Dubai campus history and heritage

Since 2018, students have had the opportunity to study with us in Dubai. In 2022, we transitioned to a new, purpose-built campus, seamlessly fusing the historic Aston Webb buildings in Birmingham with the cultural richness and architectural beauty of Arabic heritage.

Our new campus, located in Dubai International Academic City (DIAC), has been designed by Hopkins Architects and the construction managed by TECOM Group. Uniquely designed in the shape of a crescent moon and inspired by the historic Aston Webb buildings in Birmingham, our bespoke new facility in Dubai visually fuses the history and stature of our Edgbaston campus with the heritage, tradition and beauty of Arabic culture and architecture.

The first redbrick university

Located in the heart of England, the University of Birmingham is a place steeped in history and tradition. Since its establishment in 1900, the university has been a key player in shaping the academic landscape locally and globally. The University of Birmingham's journey is a fascinating one, marked by groundbreaking achievements, notable alumni, and commitment to knowledge. Starting out as the first civic university in England, we have evolved into a renowned hub for education, research, and innovation.

Find out more about our university's history spanning over 120 years.

Timeline of the Dubai campus

May 2017 – University of Birmingham goes global: Dubai campus announced

The University of Birmingham announces it would be opening campus in Dubai, becoming the first Russell Group University to establish a campus in this rapidly developing international education hub.

Aerial view

September 2018 – University of Birmingham Dubai welcomes its first students

A landmark day, as the university’s Phase One campus opens its doors to the first cohort of students.

Welcome Week 920

November 2019 – Phase Two campus ‘breaks ground’ marking the beginning of construction

Professor Sir David Eastwood said:

“Breaking ground on our iconic new campus is another exciting milestone and demonstrates the University of Birmingham’s long-term commitment to the UAE”.


July 2021 - First undergraduates receive degrees

The first undergraduate students 'receive' their degrees in a special online ceremony.

Omar Naqash and Prof. David Sadler

January 2022 – The university moves into the new campus

Following completion of the Phase Two site, the university moves into the new purpose-built state-of-the-art campus, occupying a prominent position at the heart of Academic City.

Explore our state-of-the-art campus

Entrance to building shot from low wide angle

February 2022 - Queen's Baton Relay arrives on campus

The new campus welcomes the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games Queen's Baton Relay, coinciding with UK National Day at Expo 2020 Dubai. Student Batonbearers carry the Baton into the University of Birmingham Dubai campus to be welcomed by Lord Karan Bilimoria, Chancellor of the University of Birmingham, in a ceremony that blends UK and Arabic culture.

April 2022 – Official opening ceremony of campus with Sheikh Hamdan’s inauguration

The University of Birmingham officially opens the Dubai campus in 2022 in the presence of His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, and Chairman of The Executive Council of Dubai.

January 2023 - Campus wins special prize in top global architecture award

The iconic new Dubai campus scoops a Special Prize in the prestigious Prix Versailles 2022 global architecture and design awards. The World Judges Panel selected the Dubai campus for the award based on the criteria of innovation, creativity, reflection of local heritage and ecological efficiency, with the importance of sustainable development at the heart of its decision making.

Tables and chairs in large indoors open space with trees
Courtyard with water feature, plants and shaded canopy

February 2023 - RTA opens Transportation Research and Innovation Pavilion on campus 

The Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) signs an agreement with the University of Birmingham Dubai in May 2022 to establish their Transportation Research and Innovation Pavilion (TRIP) at the university, building on an agreement signed in 2019. In February 2023, the RTA opens the facility, helping to drive RTA’s innovation agenda and support the next generation of UAE innovators, start-ups, universities and the technology companies.

rtas-ceo-and-university-of-birmingham-dubais-provost-shaking-handsDecember 2023 - University of Birmingham achieves 35th position in the 2024 QS World Sustainability Ranking

The university is named 35th in the QS World University Rankings: Sustainability 2024 out of 1,403 institutions, from 101st position in the inaugural ranking the previous year. Professor David Hannah, Deputy Pro-Vice Chancellor for Sustainability at University of Birmingham said:

"This achievement reflects the significant efforts we are making to embed sustainability in all we do. Not only through our world-leading research, campus operations, and education, but also collaborating with our student community, policymakers, businesses, and wider society to help secure a more sustainable future for all".

Campus exterior with trees in the foreground

December 2023 – Dubai campus hosts COP28 events

The United Arab Emirates hosts the UN Climate Change Conference (UNFCCC COP 28) at Expo City in Dubai. As part of the Universities Climate Network (UCN) the Dubai campus holds a programme of events, discussions and projects - highlighting the tremendous research the university leads on to help tackle the climate crisis.

People sat on chairs on a stage