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Wed 3 Nov 2010 04:58 PM

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UCL to open first British university in Qatar

New campus will take up to 150 students each year and specialise in Islamic archeology

UCL to open first British university in Qatar
UCL will be the first British university to open in Qatar

University College London (UCL) on Wednesday announced it will open a campus in the tiny Gulf state of Qatar in 2011, the first British university to do so.

The new institution, which will be known as UCL-Q, will take up to 150 students each year and eventually offer masters’ degrees in archeology, conservation and museum studies.

Outreach programmes will also be offered to local schools, and are expected to reach 1,300 schoolchildren a year.

Professor Michael Worton, UCL Vice-Provost, called the deal a “bridge between the Arab world and the West."

At least twelve of UCL’s existing faculty from its Institute of Archaeology will relocate to Doha, under the terms of the contract. Staff will be expected to take on teaching responsibilities at Qatar University and a number of campuses in Doha’s Education City.

No details of student fees have been released, but British universities with existing international campuses charge up to £10,000 ($16,139) per student.

The deal, which was inked with the Qatar government, is the latest in the growing export of Western higher education to the Gulf region. The emirate is already home to branches of Weill Cornell Medical College, Carnegie Mellon University and Georgetown University.

The Qatari state is understood to be funding part of UCL venture, through a unit of the Qatar Foundation.

Commenting on the deal, British universities and science minister David Willetts said: “This new and exciting partnership is an excellent example of the sort of collaboration the UK wants to see more of.”

The Qatar deal is the latest in a number of overseas ventures for UCL. The British university has a branch in Australia, with UCL’s School of Energy and Resources, Adelaide, and a joint venture with the Nazarbayev University in Astana, Kazakhstan.

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