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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
To learn more about your study abroad options, we encourage you to visit the Study Abroad Info Center (105 Lippincott Hall). The Study Abroad Info Center offers walk-in advising for current and prospective students. Drop by to learn more about program options, make an appointment with a study abroad program coordinator, get information on scholarships and financial aid, and talk to returned study abroad students. We also encourage you to explore the resources available on our website to learn more about the application process, KU Core Approved programs, and the cost of study abroad. 

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

Study Abroad Financial Advising
KU Study Abroad has weekly 'You Can Afford to Study Abroad' Financial Aid and Scholarship Info Sessions/Open Meetings on Wednesday afternoons at 4:00 pm and Thursday afternoons at 2:00 pm in the Info Center (105 Lippincott Hall) while classes are in session. The financial advisor will be happy to take any questions and can offer individual advising at the end of sessions for specific concerns. For those that cannot attend the weekly Info Sessions due to scheduling conflicts, we also offer appointments for financial planning as well as financial aid and scholarship advising for students. Please visit 108 Lippincott Hall or call 785-864-3742 to set up an appointment.


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9th among public universities in the country for high quality, low cost study abroad programs — U.S. News & World Report
Longest-running exchange program in Western Hemisphere (begun in 1958) between KU and University of Costa Rica
18th in the nation among public universities for undergraduate participation in study abroad — Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchange
28.1% of KU undergraduate students study abroad prior to graduation.
KU students who study abroad graduate in four years at twice the rate of students who do not study abroad
More than 160 study abroad programs in 75 countries, with instruction in all disciplines and 20+ languages
Students can study abroad for an academic year, semester, summer, spring break, or winter break
Programs include international study, internships, service, and research opportunities
Students participating in semester, academic year, and select summer programs fulfill Goal 4.2 of the KU Core curriculum
Students can fulfill major, minor, certificate, elective, and KU Core curriculum requirements abroad
Programs are available for students in every major at KU
Financial aid is applicable to study abroad programs, and most KU scholarships and grants can be applied to study abroad
The Office of Study Abroad and many academic departments offer scholarships to qualified KU students
By studying abroad, students gain a global perspective on the world and strengthen their career opportunities
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