Review of the Best American Schools in Dubai

Lifestyle Review of the Best American Schools in Dubai
~25 min


American Schools in Dubai offer a rich and diverse educational level in the heart of the United Arab Emirates. These institutions, known for their commitment to academic excellence and the holistic development of students, follow the American curriculum, aligning with the New York State Standards and Common Core. With their inclusive learning environments and experienced teachers, these schools cater to a wide range of students, fostering critical thinking and responsible citizenship.

American schools in Dubai are not just about academics but also provide many extracurricular activities to ensure each child's well-being and holistic development. With state-of-the-art facilities, including tennis courts, these institutions offer a high-quality education that prepares students for higher education and, ultimately, for success as responsible and knowledgeable global citizens.

Importance of American Schools in Dubai

  1. Quality Education. American schools are renowned for their commitment to providing a high-quality education. Focus on academic excellence benefits students by preparing them for competitive international universities.

  2. Inclusive Learning Environment. These schools prioritize inclusivity and accept students with diverse learning abilities and backgrounds. They offer support services to ensure that every child has the opportunity to excel academically and personally.

  3. Holistic Development. American schools in Dubai emphasize holistic development, which goes beyond academics. They offer a wide range of extracurricular activities, including sports, arts, and community service, to nurture students' physical, social, and emotional well-being. This approach helps students become well-rounded individuals with a broad skill set.

  4. Global Perspective. Dubai is an international hub, and American schools play a crucial role in shaping globally-minded citizens. By exposing students to an international outlook and encouraging critical thinking, these schools prepare them to navigate a multicultural world and become responsible global citizens.

  5. Language and Cultural Integration. While following the American curriculum, these schools also prioritize Arabic language studies, ensuring that students can integrate into the local culture and community. This bilingual approach enhances communication skills and cultural awareness, which are valuable life skills in Dubai.

  6. Preparation for Higher Education. American schools equip students with the skills and knowledge needed to excel in higher education. They offer Advanced Placement (AP) courses and the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma program, which are highly regarded by universities worldwide. This preparation opens doors to prestigious universities both in the United States and internationally.

  7. Contributions to Dubai's Education Landscape. American curriculum schools contribute to the overall educational diversity in Dubai, offering parents and students a choice in selecting an educational system that aligns with their goals and values. They add to the city's cultural fabric by providing a platform for cross-cultural interactions and exchanges.

How to Enter an American School in Dubai

To enter an American School in Dubai, you will typically need to follow an admission process that includes submitting a set of required documents. Here is a general checklist of documents commonly requested by American schools in Dubai:

  1. Copy of Student's Passport. You will need a copy of the student's passport, which serves as identification.

  2. Applicant Photo. Most schools require a recent passport-sized photograph of the applicant for identification purposes.

  3. Nursery/School Report (K1-K2). If the student is applying for Nursery or Kindergarten (K1-K2), you may need to provide a Nursery or School Report if available.

  4. Last Two End of Year Report Cards. For students in Grades 1-12, you typically need to provide the last two end-of-year report cards from the current school.

  5. Current School Year Term Report. A report card or transcript for the current school year is often required to assess the student's academic progress.

  6. Official High School Transcript (Grade 10-12). If you are applying for Grades 10-12, an official high school transcript may be necessary, especially if you are transferring from another high school.

  7. Recent Standardized Testing. Depending on the grade level and specific requirements of the school, you may need to provide recent standardized test scores. Common tests include:

    • CAT IV. Required for UAE transfers.

    • MAP. Measures of Academic Progress.

    • PSAT, SAT, or SSAT. These are standardized tests commonly used for college admissions.

    • State or Local Standardized Test. If applicable, you might need to provide scores from state or local standardized tests.

  8. Teacher Recommendations. Many American schools request teacher recommendations as part of the application process. These recommendations are often submitted online and provide insight into the student's academic abilities and character.

  9. Introductory Video (Grades 5-12). Some schools may require students in Grades 5-12 to submit an introductory video. This video can serve as a personal introduction and help the school assess communication skills.

Pros and Сons


  1. High-Quality Education. American schools in Dubai are known for their commitment to providing a high-quality education. They follow rigorous academic standards and often use American curriculum frameworks, which are recognized worldwide.

  2. English Language Proficiency. These schools typically use English as the primary language of instruction, which can benefit students in improving their English language skills, a valuable asset in an increasingly globalized world.

  3. Extracurricular Activities. These schools provide a wide range of extracurricular activities, including sports, arts, and clubs, allowing students to explore their interests and passions outside the classroom.

  4. Global Perspective. American schools often encourage a global perspective and critical thinking, preparing students to navigate a multicultural world and become responsible global citizens.

  5. Flexibility. American schools in Dubai may offer flexibility in choosing subjects and courses, allowing students to tailor their education to their interests and career goals.


  1. Cost. American schools in Dubai can be expensive, and tuition fees can be a significant financial burden for some families.

  2. Cultural Transition. While American schools aim to provide a global education, students from non-Western backgrounds may experience a cultural transition when adapting to American-style teaching methods and values.

  3. Standardized Testing. The emphasis on standardized testing in American schools can create pressure on students to perform well in these exams, which may not align with every student's learning style.

  4. Limited Emphasis on Local Culture. American curriculum schools may place less emphasis on learning about the local culture and Arabic language, which can be a drawback for some students and families who want a more integrated cultural education.

  5. Competitive Admissions. Admission to American schools in Dubai can be highly competitive, with limited available seats, especially in prestigious institutions.

Average Prices for American Schools in Dubai

The tuition fees for American schools in Dubai can vary widely depending on the school, grade level, and the specific services and facilities offered. To provide a general idea, here is an approximate range of average tuition fees for American schools in Dubai for the 2022-2023 school year.

  1. Pre-KG and KG1. Tuition fees for these early childhood grades can range from approximately $12,000 to $18,000 per year.

  2. KG2. Tuition fees for KG2 may range from approximately $15,000 to $20,000 per year.

  3. Grades 1-5. For elementary school grades, tuition fees can vary between approximately $18,000 and $25,000 per year.

  4. Grades 6-8. Middle school tuition fees may range from around $20,000 to $28,000 per year.

  5. Grades 9-12. High school tuition fees can vary significantly, with an approximate range of $25,000 to $35,000 or more per year.

Please note that these are rough estimates and that actual tuition fees can vary greatly depending on the specific American school in Dubai, its reputation, facilities, location, and other factors. Additionally, some schools may have additional fees.

How to Choose the Best American School in Dubai

  1. Research Your Options. Start by creating a list of American schools in Dubai. You can find this information online or through educational directories. Research each school's website and gather basic information such as location, curriculum, facilities, and contact details.

  2. Consider Your Priorities. Determine your educational priorities and what you're looking for in a school. Consider factors such as academic excellence, extracurricular activities, cultural diversity, class size, and location.

  3. Accreditation. Verify if the school is accredited by reputable educational organizations, such as the Council of International Schools (CIS) or the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC). Accreditation ensures that the school meets high educational standards.

  4. Curriculum. Check if the school follows an American curriculum, which typically includes subjects like English, mathematics, science, and social studies. Understand the curriculum's depth and breadth to ensure it aligns with your child's academic needs and goals.

  5. Class Size and Student-to-Teacher Ratio. Inquire about class sizes and student-to-teacher ratios. Smaller class sizes often allow for more individualized attention, which can be beneficial for students.

  6. Student Demographics. Consider the diversity of the student body. Exposure to students from various countries can provide a rich and inclusive learning environment.

  7. Tuition and Fees. Review the tuition fees and any additional costs, such as registration, technology, and extracurricular activity fees. Ensure that the cost is within your budget.

  8. Parent and Student Feedback. Seek feedback from current and former parents and students of the school. Online reviews and testimonials can provide insights into the school's strengths and weaknesses.

  9. Visit the School. Whenever possible, schedule a visit to the school to observe the campus, interact with staff, and get a feel for the school's culture and atmosphere.

  10. Consider Your Child's Needs. Keep your child's unique needs and preferences in mind. Their learning style, interests, and personality should align with the school's approach and environment.

Best American Schools in Dubai

Here are the best American curriculum schools in Dubai:

  1. GEMS Dubai American Academy

  2. Universal American School

  3. American School of Dubai

  4. Collegiate American Schools

  5. Mirdif American School

  6. Dubai National School Al Barsha

  7. Al Ittihad Private School Dubai

  8. Al Mawakeb School Al Gharhoud

  9. Clarion School

  10. iCademy Middle East

  11. Greenwood International School

  12. Dunecrest American School

  13. American Academy for Girls

GEMS Dubai American Academy

GEMS Dubai American Academy, located on Hessa Street in the Al Barsha area of Dubai, is a renowned K-12 co-educational private school offering an American curriculum. It stands out as one of the leading American schools in Dubai, known for providing an exceptional learning experience for students.

What sets GEMS Dubai American Academy apart is its commitment to delivering high-quality education. The school has a team of professional and dedicated staff who work tirelessly to ensure that students receive the best possible education. This commitment is reflected in the outstanding KHDA rating the school has consistently received since 2011.

One notable feature of GEMS Dubai American Academy is its offering of the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma program. This program provides students with a pathway to qualify for admission to top international universities, opening doors to a world of higher education opportunities.

With a prime location in Al Barsha, the school provides convenient access for families in Dubai. GEMS Dubai American Academy is home to a diverse student body of over 2,700 students, guided by a faculty of more than 450 qualified educators.

Universal American School

Universal American School (UAS) is a highly esteemed educational institution in Dubai, notable for being the only American school in the city to receive a "Very Good" rating from KHDA. Situated within a spacious 70,000 square meter campus in the vibrant Dubai Festival City, UAS is dedicated to delivering a world-class education grounded in American and International Baccalaureate (IB) standards.

UAS offers a comprehensive educational journey, starting with the IB Primary Years Programme (PYP) for younger students. As students progress through the school, they engage in rigorous academic pathways, including Advanced Placement (AP) and AERO programs from Grade 6 to 10. These pathways are designed to prepare students for the challenging IB Diploma program offered in Grades 11 and 12.

American School of Dubai

The American School of Dubai (ASD) is a distinguished American educational institution in Dubai, recognized for its commitment to providing top-quality education across all stages of a student's academic journey, from Pre-K through high school.

One of the standout features of ASD is its inclusivity, as it welcomes students of all age groups, making it an excellent choice for families seeking a consistent American education for their children throughout their educational development.

Established in 1966, the American School of Dubai has steadily grown in reputation and size since its inception. As a not-for-profit institution, ASD is dedicated to the betterment of its students and the wider community. The school's student body is incredibly diverse, representing over 70 nationalities, creating a culturally rich and inclusive learning environment.

Collegiate American Schools

Collegiate International School (CIS) is an esteemed educational institution in Dubai, known for its dedication to providing students with a holistic and internationally-oriented education. As one of the premier American schools in Dubai, CIS stands out for its commitment to excellence and innovation in education.

At the heart of CIS's educational approach is a focus on technology-driven STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) education, aligning with the rigorous educational standards of the US New York State. This approach equips students with essential skills, including critical thinking and problem-solving, preparing them to excel in an increasingly competitive global landscape.

The school provides a comprehensive US curriculum, spanning from kindergarten to Grade 12, and holds accreditation from the prestigious New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC). This accreditation ensures that the educational standards and practices at CIS are of the highest quality.

Mirdif American School

This school is committed to providing a comprehensive American curriculum that extends beyond traditional academics. It strongly emphasizes cultivating essential skills such as creative thinking, effective communication, and a global perspective, all of which are integrated into the educational program. Notably, Mirdif American School offers a flexible learning approach, including a virtual program that combines in-school classes with one hour of virtual work from home, adapting to the evolving needs of students.

With its establishment in 1995, Mirdif American School has a rich history in the field of education, reflecting its commitment to providing a safe and nurturing learning environment under the guidance of highly experienced leaders and staff. The school's intentional decision to maintain a limited number of students reinforces an inclusive and effective learning atmosphere for all pupils.

Dubai National School Al Barsha

Dubai National School Al Barsha is a prominent institution on the list of American system schools in Dubai, recognized for its commitment to delivering a high-quality education that equips students to excel in a multicultural environment.

One of the notable features of this school is its dedication to providing a comprehensive education that extends beyond academics. In addition to the American curriculum, Dubai National School Al Barsha places a significant emphasis on the Arabic language, Islamic studies, social studies, and Moral education. This focus caters to both native and non-native Arabic-speaking students, fostering a well-rounded educational experience.

Al Ittihad Private School Dubai

Al Ittihad Private School Dubai, often recognized as one of the foremost private schools in Dubai following the American syllabus, is an excellent choice for families seeking a premium educational experience for their children.

Al Ittihad Private School Jumeira (IPS-J) is a part of the wider Al Ittihad Private School network and has been serving the educational needs of students since its establishment in 1998. The school follows a standards-based US curricular program incorporating California and Ministry of Education (MOE) standards. This program spans from Pre-KG to Grade 12 and is designed to equip students with the skills and knowledge necessary for success in post-secondary education.

Al Mawakeb School Al Gharhoud

Managed by Al Mawakeb Schools International (AMSI), a trusted name in education with over 30 years of experience, this school is renowned for its commitment to providing a multilingual learning environment. While English serves as the primary language of instruction, students also have the opportunity to learn French and Arabic.

Al Mawakeb School Al Garhoud excels particularly in the higher stages of education. It stands out as one of the best American schools in Dubai, offering an Advanced Placement Program. This program encompasses college-level courses that culminate in AP exams across various fields of study.

The Al Mawakeb Schools network includes branches in Al Barsha and a new branch in Al Khawaneej, reflecting their dedication to providing accessible educational opportunities. These American curriculum schools in Dubai welcome students from Kindergarten to Grade 12, following the California State Standards.

Clarion School

Clarion School Dubai, situated in Al Quoz, is a highly regarded American educational institution that has established itself as a prominent choice for families seeking an exceptional K-12 educational experience.

This distinguished school is committed to providing the highest quality of education, aligning its standards with the highest tier of US educational benchmarks. What sets Clarion School apart is its innovative and unique program that places a strong emphasis on STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) education. This progressive approach ensures that students receive a well-rounded education right from the beginning of their academic journey, nurturing their growth into multifaceted individuals.

One of the standout features of Clarion School is its flexibility in educational pathways. Students have the opportunity to graduate with a High School Diploma, and for those seeking an even more challenging academic path, the school offers the option to pursue the IB Diploma Program in Grades 11 and 12.

iCademy Middle East

iCademy Middle East, a part of the Pansophic Learning group, has been a prominent institution in Dubai since its establishment in 2007. With a track record of successfully educating over 1250 students in the current academic year and enrolling more than 5,000 students, it has earned a reputation for excellence.

iCademy Middle East is a NEASC (New England Association of Schools and Colleges) accredited private American online school catering to students from Kindergarten through Grade 12. Licensed by the KHDA (Knowledge and Human Development Authority), the school also offers NCAA-eligible courses for athletes, providing a well-rounded educational experience.

Recognizing the cultural significance of the Arabic language, iCademy Middle East offers a rich Arabic language curriculum for students in the UAE. The school believes that a good understanding of Arabic is essential for all students residing in the UAE, with a particular focus on achieving fluency for Arab students.

It's noteworthy that iCademy Middle East is the only KHDA-licensed and approved online school in the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council).

Greenwood International School

Greenwood International School (GIS) was founded in 2006 with a clear mission: to nurture and prepare well-educated students with strong personalities who can become future leaders. This core vision drives GIS to prioritize both academic excellence and a holistic approach to education, including a rich offering of extracurricular activities.

At the heart of Greenwood International School's educational philosophy is the aim to instill confidence, sensitivity, and cultural awareness in its students. The school fosters a warm and welcoming ethos that strongly emphasizes moral values, cultural understanding, and academic excellence.

GIS follows the Michigan Common Core State Standards as the foundation of its curriculum. This curriculum choice ensures that students receive a comprehensive and rigorous education that prepares them for future academic and professional pursuits. Notably, the school has received a "Good" rating from KHDA, reflecting its commitment to delivering quality education.

Dunecrest American School

Dunecrest American School is a distinguished institution and a standout choice among the best American schools in Dubai. Operated under the expert supervision of Esol Education, a renowned organization specializing in establishing and managing high-quality international schools worldwide, Dunecrest American School offers a premium educational experience for students.

Esol Education's global presence and expertise in education management ensure that Dunecrest American School adheres to the highest standards of academic excellence. The school has an exceptionally experienced teaching staff, proficient in various fields, and equipped with up-to-date teaching methods to deliver top-tier education.

One of Dunecrest American School's unique features is its Creative Curriculum, designed to foster students' talents in key subjects such as mathematics, literacy, social studies, and science. This curriculum not only engages students but also provides an enjoyable and stimulating way for parents and educators to discover and nurture the talents and skills of each child.

  • Location: Wadi Al Safa 3, Dubai
  • Fees: AED 39,799 – AED 86,950
  • KHDA Rating: Good
  • Contact: +971 (0)4 508 7444

American Academy for Girls

American Academy for Girls (AAG) stands as a notable choice for families seeking a girls-only American school in Dubai. This institution has built a solid reputation on the foundation of its experienced teaching faculty and a commitment to providing a high-quality education.

One distinctive feature of AAG is its emphasis on global exposure. From the fourth grade, students have the unique opportunity to travel to different countries, gaining valuable insights into diverse cultures and expanding their horizons.

Established in 2005 and part of Taaleem Schools, the American Academy for Girls offers an American Curriculum based on the Kansas Common Core standards. It's an all-girls school spanning from Grade 1 to Grade 12, with the exception of Pre-KG to KG 2, which is co-educational. AAG holds full accreditation from prestigious organizations such as the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC) and the Council of International Schools (CIS). Notably, the school has been rated "Good" by KHDA, reflecting its commitment to providing quality education.

Editorial Opinion

American schools in Dubai have emerged as pillars of quality education, offering students a robust American curriculum that adheres to rigorous standards. These institutions, such as Dunecrest American School, American Academy for Girls, and Greenwood International School, have solidified their positions as educational leaders. With a focus on holistic development, innovative learning techniques, and global exposure, they prepare students to excel academically and thrive in an increasingly interconnected world.

Dubai's education landscape benefits from the diversity of these American curriculum schools, contributing to the city's cultural fabric and offering parents and students a choice that aligns with their educational goals. The commitment to inclusivity, affordable American education, and preparing students for higher education makes these schools invaluable contributors to Dubai's educational community, producing well-rounded, responsible global citizens who can navigate the complex challenges of the modern world.



  • 1.

    How many American schools are in Dubai?

    There are around 29 schools in Dubai that have adopted the American curriculum.

  • 2.

    What is the American curriculum, and how does it differ from other educational systems?

    The American curriculum is a comprehensive system of education that follows the standards and guidelines set by U.S. educational authorities. It emphasizes a broad-based education, critical thinking, and a holistic approach to learning, often incorporating extracurricular activities.

  • 3.

    Do American schools in Dubai offer international programs like the International Baccalaureate (IB) or Advanced Placement (AP) courses?

    Many American schools in Dubai offer international programs like the IB and AP courses to prepare students for top universities worldwide. These programs provide rigorous academic challenges and opportunities for college credit.

  • 4.

    Are there all-girls American schools in Dubai?

    Yes, all-girls American schools like the American Academy for Girls in Dubai offer female students a focused and supportive educational environment.

  • 5.

    How much is the fee for American schools in Dubai?

    For the American schools in Dubai, the average annual tuition fee for American schools in Dubai falls within the range of approximately AED 22,000 to AED 76,500, depending on the specific school and grade level.

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Update date: 05/26/2024