Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 10 December 2018

Murdoch University opens Dubai campus

Murdoch University's campus in Dubai was officially opened today by Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak.

An Australian university officially opened the doors of its Dubai campus yesterday, and let students know they would have the chance to study at its other international campuses. Murdoch University's campus in Dubai International Academic City was officially opened by Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak, Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research.

So far 35 students have enrolled in courses such as commerce and media, with more expected when the second term starts in March. Based in Perth, Western Australia, Murdoch University already has branch campuses in Malaysia, Singapore and Japan. The Dubai campus is managed by a partner company, Global Institute Middle East, but Prof Gary Martin, Murdoch University's deputy vice chancellor, said the university retained control over academic standards.

"The pro vice chancellor is a Murdoch University employee and he supervises all the staff. Most of the team has come from our campus in Western Australia," Prof Martin said. He said admission standards in Dubai were the same as in Australia, and course programmes were equivalent, giving students the chance to move between campuses. They might, for example, spend one year in Dubai, another in Australia and a third in Singapore, a prospect Prof Martin called "pretty exciting" for students.

Large numbers of foreign universities are opening campuses in the country - Dubai and Ras al Khaimah each expect to have more than 35,000 students in their education free zones - but Prof Martin said Murdoch University could recruit sufficient students by offering different programmes to other institutions. "I think the type of courses different providers offer really need to be in particular areas. It's not good every university offering the same type of degree courses.

"With media courses being one of our main offerings, we think there's demand for those and there are not a lot of other media providers." The university is also planning to launch environmental management courses, which Prof Martin said were not offered by many other universities here. It will also have master in business administration courses. The aim is to have about 1,200 students in five years' time, with many expected to come from outside the UAE.

Murdoch University was founded in 1973 and is named after Sir Walter Murdoch, a former chancellor of the University of Western Australia, also based in Perth. It came 19th out of 38 Australian universities in 2007 rankings published by the Melbourne Institute. It is listed among the world's top 500 universities in rankings published by Shanghai Jiao Tong University. @Email:dbardsley@thenational.ae