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Architecture & Culture in the U.A.E.

Architecture & Culture in the United Arab Emirates
Study architecture in Dubai, Sharjah, and Abu Dhabi while visiting not only the world's tallest building, but also some of the region’s most significant historical and cultural centers.
United Arab Emirates
Language of Instruction: 
Winter Break
Academic Disciplines: 
Graduate Courses
Program Type: 
Program Summary: 

This study abroad program to the United Arab Emirates will provide an opportunity for students from all backgrounds to experience the thriving urban epicenter of the Middle East. The UAE’s rich history is rooted in Islam, which came to the region in 630 AD. Its location between Europe and the Far East, attracted merchants from India and China and was prized by Europeans, in particular the Portuguese, the Dutch and the British.

While Europeans sought control of the coasts, inland, the ancestors of the Bedouin made the sandy deserts of Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah their home. The shift from the maritime trading industry to oil production and exportation has spurred rapid globalization. 

In addition to the culturally rich historic sites located in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah, we will also explore contemporary sites that have become renounced across the world for its architectural spectacle. The evidence of globalization seen in the UAE is indicative of a region undergoing rapid political and cultural transformation.


This short term faculty led program will begin in Dubai. Students will spend 6 days in Dubai, 2 days in Sharjah and 5 days in Abu Dhabi.

Visits to Dubai include a day at the historic Bastakia, where students experience the vernacular and historic built environment of the UAE; Dubai gold and fabric souk (market); Global village; Souk Al Bahar; Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world; Dubai Design Center and firms.

Visit to Shajah include Al Gasba, a premier cultural, business and entertainment landmark of Sharjah; The Blue Souk, the carpet, gem and craft market located on the a lagoon; The American University of Sharjah, the second largest American University in the Middle East and the Sharjah Art museum.

Visit to Abu Dhabi include Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, the biggest place of worship in the country; Masdar City, the largest sustainable development in the Middle East; The Heritage Village, The Louvre Abu Dhabi and The Guggenheim Abu Dhabi.

Academic Information: 

All students must enroll in ARCH 690 for three hours for the program.

Architecture students may elect to take the course ARCH 692 Documentation for three credit hours.

Required Course:

ARCH 690 Architecture Study Abroad (3 credit hours)


GIST 503 Advanced Topics in Middle East Studies: Architecture & Culture in the United Arab Emirates

Optional for Architecture Students:

ARCH 692 Documentation (3 credit hours)

For KU Architecture students, who need to fulfill the nine hour study abroad requirement for this program, contact the KU Architecture Department for more details.


Students will stay in centrally located hotels in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. 


Open to all undergraduate or graduate degree-seeking students from any accredited U.S. college or university. Minimum 2.5 GPA required (exceptions considered after submission of a petition).


Study Abroad Information Center
Walk-in advising
Monday - Friday. 9AM - 5 PM
Lippincott Hall, Room 105
1410 Jayhawk Boulevard
Contact: studyabroad@ku.edu

Study Abroad Financial Advising
Financial Aid and Scholarship Info Session
Wednesday, 4:00 pm &
Thursday, 2:00 pm
105 Lippincott Hall


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