Frequently Asked Questions
Licensure and Accreditation
1. What is Licensure?
Licensure signifies that the institution has a mission appropriate to higher education and possesses the governance structure, by-laws, regulations, policies and procedures, physical and financial resources, academic programs, faculty and other personnel, and quality assurance measures sufficient to accomplish its mission. Licensure applies to the entire institution and all its activities. In order to be licensed, the institution must meet ten standards and their criteria that cover all major institutional activities. Licensure is initially granted for up to five years, after which the institution applies to renew its license, which must be done every five years. A licensed institution is required to identify its status as licensed by the Ministry in all documents and advertising and to comply with the Commission’s requirement for reporting data annually.
A list of licensed institutions can be found on this website.
2. What is accreditation?
An accredited program is offered by a licensed institution and meets the Ministry’s criteria for each of its ten quality assurance standards. These standards are designed to promote high quality institutions and to assure prospective students, their families, employers, and other interested parties that licensed institutions meet standards of quality consistent with current international practice and professional judgment.
Only after being granted licensure may an institution apply for accreditation for an academic program, which must be obtained before the institution may advertise that program and recruit and enroll students.
3. How do I know my institution is licensed?
This website contains a list of all institutions in the UAE licensed by the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research. To see this list, click here.
4. How do I know my program is accredited?
This website contains a list of all licensed institutions together with a list of accredited programs. To see this list, click here. To have a degree recognized by MOHESR, the program must be accredited and offered by a licensed institution.
5. When an institution is under review, what does it mean? Can I still attend the institution?
An institution whose licensure is under review has applied for licensure. While the Commission reviews the institution’s documents and makes a site visit to determine if it complies with the Standards, it is considered “under review.” There is no guarantee that an institution under review will be licensed. This institution is not allowed to recruit or register students.
If the institution is already in operation, and its licensure is under review, you attend at your own risk that the institution may never be licensed.
6. When an institution is on probation, what does it mean? Can I still attend the institution?
An institution whose licensure is on probation is not allowed to admit any new students to the whole institution. An institution on probation may be restored to licensed status by fulfilling the CAA’s criteria, or may be downgraded to denied status if it fails to meet CAA’s criteria.
If you are already a student at this institution, you can stay enrolled. If you are a new student, it is better to wait until the institution is licensed.
7. When an institution’s licensure is denied, can it still admit students?
An institution whose licensure application is denied is not allowed to admit students. The degrees of students who attend or have attended such an institution will not be recognized by the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research.
8. If an institution operates in a Free Zone and has not sought licensure, will its degrees be recognized by MOHESR?
9. I attended an institution and earned a degree from it before it was licensed. It now is licensed. Will my degree be recognized by MOHESR?
No. If the institution becomes licensed subsequent to operating as an unlicensed institution, all degrees earned prior to licensure will not be recognized by MOHESR.
10. When a program is under review, what does it mean? Can I still attend the program?
An institution whose program is under review has applied for accreditation. While the Commission reviews the institution’s documents and makes a site visit with the visiting committee of subject experts to determine if it complies with the Standards, it is considered under review. There is no guarantee that a program under review will be accredited.
If you are considering such a program, it is better to wait until it has been accredited.
11. When a program is on probation, what does it mean? Can I still attend such a program?
A program that is on probation is not allowed to accept any new students in that program. A program on probation may be restored to licensed or accredited status by fulfilling the CAA’s criteria, or may be downgraded to denied status if it fails to meet CAA’s criteria.
If you are already in such a program, you may stay enrolled. However, if you are considering starting such a program, it is better to wait until it is accredited.
12. When a program is denied accreditation, what does it mean? Can I enroll in such a program?
A program whose application for accreditation is denied may not begin accepting students in that program only. The institution can continue to operate its other accredited programs.
Thus it is possible for a licensed institution having several accredited programs to have a particular program on probation or denied. This just means that a particular program either violates the Standards or does not meet them.