DUBAI // Students in Dubai will be offered 35 new degree programmes this year in practical subjects that improve their chances of a career in industry.
Universities such as Amity and Heriot-Watt will add degrees in tourism and hospitality, engineering and accounting, bringing the number of courses available at Dubai International Academic City institutions to 355.
The move shows universities are "responding to the demands of local industry and providing a range of programmes that not only educate local students, but increase their prospects of employment upon graduation", said Dr Ayoub Kazim, head of Diac.
Eleven of the new courses will be undergraduate, 17 postgraduate and seven doctoral.
Engineering is one of the most sought-after courses. "We have introduced a new undergraduate programme in automobile engineering and two master's programmes in digital electronics and advanced communication and manufacturing engineering and technology," said Dr Kota Reddy, chair of the department of engineering at the branch campus of Manipal University in India.
"We will be adding further engineering streams to our portfolio in the coming academic year, reflecting the increased interest and demand for engineering programmes," Dr Reddy said.
Heriot-Watt University in Scotland, where the home campus in Edinburgh is known for its strong engineering programme, has also had increased demand for the subject at its Dubai branch.
This year the Dubai campus is introducing doctoral programmes in engineering, built environment and business.
"This we feel is needed by local industry and the vision to transform Dubai into a knowledge-based economy," said Dr Ammar Kaka, head of campus.
"There is a huge demand for this here and unfortunately a lack of supply."
The university will also introduce a master's degree in property finance "to address the professionalism within the property market here".
Diac commissioned a workforce planning study this year with the consultancy Deloitte.
It found the UAE was seen as the fourth most attractive education destination in the world, and the most attractive for emerging market economies, beating countries such as China, Singapore and Australia.
The report highlighted the 64 skills in high demand across a range of sectors in the region, including those required for entry-level tourism and senior-level telecoms roles.
Diac, which has 25 institutions including branch campuses and universities and colleges accredited by the Ministry of Education, is now working with business partners to address skills gaps, Dr Kazim said.