers several merit-based scholarship programs to highly qualified candidates. All incoming graduate students are automatically considered for these scholarships. Graduate students may also apply as Graduate Research, Teaching, or Administrative Assistant. Successful applicants have to fulfill their duties, and as compensation, receive funding that covers their tuition and living costs. Aside from studying at Zayed University for free, the assistantship provides opportunities to acquire valuable professional experience.

By receiving any of the scholarships mentioned above, you can study Master’s in UAE for free.

Tuition-free Options for Ph.D. Studies in the UAE

There are also several options to study a Ph.D. program in the United Arab Emirates for free. One is at the United Arab Emirates University. Regardless of your nationality, the United Arab Emirates University offers a Ph.D. Scholarship providing a full-tuition waiver, a monthly stipend, health insurance, and bonuses for research projects. The scholarship is renewable for up to four years. Aside from an outstanding GPA in a Master’s degree, interested applicants should also have a dissertation in a UAE priority sector, such as transportation, health, water, renewable energy, or aerospace.

The Mohamed Bin Zayed University of Artificial Intelligence also offers the same privilege as its graduate students to incoming Ph.D. students. Successful applicants have to ensure strict compliance with the University code of conduct. They are also expected to fulfill specific requirements during their stay at the university. Lastly, Khalifa University has Doctoral Research Teaching Scholarships for international Ph.D. students. Aside from full tuition coverage, the scholarship offers a monthly stipend of AED12,000, accommodation equivalent to AED2,000, financial aid to attend international research conferences and, medical insurance.


We hope that this article on how to study in UAE for free was helpful. Make sure to also check out the Available Programs for International Students to know more information about studying abroad!

About the Author: Hyun Lee

Hi! I am Hyun, and I am the founder at Global Scholarships. I've received a full-tuition scholarship at Birmingham-Southern College and a $1,000 Burger King Scholarship for my undergraduate degree and was offered a fully funded scholarship consisting of tuition, living stipend, and health insurance for computer science Ph.D. program at North Carolina State University. You can read more about my scholarship journey here. If you are interested, you can follow me on Linkedin where I regularly write about scholarship opportunities.

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