Qatar University (QU) and Qatar Foundation (QF) are leading the development of Qatar’s higher education programmes. While the bulk of the students enrolled at the university and at the various colleges located at QF’s Education City are pursuing undergraduate degrees, there is growing demand for graduate and post-graduate education in Qatar. QU alone offers more than 20 Master’s, three PhDs and one PharmD across a variety of disciplines. Responding to demand from the health sector, QU established the country’s first College of Medicine in October 2014. A recent report by McKinsey highlighted than more than two-thirds of doctors working in Qatar are expatriates. The new college will address this under-supply of Qatari medical professionals. The six-year MD programme includes a one-year transitional medical education phase, followed by two-and-a-half years of medical education and two-and-a-half years of clinical training. Students accepted into the programme will begin in autumn 2015.
Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar is the only other university in Qatar that offers a degree in medicine. The branch campus of the American university also offers a six-year MD programme in pre-medical and medical education. The College of Medicine is one of several QU colleges that offer graduate-level programmes. The colleges of Arts and Sciences (CAS), Business and Economics, Education, Engineering (CENG), Law, Pharmacy (CPH); and Sharia and Islamic Studies all offer Master’s-level programmes, with CAS offering PhDs in Gulf Studies and Biological and Environmental Sciences, CENG a doctoral programme in engineering, and CPH a Doctor of Pharmacy programme.
RESEARCH FOCUS: The establishment of Hamad Bin Khalifa University (HBKU) at Education City has been one of the biggest shifts in the landscape of Qatar’s post-graduate education. HBKU is developing its early programmes with a focus on science and technology with the goal of ultimately providing an interdisciplinary education with a strong focus on research that combines traditional fields with emerging areas of study. The university has established the College of Science, Engineering and Technology (CSET), which will house four divisions, including the division of sustainable development, the division of ICT, the division of life sciences and the division of engineering and logistics management. CSET is halfway through the first year of its executive master’s programme in energy and resources. The programme started with 30 students and the second cohort of students started classes in February 2015. The energy and resources degree draws on the expertise of HBKU’s partner universities.
Georgetown is teaching courses on the geopolitics of energy and resources, while Texas A&M is dealing with the geological extraction and transport of these resources. HEC Paris is focusing on the financial and business aspects. Laoucine Kerbache, CEO and academic dean of HEC Paris in Qatar, told OBG, “In February 2014, we launched our fourth intake for the executive MBA programme. We had an intake of 47 students in February 2014 compared to 38 in February 2013. The third cohort for the programme is the second-largest graduating class after Texas A&M in May 2014.”
LOCAL CHOICE: Meanwhile, in January 2015 HBKU announced it will launch its juris doctor postgraduate degree programme in partnership with Northwestern University in Qatar in the autumn to help further develop the legal educational landscape of Qatar and the region. QF also took its first step towards delivering its own post-graduate degrees by launching its first PhD programme in partnership with HBKU in 2013. QF interdisciplinary doctoral programme in energy sciences will give students the opportunity to conduct research at the Qatar Environment and Energy Research Institute while taking academic classes at HBKU.
While attracting international academic expertise and skills is an important aspect of Qatar’s graduate and post-graduate development strategy, the establishment of competitive, locally-delivered master’s and PhD programmes that are embedded in Qatar’s universities and institutes is vital to progress in the country.
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