The educational system in Dubai is a four-tier system covering fourteen years of education, from the primary to the secondary.

A sizable number of foreign accredited universities have been set up in Dubai. Most of their campuses are located at Dubai International Academic City, a purpose built free zone for tertiary academic institutions. The Harvard Medical School Dubai Centre (HMSDC) Institute for Postgraduate Education and Research has been established as well in Dubai Health Care City.

Most of the expatriates send their children to either back to their home country or to western countries for university education. Dubai nationals can attend government tertiary-level institutions free of charge. On other note, a number of foreign and local accredited universities have been set up in Dubai in the past decade. These include the following:

American University in Dubai (AUD)The American College of DubaiSP Jain Center Of Management (part of India's reputed Business School SP Jain Institute of Management & Research)XLRI Dubai Campus for Management (in collaboration with Al Abbas Institute of Technology)Al Ghurair UniversityBirla Institute of Technology and Science.

Heriot-Watt UniversityMiddlesex University, DubaiSAE InstituteDubai the Higher Colleges of Technology (Dubai Women's College and Dubai Men's College campuses) and the Centre of Excellence for Applied Research and Training (CERT)University of Wollongong in DubaiDubai School of GovernmentEuropean University College Brussels, DubaiHarvard University's John F. Kennedy School of GovernmentMahatma Gandhi UniversityManipal Academy of Higher EducationShaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto Institute of Science and TechnologyBritish University of DubaiZayed UniversityHarvard Medical School Dubai Center (HMSDC) Institute for Postgraduate Education and Research

Starting in fall 2008, Michigan State University will offer undergrad and graduate degrees in Dubai. Moreover, Rochester Institute of Technology plans to open a satellite campus in Dubai Silicon Oasis in the same season.

Dubai is also setting-up a 2.33-million-square-metre, multi-university complex by the name of Dubai Knowledge Universities (DKU), in the heart of its ‘Academic City’.