The University of Aberdeen has opened a campus in Qatar, making it the first UK University to have a dedicated campus in the Gulf State offering mainstream degrees.
The multi-million pound facility in Doha is a partnership between the University and the Al-Faleh Group for Educational and Academic Services (AFG) that will initially offer business degrees to Qatari nationals and the country’s expatriate community.
The University will initially offer two undergraduate courses - Business Management and Accountancy and Finance - which are expected to attract around 120 students in the 2017-18 academic year.
Over the next four years the campus is expected to expand to include additional undergraduate and postgraduate programmes, including STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) subjects.
The new campus is a personal project of Her Highness Dr Sheikha Aisha Al-Thani, a member of the Qatari Royal Family who studied in the UK and who is behind an initiative to strengthen the education sector in Qatar and provide more higher education opportunities for Qatari nationals.
With business degrees from UK universities in high demand, the University was invited along with AFG to provide degrees in a bid to offer more citizens the opportunity to study without having to travel abroad - a key barrier to further study for many in Qatar, especially women.
While the facilities and support staff are funded by AFG, the University will control the educational aspects of the degree programmes, such as entry requirements and course contents.
Commenting at the launch of the new campus, University of Aberdeen Principal, Professor Sir Ian Diamond, said: “The opening of the University’s campus in Qatar is a significant milestone in our history, and I am proud to be working alongside our partners AFG to increase educational opportunities for Qatari citizens.
“Our Qatar campus is intended to provide more educational opportunities for women and men who may not otherwise have the chance to participate in higher education, and is in line with our ambition to provide a transformational learning experience to citizens in countries where these opportunities cannot be taken for granted.
“We are one of only a select number of overseas universities to be chosen to provide higher education in Qatar, which is testament to the strength of our business programmes and our track record of excellence in teaching and research.
“In the years to come we hope to expand the range of opportunities available for students, so that as many people as possible can benefit from the world-class educational experience for which the University is renowned.”