Which is Better for Higher Studies, Dubai or Singapore?

By Neha Kumari Updated On - Nov 15, 2021 10:18 AM

Both Dubai and Singapore have emerged as global educational hubs and are known to offer quality education at an affordable cost. Here you can find the comparative study between the two for higher education.

Dubai and Singapore have emerged as popular study destinations in the last few years owing to the quality of education and ample job opportunities. Geographical proximity and affordable cost of study are the two main reasons why Dubai and Singapore have become preferred choices among Indian students to pursue higher education. 

Dubai is home to students representing 200 nationalities studying a varying range of Bachelors and Masters in the country. Records show that the Dubai International Academic City (DIAC) has experienced a surge in international students in the past 5 years. A total of 27, 500 new international students were enrolled in 2019 at DIAC. The number of Indian students enrolled in Dubai grew 62% from 2012 to 2018. 

Singapore, on the other hand, is a popular study abroad destination among Indian students. More than 70,000 international students study in Singapore among which around 3,000 are Indians. There is an upsurge in Indian student enrollment every year.

Also Read: January Intake vs September Intake for Study Abroad

Dubai vs Singapore for Higher Education

Wondering whether to go to Dubai or Singapore for higher education? Here you can find a detailed comparison between Dubai and Singapore. Based on various factors you can choose the most suitable destination for yourself,




Academic Term January and September January and August
Course Duration

Bachelors - 3 to 4 years

Masters - 1 year

Bachelors - 3 to 5 years

Masters - 1 to 2 years

Tuition Fee

Bachelors - AED 35,000 - 70,000 (INR 7,05,398 to 14,10,795) per year 

Masters - AED 55,000- 75,000 (INR 11,08,482 to 15,11,567) per year

Bachelors - INR 12-20 lakhs per year 

Masters - INR 15 Lakhs per year

Study Visa Eligibility

A study visa is required for international students who are enrolled at one of the universities in Dubai.

The general eligibility criteria to apply for study in Dubai is as follows:

  • The student must be at least 18 years of age to apply for a study visa in Dubai.
  • The visa must be sponsored by a university
  • The visa must be approved by the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA).
  • A valid passport is required to apply for a study visa
  • All original educational documents must be available while applying for a study visa

International students who have an acceptance letter from an educational institution in Singapore for full-time studies will have to apply for a student pass. The candidate must have the following documents to apply for the pass:

  • Original educational certificates 
  • Financial/bank statements
  • Passport
  • Official acceptance letter from the institute
Validity of Study Visa

The validity of the study Visa for Dubai is 1 year. It is renewable upon the approval of authorities of higher educational institutions where the student is admitted.

You must convert your student pass into a visit pass if you intend to stay back in Singapore and look for work. The validity of the visit pass is one year.
Procedure to Apply for Study Visa

Admission to one of the universities in Dubai does not guarantee the approval of a study visa in the UAE. The visa is approved only after meeting certain requirements, fulfilling medical fitness needs, security checks and approval from the authorised bodies. Students can apply for a visa to study in Dubai through the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship (ICA) website, eChannel for residency and citizenship or through the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA) of the individual emirate.

Students who are 19 years old or above and are enrolled in a full-time course at an approved Private Education Organisation (PEO) can apply for a study visa through Singapore Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA) directly. 

The visa application must be submitted on the official ICA website. 

Usually, it takes  2 to 4 months for the processing of a study visa.

The candidate needs to attend an interview for visa processing. Documents needed to attend visa interviews are as follows:

  • Birth certificate 
  • Academic certificate
  • Financial/bank statements
Visa Fee AED 2,400 (Yearly)+ AED 3,000 refundable deposit  S$30 (INR 1650)
Insurance AED 1,500 per year  
Accommodation Cost  AED 1,500 to 2000 (INR 30,231 to 40,308) per month   INR 6,00,00 per year 
Work Permit

Work Permit in Dubai is categorised as given below:

  • Candidates with a high school diploma
  • Candidates with at least a bachelor’s degree
  • Candidates with a post-secondary diploma in any field

The employer of the candidate can initiate the work permit application and based on the profile of the candidate, the work visa is issued. 

In 2019, UAE initiated Golden Visa - Long-term Residence Visa. The new system enables foreigners to live, work and study in UAE. Earlier this was available only for talented professionals, students and investors. But now it is open for all top-performing graduates,  PhD holders, physicians and those working in high tech fields. Golden Visa- Long-term Residence Visa will be issued for 5 or 10 years and will be renewed automatically.

The new scheme is likely to attract more internation students in upcoming years.

Foreigners who intend to work in Singapore must have a valid pass/ work visa. Students and graduates aged 18 to 25 who want to work in Singapore for 6 months during holidays can also apply for Work Holiday Pass (under Work Holiday Programme).  Professionals must apply for an employment pass to work in Singapore. 

A pass or work visa is issued for up to 2 years. However, it may vary based on the employment terms and other conditions.

Note: Dubai (1AED= 20.15 INR) & Singapore (1S$= 54.99 INR)

If you are interested in pursuing Bachelors or Masters in either Dubai or Singapore but are confused between which is right for you. Worry Not! Connect with us and speak to our study abroad experts who will help you take an informed decision.

Find Out Which University is Best Suited for You!

Also Read: Engineering Colleges in India vs Abroad

Why Study in Dubai

Dubai is known as the educational hub of the United Arab Emirates (UAE). It has some of the best universities and colleges in the world that are committed to providing quality education to local and international students. Universities and colleges in the UAE offering degree programs to international students are globally recognised. Dubai has five public and 58 private colleges and universities. These institutes are recognised by the Ministry of Higher Education in UAE. Many popular universities from the USA, the UK, Australia and India have set up their branches in Dubai. 

  • Dubai is one of the popular education hubs that provide a safe environment for students from different parts of the world to access quality higher education.

  • Dubai has several well established higher educational institutes. Many popular universities in the USA, UK, India have set up their branches in Dubai.

  • The higher educational institutions in Dubai offer courses to fill the gap of skilled professionals needed in the industry.

  • Universities in Dubai have world-class infrastructure and provide a platform for the best learning experience for students.

  • There is an increasing demand for skilled candidates in the field of engineering, data science, supply chain management & logistics and software development field. Hence studying in Dubai is beneficial in terms of job opportunities.

  • Universities in Dubai have affordable tuition fee rates. Also, the living cost in Dubai is low compared to other developed countries.

  • Scholarships are available for meritorious students and one can also avail discounts on on-campus accommodations.  

  • Modern lifestyle, global cultural exposure and ample opportunities in Dubai are some of the other significant reasons why Dubai is one of the preferred choices of higher studies.

  • Some of the most in-demand jobs in Dubai include - engineers, marketing professionals, sales professionals, finance professionals, hospitality and healthcare professionals and hotels and restaurants managers. 

Why Study in Singapore

Higher Education in Singapore is managed and administered by the Ministry of Education (MoE) Singapore. Singapore has five Autonomous universities, five polytechnic colleges, ten branch campuses of foreign higher education institutions and two private institutions.

  • The geographical location of Singapore makes it a desirable place to study abroad. Singapore airport is one of the busiest airports in the world. It is well connected to different parts of the world. There are several airline options to connect to the country. 

  • Singapore is emerging as a global educational hub. Universities in Singapore are internationally acclaimed and offer world-class education.

  • Universities in Singapore offer courses that are useful for careers and provide excellent job opportunities in the field of business, technology, trade and research.

  • Tuition fees and cost of living in Singapore is lower than in other countries like UK and USA

  • The government of Singapore is also highly supportive of international students. They promote their higher educational institutes and encourage students from around the world to join the universities for quality education.

  • Students studying in Singapore can explore the island and engage in various recreational activities. Shopping malls, nature reserves, wildlife, museums, rainforests are some of the must-visit places in Singapore. One can also explore different restaurants for delicious and authentic food.

  • Some of the popular sectors where graduates in Singapore can find employment are finance, construction and infrastructure development, shipping industry, Hospitality and Tourism, real states and the IT sector.  

Also Read: Study Study BBA Abroad after 12th: Eligibility, Top Universities & Fees

Both Dubai and Singapore are well developed with modern infrastructure and facilities. While Singapore is an island in Southeast Asia, Dubai is the most populous city in the UAE. Singapore is also known as 'Lion City' or 'Garden City' as it is surrounded by lush green tropical fields and beautiful gardens. Dubai is a Muslim country surrounded by desserts but the country also has gardens and fountains. Both Dubai and Singapore are modern and rich cities known for world-class buildings, skyscrapers and infrastructure.

Now the decision of where to study rests with you!

For those in the process of searching and applying to a foreign university, improve your chances of admission with help from our study abroad experts who can guide you through your entire application process for university as well as visa application.

Get Your Study Abroad Applications Reviewed By Us!

If you need more information on studying in Dubai or Singapore, you can get in touch with us directly at abroad@collegedekho.com. 

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