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Heriot-Watt becomes latest university to offer PhD in Dubai

Heriot-Watt University, Dubai
Dubai,(UAE): Heriot-Watt University's Dubai Campus will offer Doctorate in philosophy (PhD) in various streams. Right now students will have options to take up doctoral studies in Accountancy and Finance, Energy and Renewable Energy, Power Electronics and Control, Construction Management and Civil Engineering.

Six students at the Dubai branch of the Edinburgh-based University will receive scholarships to allow them to study full time in the three main schools- built environment, engineering and management. This will give the academically gifted students the opportunity to waive the Dh 68,000 annual fee for the three-year doctoral programme.

Dr Ammar Kaka, director of the Dubai campus, said full-time students would be given priority. He also said offering a doctoral programme would attract more high-quality academics to the institution.

The new move comes in the wake of a recently published report ‘Higher Education Landscape in Dubai’. The review concludes that there are more than 48,000 students at higher education institutions in Dubai although just one per cent of those are undertaking PhD studies full-time.

Professor Ammar Kaka, Vice-Principal and Head of Dubai Campus, said, "There is a shortage of PhD programmes offered in the UAE by local universities. Only very few branch campuses have started to introduce them. We have gathered our own evidence that there is high demand for PhD courses in the form of enquiries and also from our graduates, who are keen to further their education with us.

"Heriot-Watt's Dubai Campus offers a range of top quality, practical degrees tailored to the needs of local students and the local economy, providing highly employable graduates with the transferable skills in demand by business. The higher education sector in the UAE is progressing rapidly and Heriot-Watt University is committed to being a partner in this positive development."- Prof. Ammar Kaka said.

Dr Assem Al Haj, one of the doctoral supervisors, said , “We [academics] survive on research. For a university like Heriot-Watt it’s our bread and butter. For staff, the one thing that we love is doing research.”-he added. His built-environment department will focus on sustainable development and infrastructure.

Dr Rehan Ahmed will supervise the engineering students but he has already been working on building collaborations with local universities, such as the University of Sharjah and American University of Sharjah, that will open access to shared facilities and publications for both academics and incoming doctoral students.

Dr Warren Fox, head of higher education at the Knowledge and Human Development Authority, Dubai’s education regulator, welcomed the addition of Heriot-Watt to the other six universities currently offering PhDs in the emirate.

Heriot-Watt University is the latest institution to offer PhDs in the emirate, filling a gap in the country’s ambition to become a knowledge-based economy. Currently apart from Heriot-Watt University, 12 education institutions in Dubai offering PhDs. UOWD (University of Wollongong Dubai), Westin University, Abu Dhabi University, United Arab Emirates University, Gulf Medical University, British University in Dubai (BUiD), Dubai Aviation College, New York University, Abu Dhabi, Khalifa University of Science, Technology and Research, Hamdan Bin Mohammed e-University, INSEAD Business school, Abu Dhabi, Michigan State University,Dubai (MSU Dubai).

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