Your Australian University in Dubai

How UOWD Made History

The UOWD story began a year before it set up home in Dubai. In 1992, plans were being made to find a strong base in the Gulf region for the Australian University of Wollongong (UOW).

UOW's international pioneer, Dr James Langridge, worked out a business proposal to establish permanent, long-term education services overseas and in 1993, The Institute for Australian Studies (lAS) opened its doors in one-and-a-half floors of a commercial building, opposite Al Mulla Plaza, for the eight students who enrolled to learn English.

Over the next 15 years, Dr Langridge spearheaded the progress of his brainchild that went on to become an icon in the realm of private universities, providing quality education in the UAE.

A year after its official opening, the Institute, in association with UOW, added a Graduate Diploma and Bachelors and Masters degrees in Business Administration. In 2000, the University became the first foreign tertiary institution in Dubai to receive its license from the UAE Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research.

After this, there was no looking back. The rapid increase in student numbers spurred the search for a bigger site, leading to a shift to the famous Jumeirah campus, located on the beachfront; this part of the beach, as well as a bus stop next to the University, are still remembered by many people as the Wollongong beach and bus stop.

In 2003, the UOW Dubai campus was incorporated and its name officially changed to the University of Wollongong in Dubai, and as student numbers continued to grow, another move was initiated. In 2005, UOWD moved to its current home in Dubai Knowledge Village, the hub for educational activity in Dubai. UOWD was now undertaking research in addition to teaching, and the research newsletter ‘Scholar’ was launched.

In 2010, UOWD became the first private university in Dubai to introduce doctoral programs – the Doctor of Business Administration and the PhD. As more programs were introduced, more and more students enrolled and in 2012, another teaching block was opened to accommodate this growth.   

In 2013, UOWD celebrated its 20th anniversary. This landmark year was marked with a whole host of celebratory events and witnessed a number of other significant milestones, including the graduation of the university’s 7,000th student.

UOWD now hosts over 4,000 students from almost 100 nationalities, has 25 accredited degree programs, and boasts an international alumni network of more than 7,000 members.