The University of Technology and Applied Sciences (Higher College of Technology) in Muscat is the second largest higher education institution in Oman catering for more than 13,000 students studying in various programs. It is one of seven colleges under the Ministry of Manpower in the Sultanate. The Ministry of Manpower (MoM) has seven Colleges of Technology, located in Musanna, Nizwa, Ibra, Salalah, Shinas, Ibri and Higher College of Technology in Muscat.
The University of Technology and Applied Sciences (Higher College of Technology), before being renamed and upgraded as such in 2001, was known as Oman Technical Industrial College, established in 1984 at the initiative of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos Bin Said to educate the citizens of Oman by implementing high quality programs in various fields. The regional Colleges of Technology were started in 1993 except the ones in Shinas and Ibri, which were started in 2005 and 2008 respectively. The College aims to endow the Omani youth with knowledge and skills to face the challenges of the new era.
The programs of the Colleges of Technology implemented from September 2003 are the result of extensive research to ensure the suitability of the programs in terms of Oman industry needs and global academic standards. The new programs took nearly two years to reach their final shape. During these two years, the programs were sent to all the Colleges of Technology in Oman for approval and to universities abroad for comments. They were finally approved by these institutions, the industrial sectors in Oman, local universities, and academics and technology experts at a workshop held in March 2003 at HCT.
The programs comprise four levels in addition to the Foundation Program. A student could spend up to five semesters in the Foundation Program before going to the Diploma Year 1 level in a chosen specialization and then to the other three levels, namely Diploma, Higher Diploma, and Bachelor of Technology (B.Tech). These four levels correspond to the first four levels of the postsecondary education described in Oman Qualification Framework (OQF). In UTAS(HCT), students’ progress from one level to another depends upon their meeting progressively demanding criteria at each level. This unique structure affords UTAS(HCT) an element of competitiveness in fulfilling Oman’s demand for qualified and skilled human resources thus bridging the gap between achievements and aspirations. It also affords students the flexibility to exit the system after completing any level with a qualification enabling them to enter the job market.
UTAS(HCT) has grown enormously from a student population of about 200 to the current size. Its facilities have expanded from three initial buildings to a total built-up area of more than 49,700 m2. It has more than 900 staff in its faculty and an annual intake of about 2000 students into its foundation program, besides transferred students in upper levels.
Apart from the English Language Center (ELC), UTAS(HCT) has seven academic departments: Engineering, Information Technology (IT), Applied Sciences, Business Studies, Pharmacy, Photography and Fashion Design.
The Engineering Department offers 12 specialisations under its three main sections of Mechanical & Industrial Engineering (MIE), Civil & Architecture Engineering (CAE) and Electrical & Electronic Engineering (EEE), namely: Architectural Engineering, Civil Engineering, Land Surveying, Quantity Surveying, Draftsman, Computer Engineering, Electrical Power Engineering, Electronics & Communications Engineering, Air Conditioning & Refrigeration, Chemical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering and Oil & Gas.
Networking, Internet & E-security, Database, Software Engineering and Information systems are offered by the IT Department.
Students interested in Science and Technology have the opportunity to specialize in Applied Chemistry, Applied Biology, Environmental Science or Physics Unit in the Applied Sciences Department.
The Business Studies Department offers the specializations Accounting, Human Resource Management (HRM), Office Management, and E-Business.
Additionally, UTAS(HCT) is affiliated with Cisco and Oracle and offers courses that are based on them, to prepare students for international certifications.
UTAS(HCT) has dedicated centers and administrative divisions. The Educational Technology Center (ETC) is the central resource for Information Technology facilities, Educational Technology resources and library services in the College. The administrative divisions are the Student Affairs, Academic Affairs, and Administrative and Financial Affairs.