With the support of His Highness Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi, Ruler of Ras Al Khaimah, the University was initially established as George Mason University, Ras Al Khaimah campus (GMU-RAK) in 2005. After George Mason University discontinued its operations in Ras Al Khaimah in 2009, the Crown Prince decreed the establishment of the American University of Ras Al Khaimah (AURAK) in the same location. Students who had enrolled in GMU-RAK were given the opportunity to continue at AURAK, transfer to GMU’s main campus in Virginia, USA, or transfer to another institution.

Following the short-term presidencies of Professor Sharon Siverts (2009-10) and Dr. Shaukat Mirza (2010-11), AURAK’s Board of Trustees appointed Professor Hassan Hamdan Al Alkim vice-chancellor. Subsequent changes in organizational structure saw Professor Al Alkim named president in 2014. Professor Al Kim retired in the summer of 2023, and Dr. David A. Schmidt was appointed president in August 2023.

In recent years, the University has experienced substantial growth, introducing new academic programs that have led to the establishment of three additional academic schools: the School of Arts and Sciences, the School of Engineering, and the School of Business. Alongside its accreditations from the CAA (UAE), SACSCOC (US), and QAA (UK), the University has also received program accreditation from reputable international bodies for many of its academic offerings. AURAK has most recently been awarded the QS 5 Stars Plus rating, placing it in the league of a handful of the world's elite universities. It is the first university in the UAE to be awarded this highest rating.

The Future Ahead

Today, AURAK’s strategy is to focus on cultivating excellence within existing curricular offerings while improving policies and procedures across the institution. Student enrollment is projected to grow at an average annual rate of 35% over the next five years. It is also expected that, with an increasingly strong global economy, AURAK will capture the attention of educators, economists, business entrepreneurs, and other professionals who want to take advantage of the programs and services the institution offers, meeting national and regional workforce needs and earning the University regional and global recognition.

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Last Updated: 23 Nov 2023

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