Wednesday 27 January 2021 (UAE)

Online universities in UAE

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Online universities in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, UAE

Online universities in the United Arab Emirates, UAE, Abu Dhabi, Dubai. List of distance learning and online colleges and universities, courses, degrees, accreditation and approval, MBA information and FAQs.

There are so many "online" universities and colleges which are fake or scams, that if you decide you want to pursue a program online, we would suggest when doing research for a suitable course, you default to assuming that any online university website you find is a "degree mill" or some sort of scam, until you can independently verify that it is not. You should also assume that any claimed accrediting agencies, and ranking organisations, are also fake, designed to support the scams, until you can verify independently that they are not. As a first step, you should make sure the online courses are offered by a real campus with real students studying there.

Distance Learning vs Online Learning

The difference between distance learning and online courses or degrees is perhaps not much when it comes to study, but some of these points might be worth considering.

Degree Mills, Diploma Mills are terms often used for institutes which effectively sell a degree to someone without requiring much, or any, study, and at worst are scams or hoaxes. Such degrees are rarely worth more than the paper they are printed on. Although it is much easier to set up such an operation solely online, that does not mean all online universities are degree mills. It is also possible to find offline degree mills however the internet means those institutes have become somewhat obsolete now, or they have developed a presence online.

University courses and degrees online in the UAE

Obviously an online university could be anywhere in the world, and the appeal of studying at one is that students can live anywhere in the world also. So students living in the UAE can study at any online university. Many such universities market themselves as offering "international" degrees, whatever that means. The point of this list is to highlight online universities that either have some sort of real presence in the UAE (an office or local representative for example), are based in the UAE (for example the Mohammed Bin Hamdan e-university), or seem to be specifically marketing to or targeting UAE based students.

Be careful though, it's much easier, and cheaper, to build an impressive looking website than it is to build an impressive looking university campus. As a result there are many online universities that are fake or scams, operating primarily to get your money, and not to give you a real degree which is worth something. As part of the hoax, many universities will claim to be accredited by a regional or international accreditation organisation which exists solely or primarily to support the fake university, and is not recognized by any official government education body as a university accrediting body. Before enrolling at an online university, try to discover if their degrees are actually worth anything - check with a potential future employer in the UAE if a degree from ABC or XYZ University is valid for employment, and check with the UAE Ministry of Labour if that degree is accepted as a recognized qualification for work permit and employment visa applications.

You could also check with the UAE Ministry of Higher Education but as a minimum requirement for recognition or accreditation by them is that the institute has a physical presence in the UAE, none of the online universities based outside the UAE will have any validity according to them, even if they really do exist and really do award degree qualifications. This requirement also excludes real universities operating outside the UAE from accreditation by the UAE MOHESR, but they are usually accredited by an official agency in the country where they are located, and this means that degrees awarded by them can be attested and accepted by the UAE authorities for the purposes of work permit applications.

"Online UAE Universities" (OUU)

The following list of online universities appear to be different names for the same place, or coincidentally they all happen to offer the same scholarships for UAE based students (up to 75%), the same fee structure, and use the same website designer. They are also all rated highly, or as the best online university in the world, by another website called Online UAE Universities. Which all sounds rather confusing to us - perhaps we need a degree in online education to understand it.

Another peculiarity is a claim on the university website of being featured in media reports, but not providing reports, nor can any reports be found in some cases. For example Richford University says (CNN article existed but was removed, and nothing found about RU in the other three papers):

Richford in Media

CNN website link to the RU report says This iReport is not available. This iReport has been removed because it was flagged by the community and found to be in violation of the iReport Community Guidelines and Terms of Use.

"Online Universities UAE" (OUU) is an organisation, or just a website, that appears to be designed to support several online universities marketing themselves in the UAE. For anyone familiar with or living in the UAE, some of the references given for their courses will sound rather peculiar, and it looks like some of the references writers are unfamiliar with UAE and Arab culture, to say the least, even the reference writers with Arab sounding names. There is also a mismatch between photos and names, similarly for staff photos, positions, and profiles on individual online university websites, which indicates either carelessness or deliberately publishing misleading information.

List of universities and colleges reviewed or mentioned on the OUU website:

Other online university names, might or might not be related to OUU (in Top 100 Online Universities list)

OUU listed universities claim to be accredited by these organisations

OUU website says "Our member institutes are accredited and recognized by:"

Other unapproved, unknown, or fake accrediting agencies

Liverpool University Online - University of Liverpool Online (UOL) Dubai

What to check for Degree Mills, Diploma Mills, scam or fake universities and colleges

This is not a comprehensive list, and one item on its own might not mean the university is fake, but each of these items is potentially a red flag. Put many of them together and it should be a warning.

Other online institutes with a connection to Dubai, UAE

Updates needed, status unknown.

Other FAQs and headings



Articles or organizations


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