The development of a quality higher education system is a strategic priority of the Emirate of Dubai. The emphasis is on improving access to quality higher education and increasing student enrollment, especially for UAE nationals. The provision of quality higher education in Dubai will equip young people with the knowledge, skills and attributes that will help shape the economic future of Dubai and the United Arab Emirates.
The Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) of the Government of Dubai has the responsibility under Law 30 (2006) and The Executive Council Resolution No. 21 (2011) to regulate and oversee higher educational institutions, to establish review procedures, request data and information, and make recommendations and decisions on the establishment of all these types of educational institutions. Furthermore, Law No. 8 (2012) allows for government supported higher education providers (HEP) located outside Dubai Free Zones to fall under the responsibility of Resolution 21 for regulation and oversight by the KHDA. The KHDA implements these requirements through the Regulation and Permits Commission, the regulatory arm of the KHDA.
The KHDA seeks to sustain an environment of approved, quality institutions and programmes to meet the needs of students, the economy and the development of the Emirate of Dubai. Authorisation must be obtained from the KHDA prior to the introduction of any new higher education programmes. The first stage in the application process is the submission of an Eligibility Application for each new programme. Programme refers to a new programme or a new pathway to an existing programme approved by the KHDA or substantive changes to an existing programme. For the purpose of the approval process, each pathway should be treated as a separate new programme proposal.
Stage 1: Eligibility Application (10 working days)
The Eligibility Application is the first stage of the application process by an established institution to offer a new higher education programme in a Free Zone of the Emirate of Dubai. The following information should be submitted to the KHDA electronically. While the size of this document is not prescriptive, it is anticipated that it should be approximately two pages in length. Upon submission of a completed Eligibility Application, the KHDA will conduct a review and issue a decision within 10 working days.
Provide the following information in a separate PDF document for each programme proposed:
If approved by the KHDA, the applicant will be invited to proceed to Stage 2 of the application process.
Stage 2: Quality Review (Subject to Submission Date)
The process for the Quality Review stage of the new programme application will be determined by whether the application is from an established HEP Branch of an internationally accredited Higher Education Provider (HEP) or an established private higher education institution with local accreditation from the Commission for Academic Accreditation and institutional licensure through the Ministry of Education (HEP Private).
Established HEP Branch applicants are required to submit the initial programme application documentation to the KHDA. Documentation will be reviewed by the University Quality Assurance Board (UQAIB) of the KHDA. There are two submission dates for this documentation, 1st February or 1st September. Complete submissions received by 1st February will normally receive a decision by mid-April and 1st September complete submissions by mid-December. The documentation requirements can be found in the UQAIB Quality Assurance Manual which can be accessed on the KHDA website under Publications at the following link: http://www.khda.gov.ae/CMS/WebParts/TextEditor/Documents/UQAIB_EN.pdf.
If approved by the KHDA, the programme will be registered. A HEP Branch may not advertise or recruit students onto an academic programme until it is registered.
Established HEP Private applicants are required to submit the initial programme application documentation to the KHDA for review. The documentation requirements can be accessed on the KHDA website at the following link: https://www.khda.gov.ae/en/amendmentetopermits?i=4
If approved by the KHDA, a No Objection Letter will be issued to the Ministry of Education for the processing of the initial programme accreditation.
Zones established in Dubai that allow up to 100 percent foreign ownership and that target specific commercial activities.
Higher Education Provider (typically a university, college, academy, or institute which provides academic programmes leading to the awarding of higher education qualifications). Sometimes generically referred to as “institution”.
A Higher Education Provider located in a Dubai Free Zone, which acts for, and on behalf of, and in the name of a HEP headquartered outside the Free Zone (usually in another country). It is not necessary for the HEP Branch to represent the entire breadth of the HEP Home’s activities. An HEP Branch may, for example, pertain to a particular college, faculty or graduate school.
A Higher Education Provider at its registered place of origin.
A Higher Education Provider established in the Emirate of Dubai for the purposes of offering programmes accredited locally by the Commission for Academic Accreditation and institutional licensure from the Ministry of Education.
Universities Quality Assurance International Board. A board established and supported by the authority of KHDA, which provides advice to KHDA on (a) Academic Authorisation and (b) Programme Registration.