Rochester Institute of Technology welcomed the first class of new undergraduate students to RIT Dubai, its campus in the United Arab Emirates, this fall. Seventy-six students from 22 countries enrolled in bachelor’s degree programs in electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, business administration, management and marketing.
“From the initial launching of RIT Dubai in 2008, the plan was to offer undergraduate programs after two years,” says Mustafa Abushagur, president of RIT Dubai. “We knew from the beginning, in order to establish a comprehensive university in the region undergraduate programs had to be the core of our offerings.”
The first cohort of undergraduates came from Africa, Brazil, India, Turkey, the United States and Canada. Two thirds of the students live in the United Arab Emirates, and the rest have moved there to attend RIT Dubai and live in a student residence located near the campus.
“RIT Dubai provides a distinguished education in the happening city of Dubai,” says Rohana Ramalingam, a first-year student from India. “The classes are challenging, yet this is an enjoyable learning environment.”
“With the opening of the undergraduate programs at RIT Dubai, there are approximately 1,200 students studying on RIT campuses abroad,” says James Miller, senior vice president for enrollment management and career services. “These campuses in Dubai, Croatia and Kosovo are integral to RIT’s strategy to provide global opportunities for our RIT students and faculty on the Rochester campus to travel, study and teach abroad. These experiences are essential to our mission as we prepare students to live and work in a global society.”
RIT Dubai offers the same, fully accredited degrees that are awarded by RIT in the U.S. In addition, the master’s degrees have been accredited by the United Arab Emirates Ministry of Higher Education. Accreditation for undergraduate programs is in process, with final approval from the ministry expected later this year.
“This makes us the only U.S. university branch that has this accreditation in this country,” Abushagur says.
RIT Dubai began offering graduate degrees in business administration, mechanical and electrical engineering, service leadership and networking and systems administration in 2008. There are currently 68 students studying in graduate programs in the college. The first class graduated in 2010.
The university in Dubai is currently housed in the headquarters of Dubai Silicon Oasis Authority. A new campus building is being constructed for RIT Dubai within the complex, with expected occupancy slated for December.