Research credits: Tasnim Hasan
Schools are wrapping up their finals exams, and universities and colleges have opened applications across the U.A.E, but which university has what you’re looking for? Where should you apply? The task of choosing looks taxing when you don’t have enough information to make an informed decision, so we thought we’d give you a hand.
Your family might call you lazy, but if off-beat media, communication and arts is where you think you belong, we’re on your side. Dive into animation, game development or even fine arts. With the inside scoop, here’s a list of reputed universities in the U.A.E, offering interesting mass communication and media degrees:
*Disclaimer: The street rates are an average of B-Change’s exchanges with existing and past students from these institutions [randomly selected].
1. SAE Institute
SAE uses technological, hands-on training and traditional learning methods, which provides a great foundation for media students. With a predominantly young faculty, it is fairly easy to interact and receive feedback about your work. Not to mention, if you’re looking at audio or film production, it is one of the few universities with a renowned course. It comes with a lot of field exposure and social networking opportunities. Word has it they’re a ‘do-it learn-it’ kind of place.
Since the faculty is quite young, they do not come with the expertise of well-seasoned lecturers [one might argue that’s a good thing]. While the crowd at SAE is intimate and feeds off each other’s creativity, the total population and campus is quite small.
An undergraduate student currently studying Film at SAE, who chose to remain anonymous, says:
“They’ve created an incredible environment for us as students to not only enjoy our work, but also feel comfortable in collaborating with different majors
The campus is multicultural and friendly. The faculty is very supportive and always available for support [even in sticky situations]. On the other hand, the campus needs to be bigger and we need to have more equipment.”
Bachelor of Film
Bachelor of Animation
Bachelor of Audio
Bachelor of Games Development
Duration: 24 months [accelerated learning]
Annual Fees: Approximately AED 70,000 [depending on the course & payment plan]
Academics [Course +Faculty]: 8/10
Socializing & Student Culture: 8.1/10
Job Placement Program: 7.9/10
Finance & Expenses: 7/10
2. Murdoch University
Best known for its media courses, Murdoch has a well-developed media centre where students can get hands-on experience in production. Their newsrooms combined with partnerships with major news providers in the country offers a course that goes far beyond theoretical learning. The faculty is quite experienced and the tech facilities are top-notch.
Grounded in work, Murdoch ranks relatively low on social networking and extra-curricular activities. They do not offer many free electives, which may limit creativity. They may be considered slightly disconnected from the region’s cultural norms and interaction with other universities.
Natasha Pradeep, a graduate who studied Journalism at Murdoch spills:
“The campus is quite small, so the students are close-knit. Everyone knows each other and that comes with a level of comfort for new students. The faculty is quite friendly and supportive.
If I had to change something, it would be establishing a rigorous job placement program. They also need to work on workshops to educate students about their options fr degrees and careers – I think it would be a nice touch.”
Students also learn about the world of contemporary global media with units on subjects such as new media technologies, communication policy, media audiences and public opinion.
Duration: 3 years
Fees: Approximately AED 28,000 per trimester. Take a look at fee structure here.
Academics [Course +Faculty]: 7.1/10
Socializing & Student Culture: 7/10
Job Placement Program: 6.9/10
Finance & Expenses: 8.4/10
3. American University of Sharjah
You’ve already heard everything there is to hear about this University- the mass communication faculty is well-known for being interactive and active. With a senior campaigns project, the course work is well-organized and focused. Participation in inter-collegiate competitions is high as professors provide encouragement to expose students to events like Dubai Lynx and MUN. AUS also offers research and writing opportunities; you can sign up as a professors’ TA or work at the writing centre. Additionally, they have a magazine for aspiring writers called ‘The Leopard’ which acts as good practice for students.
There is a lack of practical application avenues for Journalism students specifically in video production. In addition, their media centre for students [of Journalism] isn’t active yet, so building a serious portfolio may be difficult.
Arfa Sidiqi, an AUS graduate who did a double major in Journalism and International Relations, was all praises:
“Our student body has demonstrated numerous achievements whether it be documentaries winning at International film festivals or students winning journalism awards. All of this would not be possible, of course, without a dedicated faculty who personally ensure that each student live up to their full potential.
At the media studies program in AUS, it honestly feels like a close-knit family. The atmosphere is creative, ambitious and passionate where independent thinking is fostered and individuality encouraged. Recently, the media department was enhanced and a new studio was added. It is through this progressive vision of the department that AUS students make remarkable achievements in the field of media and journalism.”
Bachelor in Mass Communication [with a concentration in Advertising/PR/Journalism]
Bachelor of Science in Visual Communication
Bachelor of Arts in International Studies
Duration: 4 years
Annual Fees: 89,720 (Excluding technology and lab fees)
Academics [Course +Faculty]: 8.5/10
Socializing & Student Culture: 8.6/10
Job Placement Program: 7.7/10
Finance & Expenses: 5/10
4. Middlesex University
With roots in the UK, Middlesex borrows credibility from a renowned university for media studies. With a good faculty and organized coursework, they prepare students well for applying theoretical ideas in the real world. They have a brilliant job placement program and is preferred as an affordable study option in the UAE.
There may be too much emphasis on traditional methods of learning, with little focus on new avenues like digital production and presentation. Building a portfolio solely based on coursework is difficult and the lack of creative space and outlets can limit one’s growth in a field like media [does teach you a lot about networking though].
A student from Advertising, Public Relations and Media, who chose to remain anonymous shared the juicy tid bits:
“The student culture is raving. There’s a Media and PR club, so if you’re active there you get plenty of opportunity to show your skills off. Another great thing is the job placements on campus – They will put you in touch with the right people through frequent career fairs and one-on-one interview opportunities”
Regarding what she’s change, she said “It would do wonders for the university incorporated a focus on teaching technical skills – softwares like Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign.”
BA Honours Advertising, Public Relations and Media
BA Honours Journalism and Media
BA Honours Film
Fees: Approximately AED 50,000 a semester.
Academics [Course +Faculty]: 8/10
Socializing & Student Culture: 8.4/10
Job Placement Program: 7.2/10
Finance & Expenses: 7.2/10
5. Canadian University of Dubai
Relatively new in the region, this university boasts courses that are quite in line with the evolving digital world. With an active internship placement office, they rank well on job placements. They happen to have around-the-year workshops focused on student development and community services.
They don’t yet have a well-known faculty in the region, but we’re guessing it’s a matter of time. CUD is not as involved in media endeavors outside of the University – this may limit student’s opportunities to practice what they learn.
A third-year student from Public Relations, who chose to be anonymous, said:
“There are some interesting majors in the communications school like Translation and English Language. What is special about these is that it benefits native and non-native speakers of Arabic Language. There are also special courses that teach students how to speak Arabic.
Students learn through lectures and labs in some courses, by practicing computer skills. What I know about the faculty is that each of them have a different style of teaching.”
Journalism (English / Arabic)
Advertisement (English / Arabic)
Public Relations (English / Arabic)
Duration: 4 years
Annual Fees: 46,190 AED
Academics [Course +Faculty]: 6.5/10
Socializing & Student Culture: 6.7/10
Job Placement Program: 6.1/10
Finance & Expenses: 7.6/10
Other Universities that offer Media (or some form of it):
If you belong to any of these colleges/universities, then give high school grads a hand & leave a comment below reviewing your time there [Faculty, Fun, Fees]. Sure they’d appreciate your honest feedback.
Disagree with the reviews above? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below.
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