ABOUT ACADEMIC CITY
Dubai International Academic City, widely known as Academic City or DIAC, is situated along the southern outskirts of Dubai. It was officially launched in the year 2007 by TECOM Group. In the pursuit of intellectual growth and to cater to the needs of the diverse academic community, this remarkable project materialized in 2012. This inception took place after the successful development of Dubai Knowledge Park (previously known as Knowledge Village) in Al Sufouh area. Similar in function and objectives, the educational hub of Dubai Knowledge Park has been serving as a platform for various corporate training and professional learning institutes. On the other hand, Academic City aims to provide a common ground for schools, colleges and universities. DIAC is the largest free zone in the world solely dedicated to educational institutes.
Supporting a number of distinguished academic partners from around the globe, the ever-expanding Dubai Academic City has developed into a large, vibrant community. Centrally located along Dubai – Al Ain Road, it is counted among the best areas for students in Dubai.
IN A NUTSHELL
- Dubai’s ultimate destination for higher education
- Home to nearly 28 global universities
- Welcomes foreign investment
- Hosts several annual career fairs
- Relatively low cost of living as compared to other areas
- A popular choice for students to rent apartments in Dubai
Dubai has made it easier for students by making a community where all the major universities are collectively present along with affordable living spaces in the close perimeters. Instead of travelling from all across the city to their educational institutes, students can now find a comfortable place near their enrolled university in DIAC. Along with affordable living, there are many facilities available in the community within just walking distance from the hostels, which prove to be cost-cutting for residents. Also, the International Academic City is one of the district cooling locations in Dubai serviced by Empower.
DIAC community offers a well-balanced lifestyle to students in one of the most popular cities in the world. With many facilities at close distance and low-range flats, this community gives a tranquil refuge to the academic learners. Students can easily manage their finances and focus on their work. Moreover, those who burn the midnight-oil can benefit from the opportunity of cost-cutting by giving themselves a break occasionally and go big on the weekends.
The infrastructure of this development spans a total area of 129 million sq. ft. (around 12 sq. km.), of which, 20 million sq. ft. is reserved solely for colleges and universities.
Further 8 million sq. ft. has been allocated as a free zone sector called Dubai International Academic City or DIAC, which partially occupies the north-eastern region of the greater Dubai Academic City. The community is one of the free zones in Dubai under DCCA (Dubai Creative Clusters Authority). Serving more than 27,000 students of around 150 different nationalities, DIAC is the world’s largest educational free trade zone dedicated to foreign higher education. This means that the universities or colleges in this sector are operating with 100% foreign ownership. By the year 2010, it hosted almost 53% of the higher education institutes in the UAE and around 23% of the universities in the Gulf region. Featuring over 500 undergraduate and postgraduate degree programmes, Dubai International Academy City has ranked among the top 10 global free zones in the Middle East.
Apart from the academic campuses, Academic City has a dedicated 3 million sq. ft. area for research and development centres. These include a green government organisation, Ministry of Climate Change and Environment, as well as the facility called International Centre for Biosaline Agriculture (ICBA).
PROPERTIES IN ACADEMIC CITY
Boasting the world’s largest concentration of international campuses, Academic City is made up of commercial projects that also include a great number of government-based educational institutes. To facilitate students and professionals with an all-rounded experience, the development also includes on-campus as well as off-campus accommodations.
The apartments in Academic City are typically build like compounds. The large open-roofed entrance hall boasts the encircling corridors, which are dotted with wall to wall units. Reminiscent of a library, these units are quite spacious with large living spaces and high ceilings, providing a therapeutically light and airy feel to it. Moreover, you will find granite flooring and kitchens with marble tops bringing stability to the overall theme. There are also some balconies in the flats, where students can arrange a study spot, overlooking the greenery of the serene landscaped parks that surround these compounds.
Furthermore, facilities like car parking and round-the-clock security are provided to each student. The residential blocks give easy access to many facilities including mini-parks, shops, restaurants and not-to-mention the schools. Public transport and commercial buildings are also easily accessible from these units.
RENTAL TRENDS IN ACADEMIC CITY
Average Rental Price in AED
Average Rental Price in AED
Average Rental Price in AED
Average Rental Price in AED
There are multiple blocks of hostels near Birla Institute of Technology and Science, Pilani (BITS Pilani). Varying from studios to 1-bed and 2-bed apartments, these rental residential properties in Academic City are quite reasonable. Those who are living in the area find it manageable to pay the rents. Since the students are already on a tight budget, the cost of living is relatively low compared to other major cities such as New York, Singapore and London.
The rental prices of studios in Academic City start from AED 16k and are easily available with an average living area of 460 sq. ft. The price of 1-bed flats ranges between AED 29k and AED 31k, per annum. These units are generally spread across an average area of 826 sq. ft. Those looking for 2-bed flats can expect to pay around AED 38.5k.
Popular Complexes in Academic City
- The Myriad
- Al Shiba Complex
Based on searches conducted by users on Bayut.com over the past 12 months
Completed in 2020, a student housing community called The Myriad is an addition in the heart of Academic City. Built on 60,000 sq. m., the 6-storey residential complex consists of approximately 1,820 rooms. It includes amenities such as green courtyards, swimming pools, gyms, coffee shops and a few other communal facilities. At a monthly rent of AED 2.2k, you can rent a studio apartment in The Myriad. Whereas, Al Shiba Complex is also a popular option for students to rent apartments in Dubai close to educational institutes. It costs around AED 16k per annum to rent apartments in Al Shiba Complex.
TRANSPORTATION AND PARKING SPACES IN ACADEMIC CITY
Academic City is surrounded by four major roads: Emirates Road (E611), Manama Street (D67), Sheikh Zayed bin Hamdan Al Nahyan Street (D54) and Dubai – Al Ain Road (E66). Most areas of the city are at a practical distance from Academic City via the aforementioned roads.
Parking spaces in Academic City include outdoor as well as indoor facilities. Most campuses have the capacity for over 1,000 vehicles.
PUBLIC TRANSPORT IN ACADEMIC CITY
There are many transport links for public transportation in Academic City. You can catch an RTA bus or hail in a taxi conveniently. At least one bus stop is present near every campus. RTA Bus 365 operates on the Academic City route, which includes a few stops at key destinations such as Al Rashidiya Metro Station, Dubai Silicon Oasis and International City.
AMENITIES, SCHOOLS AND HEALTHCARE
Apart from a wide array of educational institutes, the amenities range from food and beverage outlets, medical facilities and a day-care nursery to miscellaneous services such as beauty salons, car rentals, a travel agency and a driving institute.
SUPERMARKETS IN ACADEMIC CITY
The widely recognized convenience store, Circle K can be found in the premise of Zayed University, close to the main road. More options are available across Dubai and Al Ain roads, such as West Zone Supermarket and Thomsun Supermarket. However, towards the rear side of Academic City, you will find many retail stores which carry plenty of supplies for residents as well as for people on the go. These supermarkets in Academic City include All Day Minimart DIAC, All Day Shopping and another Circle K Store. There is also another branch of All Day Minimart as well as Greens Supermarket in Dubai Outsource City.
Along Sheikh Zayed Bin Hamdan Al Nahyan Street, another popular convenience store called Zoom is located by the ENOC petrol station. Choitrams and Spinneys in the next-door community of Dubai Silicon Oasis are preferred for large shopping hauls.
CHURCHES, TEMPLES AND MOSQUES IN ACADEMIC CITY
Churches near Academic City include a few in Oud Mehta. St Mary’s Catholic Church, St. Thomas Orthodox Cathedral and Coptic Church in Oud Mehta can be reached in under 20 minutes.
The Sikh gurudwaras and Hindu temples in Bur Dubai are also 20 minutes away. Worshippers can find Shiva Temple, Shree Krishna Haveli and ShrinathJi Temple, as well as the Sikh Gurudwara and the Sindhi Gurdarbar located here.
There is a mosque in Academic City situated in the complex of Dubai Men’s College. Other than that, the nearest facilities for Muslims include EPPCO Petrol Station Masjid and Al Waha Masjid in the adjacent Dubai Silicon Oasis development.
SCHOOLS IN ACADEMIC CITY
Learning facilities for preschoolers close to Academy City include Toddlers International, British Orchard Nursery and Fantasy Town Nursery and Play Lounge in Dubai Silicon Oasis.
Notable Daycare Centres, Nurseries and Schools in Academic City
Within the area, you will find a branch of the highly reputed, Blossom Nurseries in Dubai. It is conveniently located in block 12 along Sheikh Zayed Bin Hamdan Al Nahyan Street, D54. The institute also offers conveyance for little ones. Further, Little Fingers Daycare Centre and Play Area is a 6-minute drive away.
Furthermore, Academic City has an impressive portfolio of top-notch schools for foreign students. The international schools in Academic City include:
- Lycee Francais International Georges Pompidou
- German International School Dubai
Lycee Francais International Georges Pompidou is a non-profit school that follows the French National curriculum. It is a co-educational school linked with the French consulate, providing higher education scholarship opportunities in France for its students. Started with a small primary section on Oud Metha, it was established in 2013 and since then the school has grown tremendously. Its current KHDA rating is ‘Outstanding’.
German International School Dubai is affiliated with the German Ministry of Education, following the German curriculum. Established in Dubai in the year 2008, this school was rated as ‘Outstanding’ according to the KHDA ratings, almost a decade later in 2014. Children from foundation grades to grade 13 can enrol in this school, any time during the academic year.
Another school that serves the area include Dubai English Speaking College, which offers the British curriculum. You will also find some reputable schools in the neighbouring districts such as Silicon Oasis and Dubailand. These popular schools in the neighbourhood include GEMS Wellington Academy, The Aquila School and Repton School Dubai.
Top Colleges and Universities
We have compiled a list of international colleges and universities in Academic City as follows:
- American University in the Emirates
- The British University in Dubai
- Heriot-Watt University Dubai
- Amity University
- Szabist University
- Birla Institute of Technology and Science Pilani
- Manipal Academy of Higher Education
- Dubai English Speaking College
Those searching for British universities in Dubai can check out a few options in this educational hub such as the Heriot Watt University and the University of Birmingham Dubai. Other institutes like Curtin University and Murdoch University Dubai are noteworthy if you are looking for Australian universities in Dubai.
Some of the regional or UAE government-based campuses offering higher education include:
- Zayed University
- Al Ghurair University
- University of Dubai
- Hamdan Bin Mohammed Smart University (HBMSU)
- Emirates Aviation University
- Dubai Men’s College
- Emirates Institute of Banking and Financial Studies (EIBFS)
- Sheikh Rashid Bin Saeed Islamic Institute
The University of Dubai is one of the best local universities in the area, offering recognised degrees in Law, IT and Business management programs. It is considered among the top Engineering colleges and universities in Dubai. Providing an international standard of education, the university offers undergraduate and postgraduate programs in Electrical Engineering, BBA, MBA, LLM and PhD.
Located near one of the entrances of Academic City, the campus of Zayed University is one of the largest complexes in the development. With a capacity for 4,000 students, it is constructed on a total covered area of 100,000 sq. m. Boasting an award-winning design, the Zayed University complex includes six interconnected buildings: an administration building, convention centre, dining building, library building, academic building and a gymnasium building. The institute is considerable for students on the look out for best interior design courses in Dubai. You can simply apply for the undergrad Fine Arts program and pick interior designing as your major.
Offering a much greater chance to the international students at excelling in academic fields, Birla University of Technology and Science is one of the best universities in Dubai. It is an international branch of Indian Institute BITS, which is dedicated to the teachings of engineering and technology. Students will find undergraduate programs for BBA, BE and Research and postgraduate programs for MBA, ME and PhD Birla University of Technology and Science accommodates over 1500 students each year belonging to more than 20 different nationalities.
One of the top universities in Academic City is Murdoch University. An arched wing of the top-rated Australian university, this international campus offers a chance to the students of other nations to forge a future in the global community. Murdoch University is a large campus that offers undergraduate and postgraduate programs in a number of fields, including Journalism, Computer Sciences, Essential Mathematics and Business. Students can also benefit from a number of other facilities on the campus, such as a library, a film studio, an editing suite and a computer lab.
Based on the major you want to choose, you can find many institutes within the development offering a range of diplomas, undergrad and graduation programs.
CLINICS AND HOSPITALS NEAR ACADEMIC CITY
A medical facility exists amid each campus located in Dubai International Academic City.
However, there are many health centres present in Dubai Silicon Oasis, just a short drive away. These clinics and hospitals near Academic City include Medicure Polyclinic, Farha Clinics Children Centre, Magnum Gulf Medical Centre and Aster Clinic. Fakeeh University Hospital in Dubai Silicon Oasis is the closest hospital to the Academic City community.
Launched alongside Dubai International Academic City, the free zone of Dubai Outsource City (DOC) shares Academic City’s north-eastern boundary. DOC consists of a cluster of commercial and mixed-use buildings where many outsourcing companies have established their offices and call centre operations.
Adjoining the north-western boundary of Academic City, Dubai Silicon Oasis (DSO) is another free zone urban development. It houses many noteworthy building complexes such as The Apricot, Le Solarium, Silicon Gates and Axis Residence.
A little further along the Manama Street is the vibrant mixed-use community of International City, accessible in 10 minutes.
SHOPPING, DINING AND NIGHTLIFE
MALLS NEAR ACADEMIC CITY
The nearest mall-like experience for people living in Academic City is the Souq Extra located near the gate of Dubai Silicon Oasis. It is just a 2-minute drive and a short bus ride away. The 3-storey Avenue Mall is scheduled to open soon in the same neighbourhood and will serve as an ultimate shopping destination for the Academic City occupants.
Situated just about 7 kilometres away, or at a drive of 8 minutes, Dubai Outlet Mall is also one of the malls near Academic City. It is ranked as one of the top shopping malls in Dubai by Forbes. At Dubai Outlet Mall you will find many prestigious outlets including high-street fashion, luxury fashion, brands, a plethora of dining options and many entertainment options.
Some popular international brands you will find here include Giuseppe Zanetti, Galeries Lafayette L’outlet, Burberry, Mango, Vero Moda, Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger, Levi’s Strauss, an Aldo outlet, Nike, Charles and Keith, Rivoli, Pandora and many others.
Dragon Mart famous for its wide range of Chinese products and its affordable prices is located in International City and is available within 15 minutes’ worth of drive from Academic City It is one of the best malls to visit if you’re looking for cheap hardware goods and electronic appliances.
RESTAURANTS IN ACADEMIC CITY
Nestled in the DIAC complex, there is an Academic City food court that features an array of dining options. The restaurants in Academic City include Rivas Restaurant, Bombay Chowpatty, Kaake K Manousha and Fuel Up. There is also a pastry shop referred to as French Bakery and a dessert shop called Chocoberries.
You will find at least one coffee shop in every campus. Costa Coffee can be spotted at the American University in the Emirates and Emirates Aviation University campuses. Academic City food court has Filli Café. The popular Starbucks Coffee chain sits in the Zayed University complex.
Fans of Subway can head over to its chain located in Dubai Men’s College campus, whereas lovers of Popeyes can get their fried chicken cravings satisfied at the chain based in Heriot-Watt University.
Academic City occupants can also visit Dubai Silicon Oasis next door, which has more options such as Sumo Sushi and Bento, Tomato and Basilico Restaurant, Copper Kettle Restaurant and Oregano.
BEACHES NEAR ACADEMIC CITY
Since Academic City is an inland development of Dubai, commuters would have to drive for 26 minutes to access the coastal locations such as Jumeirah Beach. This beach near Academic City is around 28 kilometres away. You will find many other options here as well within half an hour drive including the La Mer Beach, Marina Beach, Pine Beach and Kite Beach.
La Mer Beach is located in Jumeirah 1 that is also one of the hottest beachfront venues for dining and entertainment. The sprawling beach boasts waterparks, public cinemas and many licensed dining places.
At La Mer, you will not only find a tropical ambience but also artistic features like rustic barrels and colourful boards that make a perfect backdrop for your Instagram pictures. Visitors are free to soak up some vitamin D on the sunbeds or enjoy a swim till the sunset, along with other facilities like spas and dining places. You can rent sunbeds and cabanas and enjoy many water sports activities here which are perfect for adventure junkies. The water sports offered at La Mer Beach include paddle boarding, surfing, kayaking, jet-skiing and water biking.
LEISURE ACTIVITIES AND NOTABLE LANDMARKS
Although it is based around the outskirts of Dubai that is vastly a desert region, Academic City has access to a few lush, green recreational areas. One of them is Al Habtoor Polo and Resort Club that is located towards its west, off the Emirates Road. The other is Desert Palm Polo Club in Al Warsan. Both of these destinations are perfect for sports lovers of the community.
If one loves nature then they can visit the bird-watching site in Academic City, near Hamdan Bin Mohammed Smart University. There are several parks one can visit in the neighbouring areas, including Central Park, Joury’s Park, Silicon Park and Triangular Park, all within a 7-minute driving radius.
OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES, FITNESS AND BEAUTY
Academic City is versatile in terms of providing learning facilities. Crystal Sports Tennis Academy, Dubai Water Polo Club, Elevation Fitness in Amity University and Zayed University Gym are few of such facilities available in Academic City.
There are numerous off-premise fitness and health clubs close to this development, such as Fitt High Performance Centre, DuGym Rhythmic Gymnastics, Body Time, Alfa Gravity and Nitro Gym.
There is an overwhelming variety of salons located nearby. A few of these include Las Meninans Beauty, Lorita Beauty Lounge, 1981 Gents Salon and Artista Men Salon in Dubailand. In Dubai Silicon Oasis, the options include Sheba Beauty Lounge, Stella Beauty Salon, Sakura Nail Spa and Black and Brown Gents Salon.
Academic City frequently holds educational or corporate events such as career fairs, workshops, competitions and creativity festivals every year. This gives students insightful exposure to different industries and helps them stay in tune with regional as well as worldwide requirements.
In 2018, Academic City hosted an Aviation Career Workshop in the Al Ghurair University Auditorium. In 2017, the Heriot-Watt University Campus held a research seminar on ‘Smart Thinking for Smart Learning: Learning and Knowledge Technologies to support Research’.
Another popular venue for the community events in Academic City is the Zayed University Convention Centre in Zayed University. Featuring an electronically-operated stage floor and many other state-of-the-art facilities, this convention centre stages an array of activities.
THINGS TO CONSIDER
Academic City provides a wide array of options in terms of educational choices but has limited residential options. There is a good chance that during peak admission season, many of the available accommodations get occupied so a prospective tenant might be left with limited options. But this is expected to get better with the completion of The Myriad student housing community and other future residential projects within Academic City.
Which are some Business Schools in Academic City?
Murdoch University is also one of the top business schools in Dubai. It offers Bachelors of Business in different subjects. Some other options in the vicinity include:
- Dubai Business School, University of Dubai
- IMT Business School
- SP Jain School of Global Management
Dubai Business School is one of the top business schools in Dubai with an MBA program.
Are there any French Schools in DIAC?
Lycee Francais International Georges Pompidou is one of the renowned French schools in Dubai. It has a branch in Oud Metha and another in Academic City.
Where can I find Aviation Academies in Dubai?
There are quite a few Aviation schools in Dubai you may find in Academic City, Al Garhoud and Ibn Battuta Gate. Those in DIAC include Emirates Aviation University and Ecole Hoteliere Helvetique (EHH).
Where can I learn Graphic Designing in DIAC?
You can learn Graphic Designing in the AUE College of Design. The American University in the Emirates offers one of the top graphic design courses in Dubai.
Are there any Culinary Schools in Dubai International Academic City?
Ecole Hoteliere Helvetique is also a top choice for culinary schools in Dubai. Located in the heart of DIAC, the institute offers several hospitality programs.