The NYU Abu Dhabi core curriculum asks students to grapple with profound and enduring questions about the human and social condition while developing essential intellectual skills.

Core classes introduce varied modes of thinking and forms of human creativity, from science and technology to literature and music; improve foundational skills in expository writing, public speaking, analysis, and quantitative reasoning; consider the range of cultural traditions in relation to one another; and probe basic questions about the meaning of life and our place in the world.

Students are required to take eight courses in the core curriculum and earn a grade of C or higher in each course. Five of the eight courses should be taken in the first two years. The core curriculum is divided into four areas: Pathways of World Literature; Structures of Thought and Society; Art, Technology and Invention; and Ideas and Methods of Science.

Students take two courses in each area. In Ideas and Methods of Science, they take one course in each of the two tracks: Experimental Discovery in the Natural World, which has a laboratory component, and Science, Society and History. Students who complete Foundations of Science 1, which is required for majors in Engineering and most Science disciplines, fulfill the requirements for Experimental Discovery in the Natural World.

The core courses also provide in-depth focus on oral and written expression. Students are required to take one writing-intensive core course in the first year; these courses include a weekly writing workshop. The small class size and emphasis on discussion enable students to practice and improve their ability to articulate ideas clearly and persuasively.

Below is a list of the many core courses that have been offered. Not all are offered every year.