In a first for the UAE, two universities have introduced a master’s degree program in space sciences. The move is to help support the recent increase in interest in this field.
The region’s space industry has taken an exciting new trajectory of late, with many exciting initiatives and developments, which has spurred a flurry of young people now wishing to pursue a career in the field. As a result, the University of Sharjah and the UAE University in Al Ain have both welcomed their first batch of students to the master’s degree program.
Disciplines including space science, engineering, and astronomy are all top of the bill. Students will even be able to work on major projects, including the first pan-Arab satellite, known as 813, and two navigation satellites that are underway.
Prof Nouar Tabet, dean of the College of Sciences at the University of Sharjah commented: “The increasing interest of students for the space sciences is fuelled by the important and inspiring space sciences program of the UAE.” Adding: “This is good news because this national initiative is going to generate a huge amount of data that will need to be analyzed.”
Six students registered so far and more are expected to join the new master’s program in astronomy and space science which opened its doors for the first time this year. They join the already 95 students currently studying undergraduate and postgraduate courses in space science, such as applied physics, petroleum geophysics, and remote sensing at the university.
The second institute also offering the program is the UAE University in Al Ain. Their master’s degree is available in space sciences, with courses covering topics such as spacecraft systems, space physics, astronomy and astrophysics, remote sensing of terrestrial and planetary surfaces, and digital image processing in remote sensing.
Amity University Dubai is among the other institutions that offer courses in this field having started its four-year aerospace engineering program in 2015 with more than 15 students. Other universities that offer space science, maths, or engineering degrees in the UAE are Khalifa University, New York University Abu Dhabi, and the American University of Ras Al Khaimah.
Because of a growing interest in these courses, a space center in Al Ain, overseen by the university, is also planning to expand its offerings so it’s very much a case of ‘watch this space’ for this burgeoning industry in the region.