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Understanding accreditation of degrees in the UAE

Updated on April 27, 2014 // Created on June 23, 2013

What is accrediatation?

Accreditation is the term used to explain how a qualification is accredited. This essentially means that each credit point you accumulate as part of the qualification is of an adequate academic standard to meet the level of study you are undertaking. In many western education systems (UK, US, Canada, etc) Universities are self-accrediting. These self-accrediting universities are at the forefront of the research and academic development taking place within the subject area and thus develop degree programs that teach and test the students in these fields of study.

How is accrediatation regulated internationally?

To ensure the quality remains high, there is usually a separate and centralized body for quality assurance to ensure that all have the same academic standards. These govern both onshore and offshore campuses (like those found in the UAE). This allows degrees to hold value and recognition internationally and enables you to accumulate credit points in multiple institutions through the transfer of credits within the same subject area and study level.

How is accrediation regulated in te UAE?

The UAE takes a slightly different approach and has only a centralized accrediting service called the CAA. They state:

The CAA published a new edition of the Standards for Licensure and Accreditation in 2011; this edition continues the effort of the Commission for Academic Accreditation to refine its existing standards and procedures to ensure that newly established institutions and programs, as well as existing ones, meet high levels of quality.

CAA checks the quality and academic standards of degree programs and accredits them with a central UAE accreditation. All local and some international branch campuses have this UAE accreditation. You can find all the licensed institutions here and their accredited programs at the CAA website. Where an international branch campus has chosen not to be accredited in the UAE, they carry only their own accreditation from the mother campus in the original country. 

Checking for accreditation:

Don't be afraid to ask an instiution "please tell me how and in what countries your degrees are accrediated"

You should check that the institution/campus has either UAE or an international accreditation, if not both. Where an institution/campus situated in the UAE does not have UAE accreditation from the CAA, you may find that some employers (particularly government entities outside of Dubai) may not recognize your degree and thus may deem you an unsuitable employee. However, the instances of this are rare and in most cases internationally accrediated degrees are bot accepted and respected here in the UAE.

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