The Higher Education Landscape in Dubai 2011 shows 40 per cent of Dubai's 43,212 students are enrolled in business degrees. The majority of these students, 68 per cent, are enrolled in bachelor's degrees while only 19 per cent are enrolled in master's degrees.
The remaining 13 per cent are enrolled in foundation, diploma, higher diploma, doctoral and associate degrees.
The fields of society, law and religion were the second largest disciplines of choice accounting for 19 per cent of the student population. Disciplines such as natural and physical sciences accounted for half-a-per cent of Dubai's student population.
An evident lack of student interest in fields such as health and medicine, tourism and hospitality and architecture and construction were represented by three, one and two per cent respectively.
Professor Raed Awamleh, director of Middlesex University Dubai, believes the figures do not reflect a deficiency in the supply of diverse degree courses, but shows student demand instead.
"Universities like Middlesex, Heriot-Watt and others have supplied a wide range of programmes but a majority of students want to study business," he said.
He added such data shows the need for institutions to collectively increase career awareness programmes. "Students need to know for example that a career in business doesn't necessarily start with a business degree."
He added that parents also play a role in creating awareness as they also have a big hand in the degree choices their children make.
"The government reports are saying the economy needs graduates in other diverse degrees for its development," he said. "Then, it has to be a joint effort between universities and the government."
Citing an example of how the government has tackled this issue in the UK, he it based its higher education funding model on paying universities more to teach non-business programmes.
"Here in the UAE, it could translate into increased scholarship programmes for various degrees or other awareness programmes."