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Higher Learning Commission Approves New Arkansas State University Campus in Qatar


JONESBORO – Arkansas State University recently secured approval from the Higher Learning Commission, recognizing its location in Doha, Qatar, as an off-campus site where students can complete one of A-State’s approved degree programs. A-State is working in partnership with Global Studies Institute (GSI) in Qatar.

The move follows previous approvals by the Arkansas State University System Board of Trustees and the Arkansas Department of Higher Education. 

The Ministry of Education in Qatar has recognized three A-State degree programs that students can complete in Doha: the Bachelor of Science in Digital Technology and Design (including all concentrations); Bachelor of Science in Engineering Management Systems; and Master of Science in Education in Educational Leadership.

“Students complete their coursework via a synchronous, livestreaming instructional system using real-time face-to-face interaction with the course instructors, similar to a classroom setting on the traditional campus,” explained Chris Boothman, senior associate vice chancellor for distance education and technology. “Using a classroom setting in Doha, the instructor is livestreamed in conjunction with a real-time whiteboard to enhance interaction. A second screen is utilized to share other materials, and a third screen to show other curriculum resources.”

A-State is exploring the possibility of expanding the portfolio of available programs.

“We are working on creating pathways for Qatar students to complete their first year or two in Doha before coming to the Jonesboro campus to complete any of the degree offerings,” Boothman continued. “This enhances the overall partnership and will create a cultural experience for students here in the United States.”

More than 60 students are currently enrolled in the undergraduate programs.

A-State began working with GSI to deliver high-quality higher education degrees to a demographic in Qatar that otherwise may not have that opportunity. With 88% of the population in Qatar being expatriates from other countries, and limited access to public institutions, A-State and GSI have created this pathway to obtain either one of the degrees offered on the ground in Doha, or for students to complete their chosen degree in Jonesboro, Boothman added.

GSI is a privately funded entity, not associated with the Qatari government, and A-State is generating revenue solely through tuition and fees aligned with international student tuition at the main campus.

“GSI Qatar facilitates a comprehensive educational experience,” according to Shaker Lashuel, executive director, “including access to Arkansas State's curriculum, faculty and resources, along with providing support services that emphasize student engagement and success. This allows students in Qatar to earn accredited U.S. degrees locally while gaining a global perspective.”

Through this partnership, A-State programs help foster cross-cultural collaboration and academic exchange. This initiative enhances educational access and diversity, benefiting both Qatari students and the A-State community.

Dr. Alexandr M. Sokolov, assistant professor of engineering management at A-State, emphasized the success achieved by the program, which is designed to equip students with the essential skills to manage engineering projects and operations. It has flourished due to its innovative and interactive approach to online learning.

“One of the primary reasons for the program's success is its synchronous learning format. Unlike traditional asynchronous online courses where students study independently at their own pace, this program schedules live, real-time classes,” Sokolov explained. “This format fosters a dynamic learning environment, allowing students to engage directly with instructors and students, ask questions, and participate in discussions just as they would in a physical classroom.”

By having live classes in Jonesboro, livestreamed in real-time to Doha, students from across the globe can interact with each other, share stories, and collaborate on projects, presentations, and other creative works while earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Engineering Management Systems.


The Higher Learning Commission has approved A-State's location in Doha, Qatar.