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A Partnership in Global Higher Education

Fri, Mar 01, 2013 @ 02:29 PM

Education City in Qatar offers programs across disciplines through universities from around the world

Students in Education City in QatarAmerican universities have expanded their global impact over the past decade by opening campuses abroad. With programs that offer the same degrees, courses, and high-level of academic quality around the world, many schools have been able to give students even more opportunities to expand their knowledge and integrate a global perspective into their education. One excellent example of this endeavor is Doha, Qatar’s Education City. 

The Qatar Foundation for Education, Science, and Community Development (QF) has instigated initiatives in their fields of focus to enhance their local and national community since 1995. Within their mission statement, QF, “aims to support Qatar on its journey from a carbon economy to a knowledge economy by unlocking human potential.” QF has opened educational institutions, from pre-schools to graduate schools, in the region, and their mission has attracted some of the United States’ most selective universities since 2000. The area in Doha known as “Education City” is home to six American universities, one British university, one French university, and one Qatari university each offering distinct programs that cover a variety of undergraduate and graduate fields. 

Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar was the first college to open under QF in 1998. A branch of VCU’s School of the Art, they offer students four-year bachelor of fine arts degrees in graphic design, fashion design, interior design, and painting and printmaking. VCUQatar encourages students to pave the way in design, fashion and more in the region. Innovation Qatar allows students, faculty, and alumni to work together to apply design research being conducted within the school. Before beginning their major study, undergraduate students complete foundation courses in art and design, as well as core courses in humanities, social sciences, sciences, and math. 

Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar was established by Cornell University in Education City in 2001 and was the first American medical school to open a campus abroad. Admissions to the medical school maintains the same standards as Cornell’s medical school in New York City, and this branch also offers undergraduate and graduate courses of study.  WCMC-Qatar offers a two-year, non-degree, pre-medical program that provides students with a similar course of study to that of any four-year pre-medical program in the United States. Upon completion, students will have the background and knowledge to apply to any medical school, though this foundation program combines especially well with WCMC-Qatar’s subsequent four-year MD program. With a variety of hands-on experiences in and out of the classroom, students are prepared for careers in medical practice, research, and more. 

For programs in engineering, Education City students head to Texas A&M University in Qatar. This school offers bachelor of science degrees in chemical, electrical, mechanical, and petroleum engineering as well as a master’s degree in chemical engineering. So as not to sacrifice Texas A&M’s strong athletic traditions, Texas A&M in Qatar boasts five sports teams. The Aggies’ men’s and women’s soccer and basketball teams, and their men’s cricket team compete against other Education City schools and colleges around Qatar, and their men’s basketball team had perfect records in the 2008-2009 and 2009-2010 seasons. 

Established in 2004, Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar offers students programs in business administration, computational biology, computer science, and information systems. They also offer a degree in conjunction with courses at Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar in biological sciences. Students and faculty at CMU-Qatar use resources from Carnegie Mellon’s Pittsburgh, PA campus, as well as from the school’s other international campuses, to pursue projects in machine learning for robots, artificial intelligence, teleportation (the operation of a machine from a distance) and stereo vision. Current areas of research include business process redesign, e-government, global operations and control and supply chain management. 

Georgetown University opened its branch in Education City in 2005. At the time, the U.S. Ambassador to Qatar was an Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service alum, and he suggested that Georgetown be included in QF’s growing network of schools. Georgetown University School of Foreign Service in Qatar offers a liberal arts education and programs in international politics, culture and politics, and international economics all leading to a BSc degree in Foreign Service. The school’s Center for International and Region Studies offers students research opportunities in regional and international issues. Scholars, opinion makers, faculty, and student stimulate dialogue through publications and public programming to discuss the most critical issues in the world today. 

The most recent American university to open a campus in Education City was Northwestern University in Qatar, which graduated its first class in Spring of 2012.  The Medill School of Journalism and School of Communication offer degrees in media communications and technology as well as journalism, and they prepare students for jobs in news, digital communications, and broadcasting. The Education City campus was the first campus Northwestern University opened abroad. Northwestern currently shares a building with Carnegie Mellon in Qatar, and this space includes teaching and computer labs, multiple video/television studios, a control room, audio and video edit suites, and a 12-person newsroom available to journalism and communications students. In 2010, New York Times chairman Arthur Sulzberger Jr. launched the Daily Q, an online news publication that also features student projects in photography, writing, and video. 

Three other schools round out Education City’s academic community. Hautes études commerciales de Paris (HEC Paris) began offering their master’s programs in business in 2011. HEC Paris-Qatar currently offers an 18-month part-time Executive MBA program and a non-degree management program for executives. University College London joined in 2010, partnering with Qatar Museums Authority and offering postgraduate programs in museum studies, conservation, and archeology. Two-year master’s programs in museums and conservation practices, and Arab and Islamic archeology, have been offered since 2012. 

Finally, the Qatar Faculty of Islamic Studies has offered courses in Islamic thinking and dialogue since 2007. This institution offers master’s programs in areas like Islamic finance, public policy in Islam, and urban design and architecture in Muslim societies, as well as multiple post doctorate programs. By working within the larger Education City community, QFIS students aim to promote the diversity and tolerance of Islamic understanding through academics, dialogue, and research. 

As one community, the schools that create Education City allow students to study across disciplines, cultural lines, and languages to gain a better understanding of the needs of the international community. Each program emphasizes the application of skills learned in the classroom directly to the local, national, and global community. Students come from all over the world to not only learn about, but also to collaborate on, some of the world’s most complex issues today within an internationally diverse student body. Graduates of Education City leave with a typical college experience, including going to class, living in dorms, and navigating social scenes, and also leave with a unique perspective and knowledge of the world around them. 

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