A nurse working at a Northern Emirates hospital said she pursued an online master's degree in nursing at Must University to expand her knowledge and further her career potential.
The woman, in her mid-40s, first tried to obtain her graduate degree through a well-known UK-based university. She was later expelled for allegedly plagiarising one of her assignments.
The programme "was very expensive and they really made me suffer", she said. "There was some similarity I had, maybe it happens … they terminated me without any degree because according to them it was plagiarism.
"I think this is cheating from this university even though it's much too famous."
The woman said she suffered "financially and physically" after the university refused to return the Dh90,000 she paid for the programme.
She later enrolled in a graduate nursing programme at Must University.
That programme cost a mere US$3,500 (Dh12,856) and she completed it in less than two years, with no practical application.
She said the university gave her a special price and took into consideration that she was a working mother who had experience in the field.
"It's up to the student and how they want to manage their time, because it's online," she said. "It can take from one month to three years."
The woman said she had yet to get a promotion because the Ministry of Health must attest the degree and the hospital has not requested the documents to start the process.
She said her degree was attested by the UAE Embassy in Canberra, Australia; the department of foreign affairs and trade in Sydney; the secretary of state in Maryland, US; and the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The university completed the attestation process for $500 she said, except for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. She obtained that stamp after presenting the Must degree, her original bachelor's degree and paying Dh150.
A spokeswoman from the Australian Embassy in the UAE said the department of foreign affairs and trade only attested university certificates from institutions based in Australia.
A statement from the consular department at the UAE Embassy in Australia said it only attested certificates that had been ratified by the country's department of foreign affairs and trade, and that these certificates were issued from universities based in Australia or a branch of that university abroad.
Although the nurse did not receive a promotion, she said she had no regrets.
"I want to promote my knowledge," she said.
"This was very important - more than the degree that I'm going to receive in the future or later."